How We Score Cars strives to provide shoppers with more than just one of the best car listing websites. We also want to ensure you have what you need to make an informed purchase. Whether you’re in the market for a truck, car, SUV, or minivan, be sure to check out our Top Rated Lists first! Our professional automotive writers have researched and reviewed some of the best vehicles available in order to curate a list for nearly every automotive segment. Read on to see how our writers dynamically rank vehicles using the Expert Score Process.

What Is the Expert Score Process?

The Expert Score Process starts with the individual vehicle review. Our team of automotive experts takes on the task of writing a comprehensive review that outlines everything from trim level expectations, must-know performance specs, aesthetics, design, overall comfort, and changes between each year. Following this initial assessment, a Expert Rating is then given. The Expert Rating is an overall average considering four distinct scoring categories: Powertrain, Interior, Technology, and Value. Each category score is based on a scale from a complete failure at zero all the way up to a perfect ten. Let’s dive into what each of these categories mean, and what the final Expert Rating entails.


The Powertrain score takes into account a lot of what’s happening under the hood. writers look at the vehicle’s performance for horsepower, torque, towing (if applicable), and fuel economy. They also take notice of the options available in terms of engines, transmissions, drivetrains, and any other optional benefits that add to a vehicle’s performance.

While having one of the beefiest engines in a car is great, what makes it even better is when it can handle that power outside of a straight line or within a tight space. That’s why our writers also take into account the driving performance when generating the Powertrain score. How’s the handling? Is the steering precise? How’s the braking? Would this be a good vehicle for off-road? Is driving in a packed parking lot easy? We answer all those questions and relate them with our performance findings to come to the Powertrain score.


The interior of a vehicle is where people spend most of their time, so it makes sense that shoppers want a nice experience inside while on their daily commute, running errands, or going on a road trip. The writers understand this, and made sure that the interior had its own category in our rating process. Our team takes into account the quality of materials, seating comfort, available passenger space, the actual design of the interior space, and the available cargo space. We also include any important interior features or options like ambient lighting or a panoramic sunroof when compiling the Interior score.


While infotainment and speaker systems may add to an interior experience, we bucketed these entertainment features under the Technology score. We take note of the infotainment’s available touchscreen sizes, screen resolutions, speed and capabilities of the software, and how the system compares with some of its competition. We also look at the quality of the base audio offering and the premium audio options available.

Technology isn’t just about the entertainment side of things. writers also take into account the available safety and driver assistance technologies that are built into the vehicle. Items like blind-spot monitoring, semi-autonomous driving, forward collision mitigation, and many other advanced features are all considered when compiling the Technology score.


When considering the value of a vehicle, you may think of what you’re actually getting for the price, the warranty, and any added bonuses from the purchase. Well, that’s exactly what we think too. The writers compare vehicles within their segments and establish a score based on how long the warranty coverage is, what all comes standard at the base trim level, the price for a fully decked out model, and any added manufacturer incentives like multiple complimentary maintenance visits. Knowledge of the current generation’s reliability and recall history also plays a part in producing the Value score.

The Score

The Expert Score is the culmination of each of these four scoring categories. The average of the four scores creates the Score for a vehicle on a scale of zero to ten. This score is taken into account when we create our Top Rated Lists every year and helps place the vehicle into its ranked spot. So, while a vehicle may excel in the Powertrain area, if it isn’t providing standard features or modern technology, it may take a bump overall.