Stability/Traction control vs AWD
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Thread: Stability/Traction control vs AWD

  1. #1
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    Stability/Traction control vs AWD

    I realize that very few people have been able to experience the Soul in true winter weather due to the fact that the car has only been out for a few months so this question is, I guess, more about stability/traction control overall vs AWD...


    How big of a difference should a person expect when comparing stability control vs AWD? I mean I assume that in typical city/suburban driving few would ever experience much difference between the two, right? After all, we're not talking about off-roading here.


    I'm asking because although we live in the Chicago area my family does drive to rural southern MN several times a year and have had to put up with some nasty weather while driving out in the middle of no where in WI and southern MN. For the most part we've been very fortunate and have had unseasonably warm trips even in around the holidays. But then there were other trips where route 14 was covered in a good inch or two of ice (many parts of MN seem to refuse to use salt) and our last trip where it snowed in mid-April. My Subaru and its 3200+ lbs and AWD managed that icy road better than I would have thought but our family is out-growing that car for long trips so we're investigating small SUVs with AWD and the xB and Soul (both with traction control). Ideally the Soul looks like it will fit our needs better than the other vehicles but the big question for us is the stability/traction control vs AWD.

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  3. #2
    Senior Soul Bodycount's Avatar
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    Power to four wheels will always beat power to two wheels when you're on ice or snow.

    According to what the dealer told me, the Soul traction control turns on your antilock brakes when it senses your tires slipping. How is that going to help you drive better other than slow you down when you don't want to slow down?

    AWD provides power to each wheel indepentantly. Or power to the back wheels if the fronts start to slip. So for example if your front tires are slipping on ice, it will then turn on your back tires to give you more power.

    traction control is the ghetto version of AWD.
    Last edited by Bodycount; 08-05-2009 at 02:14 PM.

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    Unless I'm mistaken traction control is typically found in vehicles with AWD. And I believe you're correct about the brakes being applied for the slipping wheels...which adds power to the wheels without the brakes on. So any complaint that FWD + traction control is worse than AWD because the brakes is being applied must also be a complaint for AWD.

    Obviously 4 wheels with power is going to offer some degree of stability above two-wheel drive with traction control. The issue is how much or if it is necessary.

  5. #4
    Intermediate Soul SoberOne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eves View Post
    Unless I'm mistaken traction control is typically found in vehicles with AWD. And I believe you're correct about the brakes being applied for the slipping wheels...which adds power to the wheels without the brakes on. So any complaint that FWD + traction control is worse than AWD because the brakes is being applied must also be a complaint for AWD.

    Obviously 4 wheels with power is going to offer some degree of stability above two-wheel drive with traction control. The issue is how much or if it is necessary.
    I've tried doing burnouts and power slides in the rain and have experience the Soul Traction Control first hand. I feel that Soul is the first and last car I will get with Traction Control. I love Soul, but hate Traction Control.

    My ony experience with AWD is with my Subaru. The Subaru AWD system is noted as being the best in the world.

    The difference on slippery surface (rain, snow, ice) is uncompariable. I don't think the two (AWD and traction control) can be compaired. The difference is so huge that the comparison is ... well... silly

    If I were to try to compare/explain Traction Control I would say it most closely resembles computer controled braking and engine management to prevent tire spin or slip

    If I were to try to compare AWD to something I would say it most closely resembles a poor limitted slip 4WD system to provide power distribution control.
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  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoberOne View Post
    I've tried doing burnouts and power slides in the rain and have experience the Soul Traction Control first hand. I feel that Soul is the first and last car I will get with Traction Control. I love Soul, but hate Traction Control.
    You can turn traction control off. The button is left of your steering wheel. Directly right of your interior light dimmer. No clue if it remembers your last setting after each startup though.

  7. #6
    Elder Soul hodad66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bodycount View Post
    You can turn traction control off. The button is left of your steering wheel. Directly right of your interior light dimmer. No clue if it remembers your last setting after each startup though.
    I believe that it reverts back to being on at startup....

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoberOne View Post
    I've tried doing burnouts and power slides in the rain and have experience the Soul Traction Control first hand. I feel that Soul is the first and last car I will get with Traction Control. I love Soul, but hate Traction Control.
    Electronic stability control will be made standard on nearly all vehicles in the US by 2012 according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency so this will probably effect all North American cars. Traction/Stability control is usally defeatable via a button. Toyota has the most intrusive units. Most reviewers talk about the fact that turning stability control off in a Toyota doesn't really completely shut it down.

    Here's a link to a press release:

    Electronic stability control required for all cars in 2012

  9. #8
    Intermediate Soul SlartyBartFast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bodycount View Post
    traction control is the ghetto version of AWD.
    Wrong.

    You also mixed up AWD and AWD with limited slip front/rear differentials.

    Traction Control serves mostly to help keep the car under control. Once a wheel starts slipping, there's no getting it back for an average driver (and yes most of you are simply average drivers, don't bother pretending you're some kind of professional).

    Traction control will not necessarily always help you get the vehicle moving. In fact, it may hinder starting the vehicle going in slippy conditions, on a hill for example, where both wheels might be slipping. Hence the button to turn it off. But, if only one wheel is slipping, the result of the traction control system applying the brakes to one side results in power going to the other side and hopefully providing traction to move the vehicle.

    AWD, with power going to all wheels, will provide better grip and power application under most situations. As less power is being fed to each wheel, the wheels are less likely to slip under the same conditions as FWD. But without limited slip differentials and variable power distribution from front to rear, AWD still risks being stranded with one wheel only spinning free.

    Better would still be AWD with Traction Control.

  10. #9
    Senior Soul Bodycount's Avatar
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    So...

    how am I wrong?

    traction control works on two wheels only

    AWD works for all four wheels.


    AWD > Traction Control. Especially if you live in a location that gets a lot of snow/ice.

    Full time 4x4 has it's advantages and disadvantages over both also.

  11. #10
    Intermediate Soul SlartyBartFast's Avatar
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    Simple:

    AWD distributes power.
    TSC stops/limits wheels from slipping.

    Different things entirely.

    AWD + TSC is better than straight AWD. So how is TSC "AWD light"?

    Then all AWD systems are not created equally. Is the center differential limited slip? what is the front/rear pwoer split? Etc.

    Without limited slip differentials and/or TSC, AWD or FWD can be stuck with only one wheel spinning.

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