How Parkers star ratings work

  • We explain how the 10-point Parkers star ratings work
  • Comprehensive car evaluation detailed
  • How we arrive at our star ratings

Parkers Group test

The Parkers star rating system is an impartial, fair, extensive and repeatable evaluation of a car.

It is scored out of a theoretical maximum of five stars, but we use one decimal place for added granularity to help the best cars really shine. We’ve yet to find a car that scores a perfect five.

Our main rating is gleaned from the sum of 10 fractional scores in the following disciplines:

  • Performance
    How we rate the engines and gearboxes available in the range. Points are scored not only for outright excitement, but for smoothness, ease-of-use and the breadth of the line-up
  • Handling
    A blend of cornering performance, low-speed manoeuvrability, braking and towing capacity where relevant
  • Comfort
    Ride quality, noise, seat bolstering and adjustability
  • Behind the wheel
    Cabin finishing and materials, availability and performance of multimedia tech such as touchscreens
  • Running costs
    Fuel economy, private and company car tax, resale values, warranty and servicing packages
  • Emissions
    How cars fare for CO2 output, NOx and particulates
  • Reliability
    Known issues or recalls, prevalent tales of woe and owners’ reviews from our extensive library
  • Equipment
    The kit you get on each trim level, plus a guide to the optional extras on offer
  • Safety
    Euro NCAP crash test scores, evaluation of the safety and driver-assistance systems on offer, information on Isofix child seat mounting points
  • Practicality
    How big the boot and internal storage are, the car’s dimensions, how many seats it has

However, there’s more to our star rating system than simple arithmetic. We realise that cars have talents in areas that are more difficult for our team to measure or quantify, so quite often you’ll find a ‘Parkers Factor’ built into our rating to account for the likes of pleasing design or another feel-good facet. This will always be justified in the Summary that sits alongside the main star rating.

Our team of expert reviewers has over a hundred years of car evaluation experience across many publications to call upon, and we make a concerted effort to ensure ratings we award are verdicts the entire team can get behind. We hold regular meetings to discuss the pros and cons of each car we rate, and while we rarely disagree, this has led to what we sincerely believe are the most comprehensive, reliable car reviews available.

Each and every car review you read goes through the same rigorous editing process, not only in search of errors but also to fact check, hone and improve where necessary.

Where do you test your cars?

Basically, we test cars where you’re likely to drive them. In the main it’s on public highways in the UK, but often we go further afield to attend international launch events to provide you with reviews that are timely as well as content-rich.

On top of that if it’s a car you may like to drive on a racetrack, or one that’s likely to be taken off-roading, we’ll do that too. We want Parkers to be your one-stop shop for anything you need to know about a new or used car. 

The Parkers Verdict

This is a short summary telling you what’s hot or not about any given car, in context with its rivals. It’s something we apply to all reviewing, be it an all-new supercar, a five-car SUV group test or an update to a review that’s been live for years. It’s a verdict you can trust.

Parkers Group test