Skip to main content

USAC tests traction and control of most popular mid-size SUVs

The United States Auto Club tests the stability, traction and control of the 2014 Subaru Forester, Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, and Mazda CX-5. Which one comes out on top?

Everyone who drives experiences unpredictable situations on the road. SUVs tend to have a higher center of gravity and can become unstable if evasive action is needed in certain driving situations. The United States Auto Club implemented an independent test which measured the time required to negotiate obstacles on a dry surface. They put each of these vehicles through the same evasive lane change test. The 2014 Subaru Forester, Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, and Mazda CX-5. Who comes out on top?

They tested these popular mid-size SUVs to see how each reacted to adverse driving situations like an evasive lane change on a dry course. They tested the stability, traction and control of each SUV. The professional drivers conducted the test to see how each of the top five small all-wheel-drive crossovers were able to handle unpredictable situations on the road.

The USAC drivers drove each mid-size SUV and performed a series of runs on a dry surface. Each test driver drove through the obstacles on the course and increased speed with each run to determine which vehicle could navigate the course in the fastest time without hitting any obstacles.

They started with the Ford Escape. One driver said, “Well it felt like it kicked in a little bit on the front wheels, almost felt like the front wheels would come up off the ground.” Another said, “Okay I’m not happy with the Ford. The Honda CR-V was next which slid through the course and wiped out one of the obstacles.

The Toyota RAV4 ran through the course and the driver said, “Its under-steering terribly, and I didn’t feel the traction control kick in. And the car is talking to me, it must have said that it can't do that anymore.” The Mazda CX-5 was next up and the whole back end of the car just started to swing right out. “That’s what we call oversteer.”

Next up was the 2014 Subaru Forester which went through at increasing speeds without mishap. “Here we go now we're talking, that was good. It was totally controllable.” The driver said after taking it through the course. The Forester stayed in total control even at forty mph. The driver said all you have to do is trust the car and it will perform.

When the final analysis was in, the Subaru Forester outperformed all the other vehicles. The USAC test showed the Forster finished first, followed by the Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape and Honda CR-V. Subaru with its Symmetrical all-wheel-drive and traction control worked better than all the other popular mid-size SUVs on the market.

Subaru has created a niche market with their multi-use all-wheel-drive vehicles and have been developed this kind of stability, traction and control over the years. They designed the all-new 2014 Forester with all these features. I guess driving a Subaru does give you “peace of mind.” Here is another USAC AWD test conducted on the most popular SUVs.

Watch the USAC Crossover Challenge, Control and Braking video.


Haresh (not verified)    July 9, 2015 - 1:35PM


I am eager to see Ford explorer 2014 limited 4WD vs suburu ,bmw , audi and all other competitor for traction control test.
Same as you did for audi vs bmw .

Thank you