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Car Ratings that Matter

August 1st, 2013

car reviewWhen it comes to car ratings, it seems as though everyone wants to share their opinions. When it’s time to purchase an automobile, it can seem like an endless process trying to figure out which car review truly encompasses the information that matters to you as the potential purchaser of that automobile. As you’ve surely found during your research, car ratings vary from website to website. While one car expert may report that a particular vehicle is superior in every way, consumer car reviewers may disagree and vice versa.

Which car ratings should you trust? Which ones truly matter during the purchasing process? Here are our insights on how to determine what car reviews are relevant to your car buying experience:

Know what’s important to you. Before you even open your web browser, determine what features and aspects of a vehicle are actually important for you within a car review. It can easy to let your outlook get clouded once you hear about all of the fancy features an automobile might include. If that’s not something that is originally important to you, try to sift through that information in car ratings to find the information that’s relevant to you. Is the interior space vital for an enjoyable ride? Does the appearance determine if you’ll like a car more? Figure all of that out and then you’ll have an easier time sorting through the car ratings.

Get a better understanding of safety ratings. For many car buyers, a vehicle’s safety rating is the first thing they notice during the buying process. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives a safety car rating before each vehicle can be put on the market, examining each in the areas of front and side impact craft tests and rollover tests. Unfortunately, the NHTSA does not report on rear-end collisions or roof-strength tests. However, another quality source is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety – this organization tests rear-end collisions and roof-strength tests in its car ratings. Don’t limit your scope to these two sources and understand that no matter how good a car’s safety rating is, it has been proven in various studies that larger vehicles, such as SUVs, remain the safest.

Recognize how each format of car ranking is different. Though many websites will present car ratings in a similar format, they are not all constructed in the same way. Thus, they should not be read and valued in the same way. Again, this is largely dependent on your person style and whose opinion is important to you for a car ranking. However, there are some fundamental differences in some of the leading Internet voices on car ratings.  Do you want to hear from the “car experts” or everyday consumers? Do you know who has written each car review?

Let’s review just a few of key car ratings contributors throughout the web:

Motor Trend: The website will even tell you that “everyone has an opinion on every new car that comes out,” but according to them – they’re the only ones that truly matter. Car reviews are submitted by “industry experts,” as the website calls them. Each expert is given the opportunity to test drive the vehicle before constructing the car review. And while the articles can be quite blunt at times and even humorous to read the tone of the car review, it’s important to note that each car review is completed by a single individual with his or her personal insights.

Kelley Blue Book: This website offers both expert car reviews as well as consumer reviews. The expert car reviews are completed by automotive journalists, with full-time Kelley Blue Book staffers and freelance contributors writing them; each article is written by a single individual sharing his or her insights on that particular vehicle. Like many websites that include consumer reviews, the car reviewsconsumer car reviews are submitted by users. Much controversy has discussed about overall idea of allowing everyday folks to submit their thoughts on products and services to sites like this, because this approach allows individuals to flood ratings boards with duplicates of their remarks and sway the overall product rating. Though we cannot say that this is the case on this particular website, it is something to be aware of.

U.S. News: The car ratings on this website are a combination of “credible reviews… representing what professional critics says about [each car],” as stated on their website. Information from major newspapers, automotive websites and magazines is assembled and displayed in each car rating.

True Consumer Reviews: As you may know, our car ratings are created from information gathered from 100 anonymous test drivers who share their insights on each automobile. Car ratings given by individuals are then summarized into clear, meaningful car reviews.

If you are in the market for a new automobile, be sure you know exactly who wrote the information in the car ratings you’re reading. Each buyer will be different in what is important to them, so be sure to read reviews carefully and understand the pros and cons to your automobile selection. A great place to start it by checking out our comparison tool to locate car reviews to help your buying decision.