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Mazda5: No Traction/ Stability Control. Is this an issue?

13

Comments

  • athenasiusathenasius Posts: 118
    do not waste your breath Mazda US told me that they will not add it. they said if you want it and the extra seating go to the CX9. they also have tinted windows in the rest of the world but that is not going to happen either. They said only if hundreds of people write letters will they consider put safety as a concern. right now it is just price point that is the concern they do not want to take away any possible sales from the CX9. Ya it makes no sense to me either. they could make it an option and we pay for it, they are made at the factory that makes then with it, all that would happen is for them to track the car to where it is supposed to go, maybe that is too hard for them. :P
  • zbxzbx Posts: 30
    I agree, traction control s/b an option. When it snows here (I'm in Canada) I drive my Honda Accord with traction control.
  • From what I've read, Stability Control is basically software and a bit of processing hardware that sits on top of an ABS system (i.e. you can't have Stability Control without ABS), and it adds 300-500 to the sticker. Even with an extra $500, the 5 would be VERY competitive in its class, plus it's only 6-9 bucks a month extra on a 60-month contract.

    I believe that it's not the cost to the consumer, but the cost to them of retooling their U.S. production line that's making them pause. They're figuring they're not going to gain enough sales or stop enough lost sales to make the margins on the Stability Control option exceed the costs of adding it as an option.

    The changes on the 2009 version of the 5 are minimal. Of course, since the feds are going to mandate Stability Control by 2012, they obviously have plans to add it within the next few years, but they're probably waiting until they do a more extensive re-design of the 5 overall, so they can incorporate the retooling for Stability Control into that larger retooling of the production line.

    As for Traction Control, according to a Consumer Reports article, it does help distribute power between the two front wheels if you're slipping, but it's only useful if one wheel has a grip. If both wheels are slipping, it's useless.

    You're much better off with All-Wheel Drive for rainy or snowy conditions ("4-wheel" is best for uneven surfaces like offroading, while AWD is better for slick streets). But AWD will drop your mileage by up to 3-4 miles per gallon, which is why you don't see it on most minivans. Another thing to think about is that greater weight = greater traction. Just the increased weight of a minivan (even the 5) vs the weight of an economy sedan, gives you better traction from the get-go.

    For people who live in drier, warmer climates, Traction Control is unlikely to be needed.

    And if you look at the numbers on Stability Control, you'll see that while it lowers your chances of death in an injury accident by 43%, the numbers the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety have stated of preventing 10,000 deaths a year if every car had it, means there would be a 1 in 30,000 chance (10 thousand deaths out of 300 million Americans) that stability control would save your life in a given year. And that's if the guy you got into the accident with also had Stability Control.

    If you buy into the hype that you *need* these things, then by all means, buy something else. But boycotting fast food and quitting smoking will be more likely to improve your life and prevent premature death than spending a few thousand more for a minivan with Stability Control and Traction Control.
  • Chiefbongo (great name), that was a very well thought-out post. But the "other guy" doesn't have to have stability control in order for it to save your behind; it only needs to be in your car. Traction control is part of stability control, but stability control adds more to it.

    From my point of view, it's pretty simple: People do get into car accidents (all the time), and stability control can help you avoid them or lessen their severity. I'll take the stability control, because I'm not one of those people who feel that it could "never happen to me," or that I'm such an outstanding driver that I could maneuver my way around whatever gets thrown at me. That's hubris (or youth). I've tested cars with and without stability control, and there's a difference. Both NTHSA and the IIHS think stability control is important enough to mandate, and I think that speaks volumes. So, like you said, it comes down to personal choice and budget. I find lots of ways to pinch pennies, but vehicle safety isn't one of them
  • coolmazda5coolmazda5 Posts: 525
    researchqueen wrote:
    Both NTHSA and the IIHS think stability control is important enough to mandate, and I think that speaks volumes

    So why they just don't bar the Mazda5 and others once and for all? They have the authority to do so. If it wasn't the case a lot of Chinese and Indian cars would be around already that is for sure...

    Look at the numbers in this post below and compare them with other "safe" vehicles with ESC. Yes, I agree is not the same, but if it would be so critical I doubt NHTSA/IIHS/NCAP would let them be running on the US streets

    http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/WebX/.f1a7505/0
  • The IIHS numbers on reduced fatalities, the 10,000 a year, are based on the assumption that *everyone* has stability control. If it helps you avoid an accident, it also helps the guy coming at you avoid them, or are you forgetting that it takes two to tango?

    And just remember, it only helps you if you see the accident coming and have time to react. If you drive distracted, tailgate, and do all the other stupid things that people do to take their attention away from the road reduce the time they have to react, stability control isn't going to help you.

    Take 200 people. Give 100 stability control and let them drive however they want, and get 100 to drive the way they were taught to drive (proper following distance, obey the speed limit, slow down in inclement weather). At the end of 10 years, I'll bet you that the 100 who drove safely had fewer accidents, fewer injuries, and fewer deaths than the people with who drove with a n extra safety feature.

    I'm not against stability control. If Mazda offered it, I wouldn't say "don't waste your money," because it's just 400-500 more as a one-time payment. But to get a different minivan, like a Toyota Sienna. Edmunds puts the base with standard options at $24,901, 5 grand more than the automatic transmission Sport 5. When you factor in gas costs at 14,000 miles per year with an average price of $5 a gallon over the next 5 years (which is optimistic), and the extra $5500 (5k plus tax and license) on a 7% note for the next 5 years, the difference in car payment and gas costs over 5 years is over $9,100.

    But if you're all fired up about safety, why not buy a $$27,617 Toyota Sienna with AWD? It only gets 16 city and 21 highway, but all-wheel drive gives you at minimum twice as much traction as traction control (traction control only helps the powered wheels, which is the front two in front-wheel-drive). Sure it will cost you a couple grand more a year in payments and gas, but you can never be too safe.

    Or heck, why not just get a Hummer, iron plate it, put huge extra bumpers all around it, and line the interior with 6 inch thick foam padding? Probably only run you 100 grand, but boy would you be safe.

    Heck, you're probably safer riding a bus everywhere. You'd sure as heck be safer if you never left the house.

    Eventually you find a point at which the cost of safety and the odds of incident balance out. And that point is different for everyone. I'm just trying to provide some numbers that aren't in the IIHS report so people can make a more informed decision. I've made mine.
  • This whole thread started when Cydwel posed the question… “Does the fact that this car (Mazda5) has no traction control / stability control matter?”

    Let’s take a tally of the responses on this post alone. By my count, of the 47 posts – just 15 of them represent the voting voice of individuals.

    10 agreed that DSC is a must
    5 noted that DSC is nice, but not critical.

    Of the 10 DSC advocates looking for a change, most of these responders where actively shopping for a car and took a strong voice, expressing exasperation that Mazda had neglected to add DSC. Most indicated that this was a major issue – a sale killer. Several claim to have even gone so far as to contact Mazda personally and let them know how important this safety feature was for the ’09 model makeover - in the hopes of buying an improved version. Now, with DSC confirmed to be left off for ‘09 and, and with patience exhausted and voice ignored, some are bittered to the Mazda brand – and may never buy from Mazda. So that means at minimum Mazda lost 9 documented M5 sales – one of whom apparently works for Edmunds.com as an auto reviewer (oops – that might be a costly single sales loss – ouch!). Who knows how many others have this same disappointed opinion and just decided never to post a comment? Worse yet, what of the reputation of Mazda USA brand?, publicly sullied by this issue.

    For the other five that felt that DSC is not as critical. I would note that these five all seem to have one thing in common, they all appear to have already purchased an M5 (coolmazda5, loyal to the end, has two in the stable, so maybe I should count him twice…. naah). To these noble defenders of the M5 as is, I would suggest that perhaps the underlying reason for your position on this subject is that you are simply protecting the honor of your own purchase – defending the reputation of your noble steed.

    Please try to lay aside your personal bias and ask yourself this instead: Given the opportunity to buy a brand spank’n new ’09 M5 today, would you prefer the opportunity to option out DSC (to at least have the choice)? And wouldn’t the choice of DSC as an option improve or otherwise raise the standard for the Mazda5, even if paired with a minor cost increase for the model year.

    The answer is (as research queen so eloquently put it)… HELL YES.

    Now that was pretty easy for us here to all figure out… so what the heck is wrong with Mazda USA management?

    Oh…. and to truly answer the original post, consider that Cydwel, the father of this thread, decided in the end to buy a Subaru WITH TRACTION CONTROL (see post #28 for yourself). Guess he answered his own question in the end. So for ’09, I will rest my case too, and like Cydwel, I will make my strongest point with my wallet. I am off to my Toyota dealer to buy a new Sienna. Yes, she may be bloated and thirsty (again, no thanks to Mazda USA) but at least I will hit my primary purchase goal - SAFETY.
  • Thought maybe I could have the dealer add DSC after the purchase. I know... I know, it was a long shot (and kinda crazy), but the parts exists and it seamed like a plausible equip. install, what with the Mz3 sharing parts. Cost (within reason) at this desperate point was not an issue for me.
    Officially, from Mazda the answer is: No

    My original email to Mazda USA, dated 8/1/08:

    I understand that DSC (dynamic stability control system) is not/will not be available for the 08-09 Mazda5. Can DSC be installed, as a dealer install option? (i.e. can it be added on/or retrofited to a car at owners cost after purchase). DSC is a must for me and I am willing to have it custom installed, if possible, so I can enjoy a new Mz5 AND have the latest in safety tech for my new family. Is this possible? I understand DSC is a factory installed option for Mz5s bound for other oversees markets (same production line...) and I know the Mz3 (the frame from which the Mz5 is developed) has DSC as an available factory option too. I only presume the parts, e-hardware and install specs exist for a qualified mechanic to make use of). If yes, where, and at what cost, can I get this installed? Please know; I am extremely dissapointed to see that that the '09 Mz5s will not come to USA with DSC. I was all set for a new GT Mz5. Outstanding niche product, with one fatal flaw.

    Mazdas Official Response dated 8/11/08:

    We regret that the 2008 & 2009 Mazda5 does not have Dynamic Stability Control (DSC). This is a factory-only installed option and therefore can not be installed/added-on by the dealer. We have documented your suggestion for our corporate records which are vehicle specific. These records are continuously being reviewed by our Product Planning Department in an effort to provide only the highest quality products and features to our customers for future model consideration.

    Thanks again for contacting Mazda and have a great day.

    Regards,
    XXX
    Specialist, Customer Assistance E-Business


    So that settles it for me. No Mazda5.
    Thought anyone else who was thinking about this possibility might like to know...
  • "For the other five that felt that DSC is not as critical. I would note that these five all seem to have one thing in common, they all appear to have already purchased an M5"

    Not me. Unless I have a financial windfall this month so I can take advantage of deals on the '08 models, I'll probably be buying in October. Right now I have a 2002 Elantra GT (the hatchback Elantra that looks a *little* like a Saab 93) I bought back in October '01. It doesn't even have ABS, much less traction or stability control. I've driven it in the rain and occasional snow of Seattle for 7 years. The 5 will give me more weight (which means more traction off the bat) and ABS, so even though it isn't every safety feature I could want, it's a step up AND it's in my price range.

    Autoholic, I'm really happy for you that you have an extra $2k+ a year to spare for gas and car payments. Is that coming out of the yacht maintenance fund or the salary of the gardener at your summer home? See, for many of us, it would be coming out of the kids' college funds, the retirement savings, or cancelling the annual Christmas trip to visit Grandma and Grandpa.

    Like I said, DSC and Traction Control aren't the end-all, be-all of safety. AWD is safer than Traction Control. Armor plating your car adds safety. Staying home adds safety. At some point you decide how much "safety" is within your price range and personal tolerance range and make your decision.
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    I find it funny that someone that claims to be an engineer by profession would even ask such a question. While you were at it, you should have asked them if the 3rd row seats from the Mazda5 would fit in a Mazda3.
  • coolmazda5coolmazda5 Posts: 525
    Would my reply count for 2? they drive like a sporty sedan with very decent fuel economy. Best of luck with the Sienna, I rented an 08 for a week once and it is a fine people mover, but too massive IMO. Drop by from time to time and let us know how things worked out

    image
  • jonat1xjonat1x Posts: 34
    An apparently ill-informed put-down - mechanically the two vehicles are the same. If you hop on over to Car and Driver, they're currently installing the engine from a Mazdaspeed3 into a Mazda5. Now that REALLY gets my attention.
  • jschnerjschner Posts: 4
    The safety issues that were some what in question for this vehicle a few months ago seemed to have been answered recently with the M5 doing very well in safety tests. Better than I thought it would do. I was expecting all 4s because of the small size but the M5 scored a lot of 5/5.

    The subject of traction control did not matter to me when I purchased our 08 M5 GT in April. I thought about it for 2 seconds thinking it would be a cool option to have but realistically it really isn't all that necessary for where I live. So I'm rather thrilled I saved $500 on an option that I really did not need. I equate traction control being an issue about as much as the car scoring a 4.9/5 in crash tests instead of a 5/5. Really not all that significant to me.

    Good luck to those who wrote or need it. Maybe 2010 is the year!

    Now if I lived in a colder climate or had traction issues then yes I think it would be a great option and open more of the market up to Mazda. But the car is what it is and if traction control is a must have item then maybe something like a Rondo would work better for some people.

    I applaud those who have taken the time to write Mazda and express their feelings about traction control. Maybe in the next couple years it will show up as an optional item like the DVD or navigation for those who need such a thing before it is mandated. But if it's not, then it's Mazda's loss if that is a deal breaker for some as I understand the need in some circumstances.

    Good luck to those who wrote Mazda and need traction control. Maybe 2010 is the year?
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    "An apparently ill-informed put-down..."

    Hardly: DSC is all about vehicle dynamics. The Mazda3 and Mazda5 are quite a bit different, dynamically. I'm not sure what you mean about them being mechanically the same: the rear suspension is different.
  • Thanks collmazda5... and just for the record, your posts (along with others here) provided a great info and experience background, from current owners of the Mz5... as I shopped all of the alternatives. Your posts went a long way toward generating a buzz and getting me seriously excited about, what I had hope, would be my next car. Mazda should be paying you guys for the great PR service you provide.

    For so many reason the Mz5 seemed "just right", and I was really looking forward to putting in an order for an '09 Blue GT... but stability control for me was just something I couldn't compromise on. I will keep an eye on the model and check in on the forum from time to time.

    Pleasant (and safe) driving.
  • You can add me to the "DSC is a must " camp. I'm also disappointed that the '09 model will not have it, but I might be able to wait for '10. At any rate, hasn't the NHTSA made stability control mandatory for 75% of 2010 models, 95% of 2011 models, and 100% of 2012 models?
  • It will be mandatory by 2012 but Where did you get the percentages from?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stability_control
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    Scroll down to Laws in the link you provided.
  • I am fairly new to the Mazda5 forum and I stumbled upon this thread and read it all. I am in my early thirties so by no means did I ever grow up in the muscle car era nor the pre-muscle car era. I know I will probably get a lot of negative responses (maybe not) but as I read this thread it amazed me how much people have changed and progressively transferred "liability" to auto makers.

    Electronics in vehicles is a fairy new concept that dates back maybe 20 or so years. Vehicles now-a-days are better built and way safer then all those vehicles that we as kids and young adults for some rode in or drove. What happened to being a proactive and safe driver? Why "must" you have all these electronic controls just to prevent you from getting in an accident? We never had them before and we did just fine, why "must" you have it now. Very simple people...if you live in a region where it snows, either get yourself an AWD vehicle, but if you must go the 2WD venue then get yourself a set of snow tires to help traction and drive slower than normal conditions. If you cant control your own vehicle in dry sunny conditions then either maybe you should slow down and obey the speed laws or don't drive at all.

    The additon of all these gizmos to vehicles by automakers to make it a "safer" car all evolves from stupid, irresponsible people (for lack of a better term) that get into a major accident and want to blame someone else for their mistakes. Believe it or not people, most accidents are caused by human error and not vehicle malfunction. So if you "must" have DSC or TC or whatever alse you feel you must have on the vehicle to make you a safer driver, then go ahead and buy that vehicle. Hey guess what...? Mazda does not offer it on the MZ5 so stop whinning about the automaker decisions and profit this and profit that and go find yourself the vehicle with all your electronic gizmos and buy it. As for me ABS and EBD is far more than enough to control my MZ5. I am a car enthusiast and the last thing I need is a computer driving my vehicle or telling me how to drive it.

    Just my $0.02
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