Rearview camera systems that allow drivers to see what’s immediately behind the back bumper are nothing new. However, most require the addition of expensive technology or a navigation system in order to get them on a new car. Ford is now adding a rearview camera as a stand-alone option, at a price of $450, to a varied list of Ford, Lincoln and Mazda vehicles.
Rather than sticking the screen somewhere on the dashboard, Ford’s system places the image in the left corner of the rearview mirror. This allows the driver to look from the camera to the mirror and back again with minimal jerking of the head. The intent of rearview camera systems is to make backing up less of a hazard, and having the screen inset in the rearview mirror makes using the camera more intuitive than its predecessors did. Hummer has a very similar system in the mirror, while Toyota has a small stand-alone screen mounted into the roof or high on the dash.
Ford’s image also gets overlaid with a grid that shows drivers the direct path of the vehicle to help them align the vehicle with a trailer, or a tight parking spot.
The rearview camera is available as an option on the 2008 F-150 King Ranch, F-Series Super Duty and Lincoln Mark LT pickups, as well as the Ford Expedition, Lincoln Navigator and Mazda CX-9 SUVs.