Unintended acceleration

Louis-Alain Richard larichard at plguide.com
Thu Oct 22 12:31:42 PDT 2009

Glad to have some loaners from press fleets...

I just went out in a 2010 280 hp fwd luxury sedan with a 6 speed manumatic
and a push button. To do some tests, because that story will be in my
magazine too next week.

Results ? Brakes can easily stop the car from 120 km/h (75 mph) with wide
open throttle in about 50% longer distances. I did it 3 times in a row,
without letting the brake cool : the third time, distances were notably
longer, but still the car stopped easily. It smelled hot pads for sure.

Kill the engine ? a 3 second push on the start button is an eternity when
driving fast, but it can be done. The car will beep and throw some messages
on the dashboard display, but the engine will die after 3 seconds. Did it
numerous time, WOT or not, driving fast in various gears, always the same
result. 3 seconds is a bit long to my taste, 1 would be enough I think. And
I'd add a panic stop function : if someone push the button rapidly, kill the

Gated manumatic shifter ? Well, if you are in the +/- gate and push up to
attain neutral, you won't. You must first slide the shifter in the PRNDSL
gate, then hit N. In panic, with a car accelerating hard while evading
traffic, one can easily be overwhelmed by the fact that no N is attainable,
especially if the car is not yours. Sure, this doesn't happen in the normal
gate. Maybe Chrysler is better designed with their side-to-side +/- gate at
the bottom of the D position. Can't lock yourself far from the N. Choose a
manual, and all this is irrevelant.

If you want me to test other behaviour, do ask, I still have that car for a
few more days...


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