Welcome to a new series: the TFL Road Test. This series is all about measuring real, objective numbers on the everyday cars that we all buy and drive. The TFL road test is made up of four categories based on objective performance benchmarks, each worth a total of 25 points.
All four tests — acceleration, braking, turning circle, and road noise, are meant to test the every-day usability of these vehicles. This article explains the reasoning behind our measurements. However, it also acts as a running leaderboard where you can see every car we have tested and its official score for the TFL Road Test.
We intentionally set the performance benchmarks at a relatively high level intentionally. Otherwise, every car would get a perfect score. Only the highest-performing vehicles should achieve full points in each category.
The first test is a very simple 0-60 acceleration run. Here, we do four runs 0-60 and take the average time for our scoring. We do our own testing to find the best way to launch each vehicle. Generally speaking, naturally aspirated cars prefer not to be brake torqued, while turbos benefit from the added boost. We generate the score for this test based on a performance benchmark. Throughout the years, we have tested many cars here at a mile above sea-level.
From our experience, anything that can get to highway speed in under 5 seconds is flat-out fast. As such, a 5-second time is necessary to obtain the perfect score of 25 points. From there, we subtract 2 points for every 1/2 second you are over 5 seconds. This means a car with a time of 11.5 seconds or slower will receive zero points.
The next test is a braking performance test from 60 MPH down to zero. Here we do three runs and take the average distance in feet to calculate our score. The benchmark for this test is 100 feet, as anything that can stop in less distance than that has some serious stopping power. Here, you lose two points for every five feet over 100 feet. So, a distance of 160 feet or worse gets a score of zero points.
Our third test is a turning circle test. This test is fairly simple. We start with a cone placed at the center point of the passenger side front wheel. Then, we crank the wheel to full left lock and drive until we are 90 degrees from the starting point. We place another cone after our 90-degree turn and repeat this two more times until we have placed four cones.
To make sure we did a complete circle, we continue until the front passenger side wheel ends up in its exact starting place. Then, we measure the distance between the two cross points and find the average distance to calculate our turning circle. This is a ‘curb to curb’ measurement, giving you an idea of the amount of space necessary to complete a U-turn. Our benchmark here is 35 feet, with a car losing two points for every foot over 35. To get a zero, a car will have a turning circle of 47 feet.
Last but not least, road noise. Here, we get the car up to 60 MPH on the same stretch of highway. Then, we shut up and use a decibel meter to calculate the peak interior volume. Based on prior testing, the most luxurious, quietest cars usually end up around 60 dB on this test. So, we have set 60 dB as our benchmark. Anything quieter deserves the full 25 points. We subtract two points for every decibel over. To score zero, a car must have the interior volume of 72 dB.
With all of these tests, we may have to do some rounding once we get to the scoring portion. We round our measurements to the nearest scorable number in these instances. For the 0-60 test, we round to the nearest 1/2 second. For all the other tests, we round to the nearest whole number.
Here is the leaderboard ranked in order of high score (Each vehicle name includes a hyperlink to the video where you can watch the test itself):
|Vehicle||0-60 Time (sec)||0-60 Score||60-0 Distance (feet)||60-0 Score||Turning Circle Distance (feet)||Turning Circle Score||Peak dB (dB)||Road Noise Score||Overall|
|2019 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport GT||10.82||1||125.2||15||35.63||23||67.8||9||48|
We’re just starting this new series, and may end up tweaking our tests over time. We would love to hear your feedback and suggestions on how to improve the testing methods and scoring. Please drop us a comment and tell us what you think down below!
Stay tuned to TFLcar.com for the latest news, views & real-world reviews. We plan to do this test with every new car we get in the office, so be sure to let us know what cars you want to see tested!