Product Reviews
Take Action
Back
SIGN THE PETITION

Fight for Fair Finance

Tell the administration and Congress to stand up for the consumer watchdog that protects you from financial fraud and abuse.
Take Action
Why Do We Have Campaigns?
We're fighting to ensure you and your family can get a fair deal in the marketplace, especially on the choices that matter most: health care, privacy, automobiles, food, finances and more. Join our campaigns and together, we'll hold corporations and lawmakers accountable.

Best Safety Performance

Good braking and handling can help you avoid an accident

Last updated: January 25, 2017 01:00 PM

A vehicle with good braking and emergency handling can help you avoid an accident. Typically smaller, sportier vehicles perform well in these tests and larger trucks are slower to maneuver.

Consumer Reports crucial emergency driving tests include an avoidance maneuver and a series of at-the-limit cornering assessments around a handling course-a snaking track loop. The avoidance maneuver is a "path-following test" in which the driver pilots the car down a lane marked off by traffic cones with a quick left-right-left sequence. That simulates swerving to avoid an obstacle in the road, then returning to the original lane to avoid oncoming traffic. The car threads through the course, without throttle or brakes, at ever-higher speeds until it can't get through without hitting any cones. When testing on-limit handling, drivers push the car to and beyond its limits of cornering capabilities to simulate entering a corner too quickly. Test engineers evaluate how controllable, secure, and forgiving-or not-the car is.

Our experts also perform a series of brake tests from 60 mph to zero on wet and dry pavement to measure performance. The test car is rigged with highly accurate GPS based data acquisition device that records precise speeds, stopping times, and distances. We also judge brake-pedal modulation, the "feel" of the pedal under foot during baking actions and how easy it is to slow the car smoothly.

Here are the highs and lows in our dry braking test (from 60 mph) and avoidance maneuver. In the braking test, highest scores go to the shortest stopping distance. In the avoidance maneuver, the higher the speed through the course, the better.

Learn more about how Consumer Reports tests cars.

Avoidance Maneuver

Find Ratings

Sports cars Ratings

View and compare all Sports cars ratings.

E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters! Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Cars News

Cars

Cars Build & Buy Car Buying Service
Save thousands off MSRP with upfront dealer pricing information and a transparent car buying experience.

See your savings

Mobile

Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more