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 to 0 mph on wet and dry pavement to measure performance. The test car is rigged with a 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 braking 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.


Best and Worst Braking

Braking Dodge Challenger
Dodge Challenger

Worst Braking

Make & Model

Stopping Distance, Feet

Toyota Tundra SR5

153

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara

151


Best and Worst Avoidance Maneuver

Cadillac ATS
Cadillac ATS