I am considering installing a cruise control.

I have been looking at both the MDC and the Area 451 units. I don't know if there are any other brands, so of these two, what are the advantages of the MDC vs the Area 451 units.

The two are both under $500.
Is one easier to install, more reliable, easier to operate?
Do they in any way affect the smart factory warranty?
Is it best to have a real mechanic do the installation or is it hacker safe? I usually know enough to get myself into trouble.

Area 451 has a well detailed installation guide. I haven't found one for MDC.

Tags: 451, Area, Control, Cruise, MDC

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I had the same dilema... ended up going with the 451. I am very happy with it. Best feature of all is that you can get a secondary LED that installs in the instrument cluster and illuminates the existing "cruise light" already installed by the factory. Nobody can tell t isn't factory.ALso, It works great. Check out the 451 website to get all the details.
Definitely go with the Area 451. Easy to read installation instructions, well engineered product, and, after using it for about 1500 miles, it works flawlessly.
Another vote for the Area451. Had mine for many months and many thousands of miles without problem. Installation isn't hard. Just take your time and follow the instructions. I love the instrument cluster light too. (I've read that one is or will be available for the MDC too) I'm sure you'll be happy with unit, and no, there are no warranty issues. Cruise control is even in the owner's warranty manual as an example of aftermarket stuff that doesn't void the warranty.
Both are good units. Couple of things to keep in mind:

The Area 451 unit has been sold in the US for about 8 months and has a lot more users in the US/Canada due to its availability.

The MDC unit has been primarily sold in Europe and even though thousands of these units have been sold over the years you will get more users in the US stating that they bought the 451 unit. That is not because it is better, it is simply because for the last 8 months that is the only unit that has been widely available.

The MDC unit has had a number of recent improvement (new software and now a sprint booster like module) added to it and is now being distributed by smart madness. While the MDC unit has been installed all over the world (EU smart dealers included) for years it has not been heavily promoted in the US until now.

smartieparts (the area 451 cc owner) used to sell an older version of the MDC unit, but bought the competive company that makes the 451 unit and has been promoting the 451 unit for the last 8+ months since he owns the company.

Both are good units with many happy users and you would be happy with either one. The MDC unit is a better value (lower cost) and has more features (sprint booster module like the one that is include with this cruise control costs over $300 by itself). It is being sold for less due to the fact that the supplier wants to promote the product in the US and is willing to make less per unit. It is not being sold for less because it is inferior in any way. In fact, most agree it is a much better deal.

Just some more information to ponder prior to making a decision.
I want to thank everyone for their imput. I have the installation instructions now for both systems and only need to convince my wife that this purchase will be a good good thing. Wish me luck. ;)
My wife relented and I ended up with the MDC unit from Smart Madness. Installation was relatively easily and it works well. It turns out that the MDC unit is the same one that my local smart dealer offers as a dealer installed add on. I paid $470 including shipping, which is quite a bit less than the dealers price plus their installation charge.
Ditto...I bought the MDC and it works just like factory CC. With the CC and the MDC arm rest It simply makes the car. Much better drive on the road now

Russ Barnes said:
I bought the latest MDC from Smartmadness about a month ago. It was about $389 plus frt. It took about 1 hr and 45 min to install, EZ, no tinkering with wires like the 451 - it was a plug and play. It has a standard LCD in the control and an optional dash mount. It works in manual and autoshift. It has an adjustment that lets you readjust your throttle pedal sensitivity. It includes a complete new stalk and works flawlessly so far. It has been used in Europe about 10 years so it has tens of thousands of customers and isn't less than a year old.

Now in spite of the fact that I think MDC is better and there are others that say 451 is better I have to say that smart will not cover any failures that they think are the fault of an aftermarket CC. So far there is one reported expensive ECU failure using the 451 that Steven says wasn't the CC, but smart has told the customer "tough".

If you are interested in the MDC, contact Boris at Smart Madness and he will email you a copy of the installation and operators guides.
I had the Area 451 unit installed this morning before my drive home from the Midwest rally. I can't believe I went this long without it. Great unit, installation looked to be quite straight forward. Thanks again Steve!!
Can the MDC cruise control LED be used to illuminate the factory "cruise" icon ? And before I get one and tear my dash apart, can someone tell me where that factory "cruise" icon is on the speedo cluster ?

MDC shows the LED mounted on the dash, and to me, that won't cut it; looks too ugly.
The Smart Dealer in Indianapolis said they do not do cruise control and further don't recommend it. I want Cruise so which do I get and where do I get it installed. 2009 located in Noblesville
Bob & Marj BILL said:
The Smart Dealer in Indianapolis said they do not do cruise control and further don't recommend it. I want Cruise so which do I get and where do I get it installed. 2009 located in Noblesville

Louisville will install a 451 for you. I assume it is a 451 as I asked them about a cruise control- they mentioned they had to do some work in engine compartment as well as wiring work- which is not necessary with an MDC unit. The work would take the day as well- so including labor the total cost was around $800, installed.
Thanks. I called Louisville a few minutes ago and confimred they will do it. The guy I talked to did not know which brandthey install but will have service cal me Monday. Price Quoted was 850 Thanks again Bob

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