Electronic stability control—more models going standard

Consumer Reports News: April 16, 2010 12:38 PM

For the 2012 model year, electronic stability control will be standard on all light-passenger vehicles, including cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs. The majority of manufacturers have already equipped their vehicles ahead of the NHTSA mandate, but there are a few holdouts, as highlighted in the list below.

Electronic stability control helps prevent a vehicle from skidding or sliding in a turn. It's especially helpful in slippery conditions and accident-avoidance situations. When buying a new or used car, Consumer Reports believes it is essential and highly recommends choosing an ESC-equipped model. This is especially valued on an SUV and for less-experienced driver.

While many models now offer this life-saving feature as standard, there are still a number of vehicles where it is just optional and several that don’t offer it at all. Some of these models will be phased out or replaced before the NHTSA mandate takes effect. Tesla has said that it is working on ESC for its roadster.

2010 models that do not offer ESC:

Chevrolet Aveo
Chrysler PT Cruiser
Dodge Dakota
Dodge Viper
Hyundai Accent
Kia Rio
Lotus Elise
Scion tC
Tesla Roadster

Consumer Reports has noted that ESC is the most important safety feature since the advent of the seat belt. For the vehicles listed in our annual Top Picks report, which highlights the best models in 10 categories, ESC must be either standard or readily available as an option. NHTSA has estimated that as many as 10,000 lives annually would be saved if all vehicles were ESC equipped.

To find out which models have ESC and other important safety features, see our safety comparison chart. For more on vehicle safety, see our safety guide.

--Liza Barth

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