With the news about the latest updates to the 2010 Toyota Yaris, an interesting discussion has started in the comments section regarding standard driving aides/safety features such as vehicle stability control, traction control, and anti-lock brakes. More and more cars, including the inexpensive subcompacts and compacts, are coming with these features as standard equipment.
Some drivers of small, affordable, nimble vehicles find these to be intrusive and unnecessary in a small car. Others view them as a great safety feature that should be included standard, even on the least expensive vehicles.
I can see two sides to the story.
First there's the argument that small, low-horsepower vehicles do not need traction control. Many of these vehicles can barely spin the tires on dry pavement to begin with. And from an enthusiast standpoint, stability/skid control can be invasive during autocross, track days, or even "spirited driving." And anti-lock brakes are still not everyone's favorite. This group of people wishes that vehicles could be un-equipped with such features, or they should options. They don't want to pay extra for these features, even if they are integrated into the vehicle's cost. It can have a negative effect on the driving experience and they do not want it on their car. If people would learn to drive better, we wouldn't need these things to begin with.
Then there's the other side of the story ...
This is the set of the population that looks at these driving aides as good safety features; something that could help prevent an accident, or at least a spin out. Whether it's simply commuting to work, or autocrossing, the car's computer has faster reaction times than a person's ability to compensate for an emergency situation. Not matter how small, lightweight, or nimble the car, much of the driving population isn't well versed in handing an automobile at its limit. Plus, so much of the driving public is distracted by driving in inclimate weather while talking on their cell phone, smoking a cigarette, and attending to their 2.5 children in the back seat of their land yacht, that any devices that can help a driver not have to think about preventing a possibly collision (or spin out) is welcomed.
So what do you think? Are you for or against having small or smaller cars come standard with traction control, stability control, and ABS, or would you rather it be optional for people that want it?