Autocar - - NEW CAR PRICES -

A road test in any other magazine might well be a short, sub­jec­tive sum­mary of a new car pro­duced un­der al­most any cir­cum­stances, but the Au­to­car road test is dif­fer­ent. Spe­cific, rig­or­ous and de­tailed, it’s the clos­est ex­am­i­na­tion we can give of any new model. It ap­pears over at least eight pages and is close to 50 man-hours in the mak­ing ev­ery week.

Most of what the road test process en­tails is de­signed to be strictly re­peat­able and fair. We bench­mark stand­ing-start and in-gear ac­cel­er­a­tion at a pur­pose-built test fa­cil­ity ev­ery week. We carry out both sub­jec­tive and ob­jec­tive han­dling tests on both road and track, on the lat­ter up to and be­yond the limit of grip, so as to fully as­sess sta­bil­ity, driv­abil­ity and limit han­dling ap­peal. And while bench­mark lap times are some­times taken, they’re never an end in them­selves.

We record and pub­lish stop­ping dis­tances, too, as well as tak­ing cabin noise mea­sure­ments at var­i­ous cruis­ing speeds and bench­mark­ing ei­ther in­di­cated or brim-to-brim fuel econ­omy. We in­de­pen­dently mea­sure leg room, head room, boot space and cer­tain key ex­te­rior ve­hi­cle di­men­sions, and we also weigh ev­ery car we test.

Just as ev­ery new car is dif­fer­ent, how­ever, the road test has de­vel­oped to be ver­sa­tile enough, week by week, so as to best as­sess and reflect the suit­abil­ity of each test sub­ject to its in­tended pur­pose. It now in­cludes mod­u­lar sec­tions de­scrib­ing in de­tail the limit han­dling of a new car, or its semi-au­ton­o­mous as­sisted driv­ing tech­nolo­gies or its off-road ca­pa­bil­ity.

All of this goes to bringing you the most thor­ough, rel­e­vant and fair test of a new car we can pro­duce. The scores re­pro­duced here are the ones we gave the cars at the time so they don’t nec­es­sar­ily rep­re­sent what those same cars might score to­day were they re­judged us­ing cur­rent class stan­dards. But you can dig deeper into their at­tributes by us­ing the magazine pub­li­ca­tion dates listed here to look up an old test in your own col­lec­tion or on dig­i­tal plat­forms such as Readly and Ex­act Edi­tions, or you can or­der a back is­sue by phon­ing 0344 848 8816.

In that vein, it only re­mains to wish you many happy hours lost in the many num­bers of our road test ar­chive and to thank you for read­ing.

Matt Saun­ders, road test edi­tor

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