Christian Wardlaw has two decades of experience reviewing new vehicles, with an emphasis on the cars, SUVs, and trucks that people most frequently purchase. He has also served as a consultant for automakers as they develop new vehicles, helping car companies to fine-tune products prior to their debut.
Weather and road conditions permitting, Christian uses the same test loop to evaluate each vehicle. The test loop is located in Southern California, in the northeastern part of metropolitan Los Angeles. It is 69.8 miles in length, with a total elevation change from sea level to 1,925 feet.
There are four sections to the loop:
- 14.3 miles of city/suburban driving
- 18.6 miles of mountain driving
- 11.6 miles of coastal highway driving
- 25.3 miles of freeway driving
Note: For crossover SUVs, a short dirt trail is used during the mountain driving portion of the loop, adding 2/10ths of a mile
Following the test drive, Christian completes a 20-point evaluation form to make notes related to driving impressions, design, quality, comfort, utility, technology, fuel economy, safety, and value. These notes are then compared with the J.D. Power data in order to draw conclusions about whether or not the new vehicle reflects the Voice of the Customer.