Although car-following behavior is the core component of microscopic traffic simulation, intelligent transportation systems, and advanced driver assistance systems, the adequacy of the existing car-following models for Chinese drivers has not been investigated with real-world data yet. To address this gap, five representative car-following models were calibrated and evaluated for Shanghai drivers, using 2100 urban-expressway car-following periods extracted from the 161,055 km of driving data collected in the Shanghai Naturalistic Driving Study (SH-NDS). The models were calibrated for each of the 42 subject drivers, and their capabilities of predicting the drivers’ car-following behavior were evaluated. The results show that the intelligent driver model (IDM) has good transferability to model traffic situations not presented in calibration, and it performs best among the evaluated models. Compared to the Wiedemann 99 model used by VISSIM®, the IDM is easier to calibrate and demonstrates a better and more stable performance. These advantages justify its suitability for microscopic traffic simulation tools in Shanghai and likely in other regions of China. Additionally, considerable behavioral differences among different drivers were found, which demonstrates a need for archetypes of a variety of drivers to build a traffic mix in simulation. By comparing calibrated and observed values of the IDM parameters, this study found that (1) interpretable calibrated model parameters are linked with corresponding observable parameters in real world, but they are not necessarily numerically equivalent; and (2) parameters that can be measured in reality also need to be calibrated if better trajectory reproducing capability are to be achieved.