How much would you pay for Stability Control?

Automobile Staff
Stability Control

Volkswgen charges you $450 if you want stability control on a Rabbit. To me, this is a no brainer. But how much would you pay for the safety and security of stability control?

I love stability control. I believe it is the most important safety feature since seat belts and airbags came along. For most drivers, they'll never know stability control is there until it saves their butt. Even hardcore enthusiasts really don't need to turn it off on public roads unless they're trying to be a drift champion and go to jail. The thing is, the newest systems are so good that they only really come into play if the driver is being crazy or about to crash. But how much is this technology worth?

While writing the European Opel Corsa review for the August issue of the magazine, I priced out the Saturn Astra and the Volkswagen Rabbit. Both offer stability control as an option. VW charges $450, Saturn hits you for $495. To me, anyone who doesn't order this option needs to get their head checked. But how much is the consumer willing to pay for stability control? I don't know but I would pay $1000. Not sure how I came up with that number. I guess I figure most people carry a $500 or $1000 insurance deductible and stability control could save them from an accident, especially driving in the harsh winters of Michigan.

Either way, our government is taking this decision out of our hands. They too see the brilliance of this technology and are requiring stability control as standard equipment on all cars from model year 2012. Wonderful.

I just hope our country's lawyers don't kill the ability to turn off the system as I will never tire of handbrake turns in empty parking lots in the middle of winter.

I couldn't agree with you more, Marc. And if $500 seems expensive to people, remember that it's about the same as your insurance deductible. Only that if ESP helps you avoid the crash in the first place, you save the medical insurance co-payments AND the accident surcharge on your car insurance. Oh, and perhaps you won't need 15 years of physical therapy.As the survivor of a 105-mph car accident (in the passenger seat) that ESP would have unquestionably avoided, I've spent over $100,000 in medical bills and an untold amount of hours in physical therapy, doctors' offices. And let's not put a price on pain.Bottom line? $500 is a drop in the bucket compared to the real cost of an accident. Marc's right -- you'd need to have your head examined to not be willing to spend a couple hundred -- even a thousand -- bucks on something that could save your life.
The next question is will the stability control systems offered by manufacturers change as a result of being required by the US government. Will they become more invasive?
Volkswagen will have stability control as a standard feature in 2009.

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