Feature14 May 2012

Why our road tests are different

You’ll see plenty of rev­iews of new cars, but nobody produces as thorough and impartial a judgement as Autocar does with its road test. Every car undergoes a battery of trials.

As well as acceleration, fuel consumption, noise measurement and brake tests, we also time each car on wet and dry handling circuits. We even measure the visibility from inside the car. But we don’t just drive cars at the test track – essential as it is for finding the limits of performance – but also on a wide-ranging mix of roads.

We aim to produce the most complete, objective tests in the business, so that you will know just how good a car is.

Join the debate


16 May 2012

Well,as i've read elsewhere, the mpg figures are going to get a bit more realistic,makers are going to have to adopt the AUTOCAR method or something close to it which i'm glad about.

Peter Cavellini.

6 February 2013

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20 February 2013

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7 April 2013

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17 May 2012

Interesting video which shows in essence that Autocar's road tests have changed very little in 50 odd years. All the parameters which are easy to measure - dimensions, weight, performance and economy - are duly measured.

But those things which are equally important to the new car buyer but less easily quantified - ride, handling, grip, stability and quality reliability - are assessed only subjectively. And as we all know, subjective evaluation varies greatly with the individual.

The net result usually makes for interesting reading, but I can't help feeling that road testing needs to move on a bit in the 21st century. Or is road testing no longer relevant when all cars basically work adequately and with many modern buyers placing image, styling and reputation above performance and functionality?   

25 April 2014
All cars will pass the "road test", it's just a matter of style and finesse now days.

17 May 2012

I've often wondered why some sort of quantitative ride quality analysis has not been included in road testing.  You certainly deal with acceleration, braking, and handling,....and you do measure interior noise.  But what about driving a car over deliberately installed metal bars, say 1/2 inch to  1-inch high, by 1-inch wide, spaced at regular intervals, perhaps 10 feet?  Surely there must be a vibration meter of some type that can measure how the suspension system accommodates (or doesn't) this  type of simulated rough road surface.  The bars would be full-lane width, of course.  

The jarring "little bars method" is just one example.  What about undulating surfaces that could be created artificially, almost like moguls on a ski slope (except without the slope)? Just as a car slalom can allow measurement of transient suspension-recovery horizontally, this would allow its measurement vertically.

With the quality of roads decreasing in the UK (and the USA, for that matter), I would think this information would be very revealing for potential buyers.



27 March 2013

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18 May 2012

With all the technology and extensive testing facilities and procedures available it seems a little incongruous to be prodding around the interior with a tape measure. Surely something along the lines of an estate agent's laser measure would give more consistent results?

18 May 2012

Hi "bomb"..

Yeah, my first thought was the same as yours.

But then, in terms of ease-of-use, reliability, and practicality, the old-fashioned tape measure is about as good as it gets for rapid deployment in tight places.  And the laser's readings may be subject to target reflectivity: for example, what would it record for the black, light-absorbing, rug-lined boot (trunk) in the back? (^_^)...



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