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

cydwelcydwel Posts: 3
I really hope I get some responses to this. It kind of goes with the safety questions (no government or IIHS crash testing for this car - what's up with that?)
Anyway - We have already ordered a 2008 Mazda5 Grand Touring, but are now having second thoughts. The weather can get very nasty here in Missouri, and I have a job where I have to get out no matter what. Also, the U.S. Government is going to require stability control on all cars in a few years. Does the fact that this car has no traction control and no stability control matter? What has been your experience - especially you Canadian posters to this forum?
Thank you, in advance, for your reports and insights.


  • coolmazda5coolmazda5 Posts: 525
    I dunno how much it would help but here is my crash tests answer:
    coolmazda5, "2008 Mazda5 Safety Question" #2, 2 Mar 2008 7:12 pm

    I live in the Northeast US. It is not as radical weather as St Louis but still moderate snow/slush/freezing rain. Given that is based on the Mazda3 and is a Mazda I see ESC and Traction Control as a nice to have but not a must (it drives like a sedan). My complaint is more on the OEM tires, but snow tires can fix that.

    Don't take me wrong, if it was an SUV, hell yeah I would want it or need it.
  • athenasiusathenasius Posts: 118
    As i said to my brother who bought a new Camry this fall as i was picking him up when he could not get his car unstuck i a parking lot. All the electronics in the world will not help you if you have not traction.
    I have been using these on my 06 auto mazda 5 for 3 years and have never been stuck. Do not get me wrong stability and traction would be nice to have but Mazda does not feel safety is warranted for people like us (buyers of value not the big honking SUVs) as I have said to the head office 'hey I have an idea why not give us the option to pay extra for stuff like that. Their response we have done study after study and people refuse to buy it. Sounds to me like the old adage people do not buy hatch backs when in fact it was not interest but that few offered them at the time. Shame on you Mazda (Rant over lol)
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    Why would someone sell a product that has little or no demand? I understand that you want them to create the demand by offering DSC on the product, but on a product with limited appeal, this is even more risky.

    It's always easy blame automakers for not offering this or that, but they exist to turn a profit; not to accomodate 100% of every individual's desires.
  • coolmazda5coolmazda5 Posts: 525
    Mazda offers ESC standard in Europe and Japan I believe (and AWD in Japan), but on one of my trips to Europe I saw a very similar Touring Model (it is called "Top") for the amount of 27100 Euros (I let you work on the exchange rate). My guess is that Mazda needed to assess between must and nice to have to make a competitive price in each market

    If all cars are made in Japan, 27100 Euros buys me All Wheel Drive and Power Doors as well here :). However I'm very happy to have paid less than USD $20K each (I own 2 Mazda5s) AND I have all the must haves included. Making them an option might not be cost effective for a small production like NA. As an example, in Spain they are expected to sell 32000 Mazda5s this year, so that and 27K Euros should pay for ESC :D

    My 2 cents
  • mrbwa1mrbwa1 Posts: 42
    I'm not from Canada, but from Eastern WA, where we get our fair share of snow. The 5 does great with a good set of 4 snow tires. We had an unusually bad winter this year and I have been able to navigate through 12 inches of snow with no problems.

    As far as ESC/TC, I may have an unpopular belief, but I am not a big fan of most systems. I can see the merit of these technologies, especially Stability Control, but in my experience, most systems do not turn off fully. Perhaps it is a liability issue, but there are times when one may need to, or more likely simply want to defeat these systems. May a system that I can turn all the way off (but that re-enables when the car is turned of and back on), and I would be much happier.

    Also, as pointed out, the real reason is most likely $$$. It would be nice as an option, but I feel the $650 I spent on a good quality set of mounted snows offsets any traction issues. Once snow season is over, I won't have much use for TC/ESC anyway.
  • athenasiusathenasius Posts: 118
    spoken like a true manufacturer. I will say is slowly for you. There is a demand for it have you not watched tv auto programs for the last 5 years. And do not think that offering an option would not make them money(are you implying that they have ever sold something at a loss). i agree traction control is mostly usless and why most systems come with an off switch. but try to control the braking for 4 different wheels when going around a corner and one wheel starts to slip. since last year only cars with Electronic stability control are even considered for safe vehicle ratings now(i guess the manufacturers created a demand for safer cars gee that was nice of them :P ). It is not like they have to reengineer the car for it they already have it for this car at the factory. And do not blame Mazda Canada for the choices as it is owned by Mazda US so the US has to get it first. Do not get me wrong a good set of tires is great but a good set of tires with ESC will save more lives than not. IMHO :D
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    "but try to control the braking for 4 different wheels when going around a corner and one wheel starts to slip."

    That's what Electronic Brakeforce Distribution is for (part of the ABS).

    And perhaps it sounds like a manufacturer because I understand manufacturing (silly huh?).

    Let's look at it this way. Let's say it costs $750k to develop DSC (a very low guess). Assuming sales of 10,000 cars a year and only the top 3% are going to get DSC. If we want to amortize the program over 2 years of sales, there's a $1,250 hit on each car. Now that we have killed the profit on the car, we can figure out what the components of the DSC cost.

    Oh wait, you said they already have it at the factory. In that case, the factory should give it up for free and also certify it for the north american market (for free) as well.

    I think next time my neighbor has his house painted, I'll see if I can get mine painted for the cost of the paint.
  • mbros2kmbros2k Posts: 71
    If you've done even a little homework, the answer is obvious...Do not even consider buying a new car without stability control. I complained to Mazda when the Mazda5 first came out, but to no avail. Too bad for Mazda5 sales, because there are lots of good cars out there with it, including most of Mazda's other fine models. Stability control is the greatest safety device since seat belts. Don't let yourself be fooled.
  • coolmazda5coolmazda5 Posts: 525
    I understand that for some owners stability control is essential, that is what I'm reading in this thread, yet if we do some homework you can see the numbers speak by themselves with regards to sales. These numbers come with ZERO marketing for the car. Mazda is happy that the Mazda5 sells on its own (mostly word of mouth), so not too bad sales after all huh? Yes, it is a relative small number but I believe their focus is on their cash cows, Mazda3, CX-7, CX-9 and they are preparing to launch the new Mazda6...

    The MAZDA5 multi-activity vehicle, which has been freshened for 2008,
    sold 2,021 units, a 29.1 percent increase, and the best month for the
    vehicle since March, 2006. January sales were led in volume by MAZDA3,
    which reported sales of 7,893 units. - 8/0004766727&EDATE=
  • mbros2kmbros2k Posts: 71
    Sorry, a car without stability control just won't cut it with today's competition and emphasis on safety. A car without it should be ignored by any consumer who drives on public roads... Notice how Mazda has money to develop chrome grills with logos, satin finish gas caps, and rear spoilers. It just shows you where Ford's priorities lie, and why they're going broke fast.
  • coolmazda5coolmazda5 Posts: 525
    Talking about doing some homework, what a shortsighted view you provide. Mazda is not a division of Ford, Ford owns a stake of Mazda, which is different. And stability control was created after ugly Ford, GM and Chrysler SUVs starting flipping around due to poor design, while Mazda actually has a very good one (it is not just badges and chrome). Its performance design principle makes the stability control a nice to have, but not essential.

    As a real homework, read this article fully, that should give you more accurate information. I have extracted some highlights:

    Quirky Japanese carmaker becomes fastest growing U.S. brand

    Mazda's net profit increased to $627 million in the year ended March 31, 2007, from $568 million in 2006 and $427 million in 2005. The black ink puts it in stark contrast to Ford Motor Co., which owns a controlling stake in Mazda. Ford continues to lose U.S. market share and reported a $2.7 billion loss for 2007. That makes Mazda's contribution to Ford's coffers -- $204 million last year, up from $168 million in 2006 -- all the more welcome.

    But Mazda provides Ford with something more valuable than cash. Mazda-designed architecture underlies most of Ford's new vehicles. The company has become a major part of Ford's research and development efforts, as well as the model for its new, global product development system. - Y
  • mbros2kmbros2k Posts: 71
    Mazda certainly makes some great cars! Stability control will appear on all their cars soon enough anyway, thanks to their own fine engineers, Consumer Reports, the Insurance Institute, the U.S Government and, yeah, guys like me.
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    Don't forget that satin finish fuel doors (not available for Mazda5) and rear spoilers (standard on Mazda5) sell cars; moreso than DSC. I can agree that this is sad, but it's what keeps the business going.
  • mrbwa1mrbwa1 Posts: 42
    Don't forget that satin finish fuel doors (not available for Mazda5) and rear spoilers (standard on Mazda5) sell cars; moreso than DSC. I can agree that this is sad, but it's what keeps the business going.

    Shouldn't that statement read: " Don't forget that satin finish fuel doors (not available for Mazda5) and rear spoilers make dealers money" ? After all, the dealer-installed options are where the profit is. That's why out dealer was probably willing to sell our 5 at invoice, as they still got like $250 for the auto-dimming mirror.

    As for stability control, I really think it is a good thing, but don't really see it as a necessity. It sounds like the US is going to mandate it in the not so distant future, so then the argument will be a non-issue.

    Either way, it seems like it should at least be an option/standard of the GT model and available on the touring and sport, even if it is part of some bundle with an MP3 stereo and moonroof (sport) (isn't that how they alwas package the must have items?)
  • coolmazda5coolmazda5 Posts: 525
    This is a free market, you either buy it or buy something else (even a Rondo with ESC if you want), it is not my money after all. I respect people's requirements about ESC, no problem. I just gave my (solicited) opinion based on the experience of the 2 Mazda5 I own (one for almost 3 years, my 2nd one for almost 3 months).

    What I disagree is the distorted facts presented in a car forum like this. Many members here claim to be car "experts" and seem to have tons of years in the forums, yet their replies seem completely off the real facts and sometimes based on purely personal feelings rather than informed reality. If you don't like Mazdas just say it, I don't care really, but don't invent BS theories around why they are making money or why not or why they are crap if the facts are not there to back them up.

  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    Your post says you were replying to me, but the content doesn't seem to be.
  • coolmazda5coolmazda5 Posts: 525
    Don't forget that satin finish fuel doors (not available for Mazda5) and rear spoilers (standard on Mazda5) sell cars; moreso than DSC. I can agree that this is sad, but it's what keeps the business going.

    Yes, the reply also goes to you as well. I have not seen any facts that Mazda made a decision on rear spoilers because DSC does not sell as well as those. And by the way, the rear spoiler is not standard, it is an option for the Sport (with the Popular Package or after-market with the dealer). It is standard however for the Touring and Grand Touring models.
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    I have not seen any facts that Mazda made a decision on rear spoilers because DSC does not sell as well as those.

    Do you have access to internal documents? Neither do I. But, by the clear fact that the majority of Mazda5s sold in the US have a rear spoiler and none have DSC, the decision is implied.

    Yes, I understand that that Mazda doesn't offer the spoiler on certain Sport models but that was not the purpose of my post. If DSC was offered, it would likely only apply to the same vehicles equipped with a rear spoiler.
  • coolmazda5coolmazda5 Posts: 525
    But, by the clear fact that the majority of Mazda5s sold in the US have a rear spoiler and none have DSC, the decision is implied

    Yes, it is a very clear 1-to-1 implication :D. I wanted to have HIDs standard on my Sport model but Mazda decided that ABS and all-wheel disc brakes were better than HIDs (the owner does not need to see better as long as he(she) can brake more effectively). Very logic now that I think about it...

    Assumed should be the word, not implied
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    I don't get it. The car comes with a spoiler, but doesn't come with DSC. A program manager/committee made a conscious decision to include one and not the other. How is that an assumption if that's the way the car comes?
  • coolmazda5coolmazda5 Posts: 525
    We are going in circles, you are implying that one substitutes the other. What about if DSC was not included because for some reason it differs with the NHTSA standards in the US and just banned it, like it MAY have shut down the 2nd row Karakuri seat? I can assume safety reasons, but not imply.

    No alienation intended here ;), for sure you know more than I do, I'm just a car owner, but as you said, until we get internal Mazda information and memos we can only assume why, not assure nor imply.
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    I'm just speaking from familiarity with product development.

    Also, I never intended to imply that one directly substituted the other. However, with any product, a company has to weigh costs and benefits (value) of any enhancement. I'm sure on something as complex as a car, this list is longer than a roll of TP.
  • mbros2kmbros2k Posts: 71
    This thread started with Cydel asking if he should take delivery of a Mazda5 without stability control. Regardless of the realities of market forces, or Mazda's motivations for not offering it, the answer is an emphatic -- NO! I've read over and over that studies are showing a 30 -50% reduction in traffic deaths in cars with stability control. Newsflash...these kinds of numbers are not statistically insignificant. If you don't want to spin out of control or roll-over, then buy it. Geeze, I thought Mazda was the "vroom, vroom" company. If you want us to carve up the roads, then provide a proven technology that saves us from disaster the next time a squirrel gets in our way, or a patch of frozen yogurt. Hell, just buy a CX-7 and forget we ever had this discussion.
  • For me, I feel dynamic stability control (DSC) is critical in any car competing in todays safety conscious US market, especially for this kind of "family friendly" class of vehicles. I think Mazda may have made a major mistake in deciding not to bring this already developed and deployed system in Europe and Japan -over for us in the US version of the 5. Instead- we get tire pressure monitoring,rain sensing wipers and I-pod connectors?? - great gadgets mind you, but not critical (and soon to be mandated) safety technologies.

    Consider this from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on Stability Control systems:
    Electronic stability control could prevent nearly one-third of all fatal crashes and reduce rollover risk by as much as 80%; effect is found on single- and multiple-vehicle crashes from

    Personally- I have never taken the time to chime in on a forum before - instead I have always simply used them as a source of good information - and a great way to stay up to date on new models and market trends. However, this topic hit home for me and I simply had to register and then jump in. Great post!

    As a casual auto enthusiast who now has a need for the dreaded "family hauler", I was surprised and excited about what I found in the Mazda 5 - even more so after a recent auto show and test drive. I was happy to find a well equipped, smaller version of the Sienna/Odyssey which I had already shopped - especially for my young family. Most important- I wanted better MPG in this world of every rising gas prices. I was all ready to buy -but once I discovered no DSC as an option I was so shocked - it essentially killed the deal. So, after a few emails to Mazda and a fairly typical non committal response on the potential for DSC in the upcoming '09 model - I am now resigned to wait and see.

    So for me, I will hold out on my decision until this fall. And for Mazda, they have lost a sure sale- for a possible sale. This, all in a segment that will soon be more crowded... and I am willing to bet, all of these new alternative will have DSC as an available option.
  • coolmazda5coolmazda5 Posts: 525
    We can beat this dead horse further but FYI cydwel has not logged since March 4th :)
  • cydwelcydwel Posts: 3
    Yes - I have not replied since March 4 because on March 8 - I inked a deal on a brand new black Subaru Legacy 2.5i Limited WITH - ta da! - VDC.
    The Blue Mazda5 GT we had our name on will arrive in Lee's Summit, Missouri next month, and we will not be picking it up all because there was no DSC option and no IIHS/US DOT crash test data.
    I wish whomever buys the car well. They are getting a very nice car.
    But ultimately, the lack of a key and soon-to-be-required safety feature killed the deal and Mazda lost a sale. Add to that Subaru's financing and rebate specials, plus the rock-solid reputation for safety and durability, our new car is what it is.
    We have a 2002 Jetta Wagon we love (it has the turbo - and traction control), but it will not last forever. When it is time for its replacement, the 5 will be at the top of our list, because by then, surely Mazda will have improved the safety features.
    Thank you one and all for the information and insights your postings provided. All in all this is a great service Edmunds provides.
  • coolmazda5coolmazda5 Posts: 525
    Cool stuff, the Legacy is a fine car, I also took a look of it when shopping around for my first Mazda5 and the issue came to the 2nd row hinge doors and 2nd row space for my humongous baby car seats (they have to be installed rear-facing). All is nice and dandy except for the front passenger seat, it needed to be all the way forward and could not be reclined, so for my wife was a big issue to travel like that.

    The end of the story on my side:

    I respect people needing DSC yet I don't think is that influential for a Mazda5 purchase (overall performance design, rest of safety features are great and IS not an SUV like a CX-7)
    Drive as if your car does NOT have DSC even if it has it. Good driving skills are not substituted by technology. If you buy a car with DSC but become a careless driver with a false sense of safety, then the feature is useless.
    Do not wait 1-2 years for a car to have DSC. Yes, you are buying/waiting for extra safety but if that means that your family needs to ride for another 1-2 years on an older car that does not have the safety features of a Mazda5 or similar, then your wait is pointless and your family is still at risk
  • dlavidlavi Posts: 13
    I would have considered the Mazda 5 when we bought a car last year if it had stability control. To me stability control is a must.
  • I agree with you (ahtenasius)... the fact that only cars with ESC are even considered for safety awards, plus the fact that the technology has been mandated on all cars sold in the U.S. by 2012, should tell the public something. ESC is considered the biggest potential lifesaver since the seat belt, at least from what I'm reading (Full disclosure: I work for Edmunds.) Is it a big deal that it's not on the MAZDA5? Hell yeah, it is. This is exactly the segment I'm looking at: I need an inxpensive car that has 6 or more seats, so the MAZDA5 and the Kia Rondo are high on my list. I'd probably buy the 5 tomorrow, except for the fact that it lacks ESC. Even in L.A., where the weather is good, it's something I want, because they drive like lunatics here and I want every safety feature possible for my kids. I'm sure I'm not the only one, and so Mazda will lose sales because of it. It just seems so short-sighted. It's too bad: I really like the zoom-zoom!
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