Posted 21 April 2008 - 08:12 AM
Welcome to the forum!
I have the '01 with the 'dynamic' or laser controlled cruise. When activated, it does 'sense' the car in front of you and will slow your car down in order to not hit the person in front of you if they are going slower than you are. If that car speeds up, or changes lanes so they are no longer in front of you, the cruise control will then speed back up to the speed that you set it at. (When this happens, the vehicle actually accelerates very slowly, but if you step on the gas, you can get back up to the set speed quicker).
The cruise control can also be set in 'normal' mode & will act as a typical cruise control & maintain a set speed without regard for cars in front of you.
As for the transmission, I know that the 5 speed in the '01 is very smooth. I haven't driven the '04, but I would assume that the extra gear would allow slightly better fuel economy.