Shopping for a used car? In addition to good crash test ratings, you’ll want to look for two must-have safety features: electronic stability control (ESC) and side airbags that protect both the head and torso.

ESC helps drivers maintain control on curves and slippery roads. It cuts in half the risk of a fatal single-vehicle crash. ESC has been required in all but the heaviest vehicles since the 2012 model year, but many older models have it as well. Check ESC availability on any vehicle dating back to the 1996 model year.

About one-third of occupant deaths occur in side impacts. Side airbags that protect both the head and chest can greatly reduce these deaths. The majority of 2008 and later models have them. Consult our database to find out the type of side airbags a vehicle has and whether they are standard or optional.

Select a make:

loading...
Standard
Optional
  Not available
Model Availability
Standard
Optional
  Not available
Model Head protection availability Chest protection availability
Driver Passenger Rear 3rd row Driver Passenger Rear 3rd row

What is ESC?

Electronic stability control, or ESC, uses the speed sensors on each wheel and the ability to brake individual wheels that are the basis of antilock brakes. ESC adds a steering angle sensor and a vehicle rotation rate sensor that measures rotation around the vehicle’s vertical axis. When the steering and rotation sensors detect that the vehicle isn’t pointed in the direction indicated by the steering wheel position, ESC automatically brakes the appropriate wheel to help the driver maintain control. In many cases engine throttle also is reduced.

How ESC works

How does ESC help drivers maintain control?

A driver loses control when a vehicle goes in a direction different from the one indicated by the position of the steering wheel. This typically occurs when a driver tries to turn very hard or to turn on a slippery road. Then the vehicle may understeer or oversteer. When it oversteers (above right) it turns more than the driver intended. The rear end slides out because the rear wheels have insufficient traction. When a vehicle understeers (above left) it turns less than the driver intended and continues in a forward direction because the front wheels have insufficient traction. ESC can prevent understeering and oversteering by briefly braking the appropriate wheel. In many cases engine throttle also is reduced.

Percent ESC availability by vehicle type

Model year Cars SUVs Pickups All
Standard Optional Not available Standard Optional Not available Standard Optional Not available Standard Optional Not available
2016 100     100     94 5 1 99   1
2015 100     100     93 6 1 99   1
2014 100     100     85 14 1 98 1 1
2013 100     100     84 16 1 97 2 1
2012 100     100     81 18 1 97 4 4
2011 90 5 5 100     72 15 13 92 4 4
2010 88 7 5 100     62 2 36 85 4 11
2009 74 14 12 100     38 19 43 74 11 15
2008 65 18 17 96 1 3 11 20 70 63 13 24
2007 56 17 27 88 2 11 9 14 77 51 12 36
2006 48 19 34 66 5 28 1 16 83 41 14 45
2005 37 18 45 38 12 50   18 82 29 16 55
2004 34 18 48 23 18 58   5 95 22 15 63
2003 30 17 53 17 15 68   2 98 19 12 69
2002 28 16 56 10 3 86     100 16 9 75
2001 24 11 65 9 2 89     100 14 6 80
2000 17 8 75 3   97     100 9 4 86
1999 8 8 84 1   99     100 4 4 91
1998 5 5 90     100     100 3 3 94
1997 2 2 97     100     100 1 1 98
1996 1 2 97     100     100 1 1 98
1995 1   99     100     100 1   99

See more crash avoidance technologies research in our topics section.

Percent driver side airbag availability by protection area

Model year Head/torso Head only Torso only Not
available
Standard Optional Not available Standard Optional Not available Standard Optional Not available
2016 97.1 1.9   0.4     0.5     0.1
2015 93.2 3.5   1.1 1.1   0.6     0.5
2014 91.7 3.4   2.3 1.1   0.4     1.1
2013 90.2 4.6   2.3 1.1   0.7     1.1
2012 83.9 4.5   7.6 1.7   0.1     1.5
2011 83.2 2.4   7.4 2.8   1     3.2
2010 77 0.8   10.4 2.2   1.1     8.4
2009 64.5 5.3   11.9 6.9   1     10.3
2008 58.9 6.8   9.8 9.7   2 0.10   12.6
2007 47.6 11.5   3.7 15.1   2.3 0.1   19.7
2006 38.3 15.3   1.9 14.8   5.6 3.3   20.8
2005 31.9 15.6   1.8 13.6   5.6 5.7   25.8
2004 27 12.3   1.7 8.4   5.4 10.8   34.4
2003 22.1 10.3   1.5 6.2   8 10.9   41
2002 20.3 8.8   0.4 3.7   13.4 4.6   48.9
2001 18.6 9.4     1.4   9.6 4.3   56.8
2000 10.1 6.9         12.8 2.4   67.7
1999 5.4 2.2         12.5 2.6   77.3
1998 1.3           13.7 1.9   83.1
1997             3.6 0.4   96
1996               1.3   98.7
1995             0.4     99.6

See more airbag research in our topics section.