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ESP: An Essential Feature For New Cars

2010 Subaru Impreza 2.5i

2010 Subaru Impreza 2.5i

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It's got nothing to do with supernatural Extra Sensory Perception, though cars equipped with ESP can help you avoid the afterlife. If your car is fitted with an Electronic Stability Programme, you could be one of the lucky drivers who are 25 percent less likely to be involved in a fatal accident than if your car doesn't have it--ESP aids in preventing crashes by helping you regain control of your car if it detects you're about to go hedge-shaped.

And if all cars were fitted with ESP, there'd be approximately 380 less deaths on UK roads each year. You might think then that every car manufacturer would be falling over themselves to fit ESP to all their models--but only 63 percent of new cars have the system fitted as standard.

That's according to Euro NCAP in conjunction with Thatcham, those safety spods who carry out a vast array of sometimes literally crushing tests on every new car to see if they are up to scratch. Importantly though, this is the first time the efficiency of a car's ESP system can have an affect on a motor's overall Euro NCAP rating.

The organisation tested the ESP systems of over 40 motors by using a robot to control the car's steering and see how each ESP-equipped car coped with a sudden double lane-change at 50 mph--the gruelling tests saw some cars doing up to 60 runs, gradually increasing the steering inputs and angle.

Only two models were found lacking--the Alfa Romeo Mito came under fire when the ESP was compromised in the car's 'Dynamic Mode', one of its three steering settings. But most surprisingly was the trusted Subaru Impreza; it was pulled up because of the location of its ESP on-off switch which might see it being inadvertently switched off by the driver.

Euro NCAP and Thatcham are now campaigning for ESP to be fitted to all cars as standard--and here at, we agree that a sound stability control system is essential for modern motoring.

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