Both Consumer Reports for Cars & J.D. Power have an overall score for car ratings. And while it sounds the same, the differentiation comes from how they're derived and what methodology is used, as well as the unique J.D. Power Verified Fair Price reporting. Learn more below.
J.D. Power has cemented a reputation for professionally accumulating and analyzing data in the best interest of consumers. For the automotive field, verifiable & unbiased information of real-world experiences endured by real vehicle owners is gathered through surveying the market from the third month to the third year of vehicle ownership.
The feedback generated from verified vehicle customers is used to segment the car market by price & size to create car ratings. Eventually, from these ratings, we derive the J.D. Power 100-Point Score (an overall rating per model per year) based on the following categories, weighted as indicated:
The 100-Point Score can be converted into four classifications for a high-level summary:
On top of all that, serving consumers with a fuller understanding of car pricing and value, our J.D. Power Verified Fair Price is a dependable indicator that one is not overpaying for the desired vehicle. Using the purchasing information from over 12 million retail transactions each year, we keep close tabs on the average price and the price range paid by the majority of the people. Dealers who qualify will have the J.D. Power Verified Fair Price badge applied! Seeing that badge grants the assurance that the price is close to the average in that region.
With a reputation for delivering concise and reliable information on vehicle quality, safety, and performance, Consumer Reports provides thorough reviews on all types of cars, trucks, and SUVs.
Consumer Reports cars receive ratings based on either feature data or test drive experiences. A combination of road-test performance, reliability, safety, and owner satisfaction gives a comprehensive picture of how a vehicle stacks up. CR calls the ranking an “Overall Score,” and it helps organize all the reviewed vehicles into “best” and “worst” performers.
Consumer Reports cars undergo a road test at the company’s test facility. Each test session records performance metrics on acceleration, braking, emergency handling, fuel economy, safety systems, noise, usability, and ride.
Acceleration tests measure from zero to 60 miles per hour. Braking distances start at 60mph with a full brake applied until the vehicle stops. Testers rate transmission features and shifting quality, as applicable, and judge the agility of the vehicle on a closed course. Other road test measures evaluate turning circle clearance, fuel economy, ride comfort, and cargo volume.
Reliability ratings rely on surveys from Consumer Reports members and outline 17 “trouble areas.” Trouble areas span minor and major problems with the vehicle engine, transmission, drive system, fuel system, electrical system, climate system, suspension, brakes, exhaust, paint, hardware, power equipment, and more. CR also calculates reliability for new automobiles on the market using past statistics for similar models.
Consumer Reports cars receive an user satisfaction rating based on surveys of CR members. An Auto Survey also solicits feedback on comfort, value, and driving experience from people who own the year, make, and model of the vehicle in question.
Safety ratings come from IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) and the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) crash tests, as applicable. Vehicles earn higher ratings if they also feature advanced safety systems like Pedestrian Detection, blind spot warnings, forward collision warning (FCW), and other safety measures.