What Car? star ratings explained

  • What do ratings mean?
  • 1-5 scale explained
  • How do we decide them?
Words ByJim Holder

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What Car? is the home of the UK's most thorough new- and used-car tests, as well as a champion of all motoring issues.

Throughout this website you'll find cars and products rated on a one to five-star scale. Here's what the ratings mean:

The WhatCar? Test Ratings



Below par


Here's why What Car?'s expert, impartial advice is so highly regarded:

• Before What Car? writers even step into a car, they research the needs of a typical buyer.

• Readers have told What Car? they want hard data, so writers spend hours poring over facts.

• What Car? staff mystery shop every new car to find out potential discounts - and that means haggling with real dealers.

• What Car? has its own facilities to measure, photograph and assess new and used cars, using sophisticated equipment.

• Performance tests are done at the What Car? Test Track, but the main assessments are done over hundreds of miles on UK roads in conditions motorists will encounter day-in, day-out.

• What Car?'s verdicts are the result of hours of debate among experts - not just one journalist's view.