When we put together our road-test-based car reviews, Top10Cars uses a unique 10-point criteria, with each given a score out of 10.0. While some of the ratings given are purely our opinion, we try to let the facts do much of the talking for pure accuracy and consistency.
This means many of the ratings are the result of how a car manufacturer has designed the vehicle. If the official fuel consumption is high, in comparison to the specific segment, this will result in a lower score. But, as an example, this wouldn’t be simply our opinion.
Put together by seasoned motoring journalist who have been in the industry for at least five years, we have the best vantage point to assess different vehicles from a first-hand experience, across all vehicle segments. All of our reviews included a road test of at least one week in the given vehicle, unless otherwise stated. Here are the 10 points we focus on:
Interior comfort and storage
This area is all about the passengers. How accommodating is the cabin? Are the seats soft enough to sooth long drives? And how do the materials stack up against the respective competitors?
Infotainment and ergonomics
Does it come with a touch-screen? Is it overly complicated and frustrating to use? This is where we’ll go over the on-board systems with a fine-tooth comb to make sure they are advanced and up to market standards. We also factor in the driving position and button placement and control functionality here.
This is the one area that is simply our opinion. We try to take a very subjective stance on this and factor in things like, who was the designer? How old is the design or is it living up to the current trends? And, not forgetting, does it stand out in the crowd?
Engine and performance
Power isn’t everything but a lack of power can prove frustrating, especially if you’re regularly hauling around a large family or towing. We time all vehicles across the 0-100km/h sprint, using a Racelogic GPS-based data logger, to add some science to the equation. Of course, all of our ratings here need to be taken in relation to the vehicle segment.
Seems pretty straight forward, right? Wrong. Transmission technology these days have come a long way from the old days where you just had a three-speed auto or a four-speed manual. Now, you have continuously variable units, dual-clutch automatics, and even 10-speed autos. How well do they work with the engine, and are they practical and fit their intended purpose? Our scores are the result of these questions.
Handling and steering
Okay, so not all cars are made to rail around corners. But, two vehicles in the same segment can be very different to drive. What’s the nicest-handling ute on the market, for example. If you’re spending all day behind the wheel it’s important you feel comfort and stress-free, and a nice drive can certainly assist with this.
Ride and NVH
Another important area for those who speed long hours behind the wheel. NVH – noise, vibration and harshness – are areas that manufacturers spend a lot of time fine-tuning. We rate cars in this area purely on how compliant they are over varied road surfaces, and how quiet and smooth they drive. Again, in comparison to the specific segment.
Fuel economy and running costs
We all want to keep our plant healthy, and so do most manufacturers. Stringent emissions regulations are getting tighter and tighter which puts more and more pressure on carmakers to ensure their vehicles are as efficient as they can be. Our ratings are primarily based on the official average figures but we also consider the real-world figures we achieved during our tests. Servicing costs and factory warranty are also factored in here. We can’t comment on long-term longevity as it would be unprofessional of us to do so, but we can take in all factory promises.
Like emissions standards, safety standards are being pushed higher and higher. This means car manufacturers are constantly evolving their technologies to ensure their vehicles are safe. Our ratings here are based on the official ANCAP crash test results. Crash results are painstakingly assessed by scientists and engineers at ANCAP, all in a standardised way.
Value for money
Are you getting the most car for the money? Perhaps there’s a better-packaged rival that you need to know about. We score vehicles based on the level of standard features, for the segment, and the initial sticker price for the car.
This is our last words. It’s not rated but we give our final words of advice on whether or not you should consider buying the car, or if there are others worthing checking out.
The overall score is automatically calculated as an average of all individual ratings, with a simple one-word verdict. This verdict is standard across the board and is drawn from the following scorecard:
4.0 or below: Avoid
8.0-8.9: Buy it!
10: The chosen one