Frisky Dingo

Who Is the Most Legitimate Automotive Source?

13 posts in this topic

Frisky Dingo    612

The 'OTY' thread got me to thinking about this.

 

In terms of credibility, lack of bias, testing procedures, judging criteria, etc, etc, who do you feel is the best automotive review source out there? A big name like MT or C&D? Something more specialized like Top Gear or EVO? Something smaller like Autoblog, TTAC, Everyday Driver? And what is your reasoning behind your choice?

 

Keep in mind I am limiting this to testers/reviewers, not sources for reliability, quality, etc.

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You are going to kill me but I am going to say none of the above. I know several people who work at Honda R and D and on the line here in Ohio, and also several people that work in the industry.

I generally try to get a wide variety of opinions of people who are directly involved with the vehicles themselves.

I like Grassroots motorsports as a car magazine, pretty much the only car mag I read that deals with modern stuff.

98 percent of automotive writing is really sophomoric IMHO.  Also, writers are too invested in their own biases and not what the market really wants. Case in point-Acura TLX.....which I am considering to replace the Jetta.

Mainstream car mags and reviewers decried the lack of the double wishbone suspension in the changeover from the TSX to the TLX. Car and driver rated the TLX as kind of blah.....

However, online reviewers and actual sources here in Ohio would suggest a marketing need to differentiate the TLX from the accord, which was the real reason behind the change to the different chassis tuning.

Market research and actual feedback from actual customers would indicate the change is generally positive. But that is not something you would get from a mainstream auto publication.

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Stew    341
8 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

You are going to kill me but I am going to say none of the above. I know several people who work at Honda R and D and on the line here in Ohio, and also several people that work in the industry.

I generally try to get a wide variety of opinions of people who are directly involved with the vehicles themselves.

I like Grassroots motorsports as a car magazine, pretty much the only car mag I read that deals with modern stuff.

98 percent of automotive writing is really sophomoric IMHO.  Also, writers are too invested in their own biases and not what the market really wants. Case in point-Acura TLX.....which I am considering to replace the Jetta.

Mainstream car mags and reviewers decried the lack of the double wishbone suspension in the changeover from the TSX to the TLX. Car and driver rated the TLX as kind of blah.....

However, online reviewers and actual sources here in Ohio would suggest a marketing need to differentiate the TLX from the accord, which was the real reason behind the change to the different chassis tuning.

Market research and actual feedback from actual customers would indicate the change is generally positive. But that is not something you would get from a mainstream auto publication.

This is my thoughts to a tee.  Too many times I drive a vehicle that the journalists have crapped on or given great praise just to find the opposite to be true.  I will say here seems to be a bit less biased than most.

Edited by Stew

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I also try to experience products firsthand and develop my own opinion before I invest too much thought in what automotive publications have to say.

Case in point would be the chassis tuning on the Ford Mustang Ecoboost, RS, ST Focus, ST Fiesta.

Love, love, love the Ecoboost Mustang, have not driven an RS but I have seen them raced and autocrossed, have driven an ST multiple times, and have some experience with the Fiesta ST.

Only one I don't like of the above is the Focus ST when you push it really hard. I was able to talk to actual people involved at Honda where it was sued as a bench mark against the upcoming SI and also tested against the GTI. 

GTI and upcoming SI are much better against the stop watch in various turns in the road courses the cars were tested in. This would dovetail with my experience that the ST Focus is a hand full on an autocross course or pushed hard on the street. On the other hand, I love the Focus St on the highway...

So in other words...I guess this is a long winded response to say i really distrust most professional pundits in automotive journalism.

4 minutes ago, Stew said:

This is my thoughts to a tee.  Too many times I drive a vehicle that the journalists have crapped on or given great praise just to find the opposite to be true. 

Exactly.  And we all use cars differently.

Most famous/worst case of all of this was when automotive journalists told people to get the Gymkhana suspension under C4 Corvettes in the 1980's.  A ton of cars were ordered so equipped and people hated, hated, hated them in real life.

Top gear actually blew one up from a helicopter and cursed it for being rough riding....

On the other hand, the 1LE Camaro/Firebird cars from the 3rd/4th gen from GM and the previous generation Mustangs with the V6 and the performance suspension package were an amazingly nice combo.  Especially the Mustang. Were my wife more open to a Mustang, I might be tempted to look at used car lots for a used previous gen Mustang with the V6 and performance suspension package.

Edited by A Horse With No Name

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Frisky Dingo    612

I think out of the big 3- MT, C&D, R&T, I like C&D the most. I feel like their rating system is the best, I love their test notes, and I think they have a pretty balanced collection of tests. Their writing is usually pretty good. I like their cliff notes on the vehicles they test. LL is always a great read. I like the 10 Best system better than a 'OTY' one. 

Going out of the box a bit, I love EVO. Their writers are just ace, and the cars they test and the settings are just to die for. They are what I want to read/watch about the cars I will probably never experience. The shootouts they put together are just insane in the best way possible.

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ykX    95

I agree, you can't just go by the magazines, and indeed it happened that I drove a car that had good reviews and was disappointed.

Nevertheless, most people have limited access to cars and knowledgeable sources so car magazines are pretty good source of information IMO.

Personally, I prefer MT, I feel that they are trying to be more balanced and fair compared to many other publications.  I feel that CD comes across as more opinionated.   Also, MT has Randy Pobst  which is great and I think they make great videos.

 

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42 minutes ago, Frisky Dingo said:

I think out of the big 3- MT, C&D, R&T, I like C&D the most. I feel like their rating system is the best, I love their test notes, and I think they have a pretty balanced collection of tests. Their writing is usually pretty good. I like their cliff notes on the vehicles they test. LL is always a great read. I like the 10 Best system better than a 'OTY' one. 

Going out of the box a bit, I love EVO. Their writers are just ace, and the cars they test and the settings are just to die for. They are what I want to read/watch about the cars I will probably never experience. The shootouts they put together are just insane in the best way possible.

I do like EVO, but would prefer R and T over C and D.

12 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

I prefer @Drew Dowdell and @William Maley myself...  If I have to pick outside of C&G, then I'd go with Aaron Bragman at Cars.com and Zac Estrada who is an independent for multple publications (He did the Continental article we were arguing about)

Thanks for the Aaron Bragman link...I will have to check him out...

And yes, i find lots of good info here at C and G also.

19 minutes ago, ykX said:

I agree, you can't just go by the magazines, and indeed it happened that I drove a car that had good reviews and was disappointed.

 

Nevertheless, most people have limited access to cars and knowledgeable sources so car magazines are pretty good source of information IMO.

 

Personally, I prefer MT, I feel that they are trying to be more balanced and fair compared to many other publications.  I feel that CD comes across as more opinionated.   Also, MT has Randy Pobst  which is great and I think they make great videos.

 

 

 

My bias against MT is that I do not think they are often very enthusiast oriented. Just my two cents.

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William Maley    394
1 hour ago, Drew Dowdell said:

I prefer @Drew Dowdell and @William Maley myself...  If I have to pick outside of C&G, then I'd go with Aaron Bragman at Cars.com and Zac Estrada who is an independent for multple publications (He did the Continental article we were arguing about)

Man, I'm not sure I would call myself a legitimate automotive source. :P

51 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

My bias against MT is that I do not think they are often very enthusiast oriented. Just my two cents.

 

 

37 minutes ago, Frisky Dingo said:

MT's criteria for their tests is too inconsistent and varies too much from individual to individual.

 

I think you can say either of these complaints about any automotive publication. Every writer is going to have different opinions and thoughts about a certain vehicle because we all have different experiences, thoughts, biases, etc that influences the overall review. My issue with Motor Trend is I think is they try to go for shock and awe, causing a number of arguments to sprout up - see every OTY award.

My problem with reviewing vehicles is trying to keep consumer and enthusiast opinions separate when needed. I not going to fully knock a sports cars because it has a small trunk, that isn't why you buy one. Or say that a minivan isn't great because it doesn't handle on rails - again missing the point. I still will fall into this trap from time to time, but it isn't as much as I used to.

 

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Frisky Dingo    612
13 minutes ago, William Maley said:

Man, I'm not sure I would call myself a legitimate automotive source. :P

 

I think you can say either of these complaints about any automotive publication. Every writer is going to have different opinions and thoughts about a certain vehicle because we all have different experiences, thoughts, biases, etc that influences the overall review. My issue with Motor Trend is I think is they try to go for shock and awe, causing a number of arguments to sprout up - see every OTY award.

My problem with reviewing vehicles is trying to keep consumer and enthusiast opinions separate when needed. I not going to fully knock a sports cars because it has a small trunk, that isn't why you buy one. Or say that a minivan isn't great because it doesn't handle on rails - again missing the point. I still will fall into this trap from time to time, but it isn't as much as I used to.

 

 

That's why I firmly believe in judging a vehicle based on how well it fulfills it's intended purpose. I won't tout a family sedan as being superior to another just because it's quicker or handles better.

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9 minutes ago, Frisky Dingo said:

 

That's why I firmly believe in judging a vehicle based on how well it fulfills it's intended purpose. I won't tout a family sedan as being superior to another just because it's quicker or handles better.

Actually in the end the market is a pretty fair determination.

The Miata is still around 25 years plus alter while a whole bunch of competitors such as the Civic Del Sol have gone the way of the dodo bird.

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