AutoZine Rating - Introduction




Rules of classification

As AutoZine archive covers nearly all cars in the world, it is uneasy to classify all the cars into different categories. Basically, classification is made according to target buyers and price. It is easy to understand how important target buyers are. For instance, those interested in Lotus Elise are unlikely to love the similarly-priced Chevrolet Camaro because of completely different character, so they won’t be classified into the same category.

Another point to be noted is price. There are price differences among different markets, especially for exclusive high-performance cars. Whenever a price is being considered, it is always based on the retail price at the place where the car is produced, minus taxes. Excessive retail / distribution cost is also taken into consideration because there are a few European countries having very inefficient retail systems. After all, price is not the only important factor to the buyers, so there is up to ± 50% tolerance in some extreme cases.

Magnitude of rating
 
Junk
Poor
Average
Good
Outstanding
.
Rules for rating

Generally speaking, cars are assessed in these areas:

  • Exterior and interior styling
  • Engine and performance
  • Handling and ride quality
  • Comfort, equipment, practicality and safety
  • Build quality and reliability
  • Price and running costs
  • Originality and innovation
In short, nothing special. Different kinds of cars may have different weighting in these areas, say, engine and handling are the most important for sports car. As I am not computer, I don't rate each item and calculate the total marks like Car and Driver or Road & Track. I really doubt if such "objective" calculation would result in the best choices to car enthusiasts. You know, that is the way Consumer Digest used to rate cars.

However, AutoZine always rates cars from enthusiastic driver’s point of view. Like British or French and unlike American, handling is usually regarded as more important than performance. Besides, the meaning of "handling" also differs from American’s view point as cornering g-force. Steering feel, steering attitude, adjustability and precision of controls are seen as most important.



Class
Examples

Mainstream cars:


A-segment mini cars
Smart Fortwo

B-segment superminis
VW Polo

C-segment small family cars
VW Golf

C/D-segment small MPVs
VW Touran

D-segment large family cars
VW Passat

D-segment junior executive cars
BMW 3-series

E-segment executive cars / large cars
BMW 5-series

F-segment luxury cars
BMW 7-series

F-segment ultra-luxury cars
RR Phantom




Performance hatchback / sedans:


A/B-segment hot hatches
FIAT 500 Abarth

C-segment hot hatches / performance cars
VW Golf GTI

D-segment performance family cars level 1
BMW 340i

D-segment performance family cars level 2
BMW M3

E-segment performance executive cars
BMW M5

F-segment performance luxury cars
Mercedes S65




4-Seater Coupes:


Affordable 4-seater coupes
BMW 1er Coupe

Mid-price 4-seater coupes
BMW 4er Coupe

Expensive 4-seater coupes
BMW M4

4-door executive coupes Audi A5 Sportback

4-door luxury coupes Mercedes CLS




Grand Tourers:

GTs Mercedes SL

Super GTs Aston Vanquish

4-seat Luxury GTs Mercedes S coupe




Sports Cars:


Entry-level sports cars
Mazda MX-5

Affordable sports cars
Nissan 370Z

Mid-price sports cars Chevrolet Corvette

Premium sports cars Porsche 911 Carrera

Expensive sports cars
Porsche 911 Turbo

Junior supercars
Ferrari 488GTB

Ultimate supercars
Bugatti Veyron




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