Ford Taurus ESC vs. AWD

doc144doc144 Member Posts: 5
edited March 2014 in Ford
I had a general question about safety features. In your opinion, If you only had a choice of one of these options, which is better to have on a car, ESC or AWD? Secondarily, if the car has AWD, does ESC actually add much more to the safety equation?
Thanks to all who may have an opinion


  • mschmalmschmal Member Posts: 1,757
    ESC is yaw control. This is a seperate benefit from AWD and you want it:

    New data, same finding:
    electronic stability control
    A federal report finds that electronic stability control,
    or ESC, reduces fatal crashes involving a single car by
    36 percent. The corresponding percentage for SUVs,
    pickups, and vans is 63 percent. Fatal single-vehicle
    rollover crashes are reduced even more — 70 percent
    for cars and 88 percent for the other vehicles.
    These findings, published in July by the National
    Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), update
    a 2004 agency report, which also showed ESC’s lifesaving
    benefits. Two Institute studies show similar
    effects (see Status Report, June 13, 2006 and Jan. 3, 2005).
    ESC helps by monitoring vehicle response to steering
    and detecting when a vehicle starts to stray from a
    driver’s intended path or the rear of the vehicle starts
    to spin out. Then ESC automatically brakes individual
    wheels to maintain the intended direction and, thus,
    driver control.
    Responding to accumulating evidence of ESC’s
    effectiveness, NHTSA issued a regulation in April to
    require this feature on
    passenger vehicles by
    the 2012 model year.
    In issuing the requirement,
    NHTSA estimated
    that 5,300 to 9,500
    lives will be saved
    annually when every
    passenger vehicle is
    equipped with ESC.
    This is in line with the
    Institute’s conclusion
    that ESC may save as
    many as 10,000 lives
    each year. Most of the
    benefit will be in rollover
    crashes, in which
    NHTSA predicts that
    deaths may be reduced by 4,200 to 5,500 annually.
    Automakers may be moving faster than NHTSA
    requires. About 2 of every 3 new passenger vehicle
    models already have ESC. This proportion is expected
    to rise in the years before the federal rule takes effect.
    “Statistical analysis of the effectiveness of electronic
    stability control systems: final report” (DOT HS 810
    794) is available at

  • thegraduatethegraduate Member Posts: 9,731
    AWD helps you start in slick conditions. It does not provide the extra braking prowess and safety that Stability Control does.

    In the south where it rarely snows, I'd much rather have ESC over the AWD because I feel it adds safety benefits that AWD does not; not to mention the AWD's added weight, complexity, and lower fuel mileage.

    Give me ESC!
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Member Posts: 2,437
    Most people will find ESC and traction control superior to AWD for safety purposes. The best combo might be ESC with AWD, since a lot of AWD vehicles tend to be a bit top heavy and more prone to rolling. ESC corrects a lot of that tendency. For a low sedan though, unless you live near the tundra or drive slalom, AWD will not pay you for its upkeep.
  • mschmalmschmal Member Posts: 1,757
    At my training for the new Nissan Rogue, they had a slick plate set up (6 4x8 metal panels edge to edge in 2x3 pattern covered with soapy water.

    They showed us the Rogue on the slick plate starting from stop with ESC off and ESC on. AWD was on in both instances.

    ESC makes a huge difference in control and smoothness.

    With ESC off all four wheels where spinning and the Rogue started to move sideways. Also the engine revved alot higher to get the car moving.

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