Car manufacturers have always been keen to tell us how fast a car will accelerate – its 0-60mph time, for example – but they have never been so keen on telling us how fast it will stop.
Yet good brakes are far more useful than great acceleration. Pretty much all modern cars are fast enough for general motoring, but you would be surprised at the difference in braking performance offered by some current models. A recent group test by Which? Car found some surprising differences.
In the supermini category, the Volkswagen Polo 1.2 came out on top with a stopping distance of just 34.16m – more than 8m less than the worst supermini performer, the Suzuki Alto 1.0: 42.52m.
The worst performing car in the test was an MPV – the Chrysler Grand Voyager at 43.49m. Other poor performers were the Mercedes A-class (bottom of the medium cars category at 41.61m) and the Land Rover Freelander (bottom of the 4×4 category at 42.04m).
Cars were tested with two adults and correct tyre pressures, and a top-quality GPS system was used to time how long it took the cars to come to a halt in an emergency stop.
Which? found similar differences in all categories of car – to find out more, check out the full version of the report on the Which? Car website or pick up a copy of the current issue of Which? Car from your local newsagent (look for an article called Brake Point).