2019 Ram 1500

The Consumer Reports car ratings scale is based on the state of the art, giving you a key resource for comparing the latest models. Consequently, as vehicles improve, the scale sometimes needs to be adjusted. We recalibrated the scales for electric cars and pickup trucks this week. And in doing so, some current models have seen their road-test score drop.

CR Car Ratings

Modifying our ratings has long been standard practice at CR. “If we didn’t make such adjustments, we would be rating today’s cars based on a ratings scale for yesterday’s vehicles,” says Jake Fisher, director of auto testing at Consumer Reports. “Today’s vehicles are quicker, more efficient, safer, quieter, and much better in many ways than the cars from our youth, or our parents’ youth.”  

The electric car scale has been recalibrated to put a greater emphasis on range. Recent electric cars have demonstrated that a range of 200 miles or more is feasible in a mainstream product. That kind of range means an EV can be a true everyday car and not just a limited-use vehicle.

Consequently, the road-test score for the BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf have been adjusted down, based on their limited range in our tests.

Pickup trucks are evolving from crude workhorses to sophisticated, modern machines that capably balance commuting, family, and commercial needs. We are seeing newfound refinement and improved capabilities in the latest trucks, as exemplified by the Ram 1500 we recently tested.

The Toyota Tundra has the most visible change in this category. We used to recommend the Tundra, but with this ratings adjustment and the pickup’s slight decline in reliability, its Overall Score is now too low to earn a CR recommendation. Simply put, the Tundra has not kept pace with competition and the road-test score reflects it. 

Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model S electric cars