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What Makes Edmunds ‘Vehicle Testing and Rankings so Reliable?

Reviewing cars requires more subjectivity and emotion, and that's why websites like Edmunds use a rigorous testing and ranking system to compare vehicles in the same way, ensuring that reviews and ratings are level across the board and each car is rated fairly and equally based on the exact same criteria, like roads and driving conditions.

One of the hardest things as a consumer is to find a reputable and reliable source for reviews. This also means finding reviewers that have a set system for ranking cars that is easy to follow and explain, at least until you narrow down what cars are worth your time, energy, and sometimes even frustration in test driving. So what is it about websites like Edmunds that make us feel confident in their car reviews?

A set system for testing and reviewing cars

When it comes to testing and reviewing cars, the only way to be sure of what driving a car is actually like is to get behind the wheel. Of course, different models, and even different types of cars feel different depending on road conditions, locations, and other driving factors. That’s why Edmunds has set driving tests and experiments that allow them to make more accurate, reliable reviews about each vehicle.

Of course, depending on the type of vehicle, some various additional tests can be done, like more aggressive driving courses for sports cars or more challenging obstacles for off-road oriented vehicles. Still, when this is done, it is done on a level playing field between all of the cars within each category.

A white Audi A4 Allroad Quattro
An Audi A4 allroad quattro | VCG, Getty Images

For Edmunds, each vehicle is tested on a private track, evaluated on a 120-mile real road loop to test different aspects of the car. Each vehicle is then given a rating on 30 different criteria that span 5 categories that consumers look at to create a scoring system that is easy to follow and understand.

Ranking cars overall

Edmunds and Consumer Reports vary slightly in their ranking and scoring methods, but the overall concept is the same. In order to keep rankings of vehicles fair and honest, vehicles are compared directly to their competitors for the same category, and more importantly, the same price point.

The allows us to fairly see the differences between cars of the same price range, rather than trying to compare vehicles that aren’t genuine competition for each other because they are so far apart in price.

How to rate subjective opinions

Of course, there are easy topics of a car to focus on that can be backed by statistics and easily compared to other vehicles. That can include figures such as fuel economy, horsepower, towing capacity, and even cubic feet of cargo space. But, there are some aspects of vehicles which can be more subject, such as how much interior space a car how the car looks.

As vehicle reviewers, we have to take into account how different drivers and passengers may feel behind the wheel, and make a generalized assessment on more subjective things like comfort.

Because of this, automotive reviewers must remain as subjective as possible while still allowing for personal emotion to give a genuine viewpoint on the vehicle that can express to buyers how they genuinely rate the car, and luckily for us, websites like Edmunds do that quite well.


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