They Write About Cars, We Write About Them!
I’m on a mission. I want to get a subscription to a car magazine, but I don’t know which one to get. I asked friends, but got a different answer from each one. So, I decided to just get an issue or two of each and read them. Then, based on what I read and the subscription price, I would decide on one. So you, my faithful readers, will get to benefit from all of my hard reading.
One of the oldest and most revered of the buff books, Motor Trend started in 1949. Known mostly for its Car and Truck of the Year awards, this is probably the most influential North American car magazine. Car companies, desperate for good press on their products, are willing to do whatever it takes to get Motor Trend to like their cars and trucks. I would not be surprised if Angus Mackenzie, Arthur St. Antoine, and Matt Stone were given their choice of booth “professionals” at every Detroit Auto Show or Geneva Auto Salon.
This is the problem.
You see, Motor Trend is bland. It is very functional. They give you the straight scoop. However, there is something missing. There’s no humor, no poking fun at cars, no…soul. Motor Trend is the Toyota of car mags.
Take, for example, the July 2009 edition. This was their big Comparison Test Special. They ran comparisons on the Cadillac CTS-V vs. BMW M5, the Camaro V6 vs. the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, the Ford Fusion vs. Honda Accord, Acura TL vs. Audi’s A4 Quattro, and, the big one, the Audi Q5 vs. Mercedes’ GLK vs. Lexus’ RX350 vs. Volvo’s XC60. The comparisons are very by the book and very fair. They seem to walk a tight rope when talking about the “losers” in the comparison tests. Come on. Let it rip. If you didn’t like something, say so! We, your readers and the ones who pay to subscribe to your magazine, deserve this!
Instead, they write about the Audi Q5 (1st Place), “If you love flogging your sport sedan but want more utility, this one’s for you. From styling to performance, the Q5 is unmatched. The investment is high, but so is the return.” Then give last place to the Mercedes Benz GLK350 and write, “A compact, comfortable four seater with excellent chassis dynamics, that is completely betrayed by indifferent steering. Shame the striking looks don’t match the handling.” Why not write, “The looks and foreplay are excellent, but then it’s just wallowing and waddling like it doesn’t know what it’s doing.”
Oh, right, we don’t want to offend.
It has gotten so bad at Motor Trend that they are no longer car guys. They are politicians. It is no where more apparent than in their Ford F-150 Supercrew Lariat vs. Toyota Tundra Crewmax Limited comparison. They spend the entire article talking about how the F-150 is capable, but the Tundra is fun. Who do they award 1st place to? The F-150. Really? If you find a truck more fun, give it the nod!
Worse yet, they write only 15 paragraphs about their first drive of the new Porsche GT3 and only include 7 pictures, most of them small. They give the same exact treatment to the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe and throw in 2 more pictures. Really? Are you kidding me? You’re going to give a race-prepped Porsche supercar the same treatment you give a plush, overweight, over-priced coupe?
Motor Trend, please stop trying to please the car makers and tell us gearheads what you really think.
News Stand Price: $4.99 US, $5.99 Canada
Subscription Price: $10.00 US, $22.00 Canada
Written Pages/Total Pages: 66/140
Market Focus: General automotive. Motor Trend does not really focus on any one type of car or motorsport.
Readability: C – It’s very well laid out, but I kept falling asleep
Information Value: A – They do pack a lot of information in each issue
Entertainment Value: D – No Soul