If you’re reading this, you’re probably a car enthusiast, and as a car enthusiast, you most likely read car reviews. You may have noticed that over the years, a trend has come about in that car reviewers are getting nit-picky.
“Oh the infotainment system in the Ford Fiesta isn’t any good! It doesn’t sync with my blue tooth easily, I have to go through four, count them FOUR Menus just to sync it!”
You read such reviews from a hypothetical car reviewer, and you think to yourself, “Ugh, I don’t think we will be buying that Fiesta after all.”
Well don’t be so quick to judge, and don’t go too far the other way either.
“Well its automotive magazine’s 2016 light truck of the year, so it must blow the other trucks out of the water!”
Well no, none of that matters really.
“WHAT!? Madness! Blasphemy! I can’t believe you would say that! Don’t you know automotive journalists are the sole source of my enjoyment in my precious free time, or the time I should be working but am slacking off rather, or poop time, you know my time is precious (is what I mean).”
Well, I too am a man who loves to read a good article on a forthcoming vehicle, but as someone who is now “kind of” in the automotive world, I’ve started to notice some things.
There is a big Woolly Mammoth in the room, and no one in the automotive world wants to talk about it. No auto manufacturer makes a bad car anymore. This truth is actually a big problem for automotive journalists. Gone are the days of AMC, putting out lay-ups for ridicule. No more pintos, no more Saturn, no more easy targets (I personally loved the Saturn brand but I had no earthly reason, to). Even Smart the last bastion of shitty cars has stepped up their game (I would love to take home for a proper review, Smart, if you’re reading this).
So in a world of “good” cars, what are we to do as a reviewer, with the lack of bad eggs in the bunch? Well, the recent trend to nit-pick every little detail of cars ruins car reviews for me. I don’t want to read the automotive equivalent of a political take down ad because it’s boring and I just feel icky at the end.
Now, some of the journalists that I like, approach the review in a different manor, elaborating on how it “feels” to drive or worse, they just punch me in the face with so much data that I go cross-eyed. None of this really tells me anything about how owning one of these cars will be. I get that driving a BMW will “feel” better than driving a Chevy Sonic, and of course it will be faster, but I haven’t learned anything! I may enjoy the read but nothing has been contributed to my knowledge base.
So Ike, you’re so smart, tell us, how should we write about cars?
Well background and host is key. If I know why for instance Ford decided to go with an independent rear, I understand the car a little better. History and heritage play a big role in cars these days, and if you’re not a huge Fiat nerd, some of that may be lost on you. Once you understand where manufacturer is coming from, it’s a lot easier to see if they hit the mark or missed it.
Go ahead and tell us how it made you feel, but know that I still care about data, how the car drives and its road mannerisms. But if you’re getting out of a car that’s slow, with bad road manners, and yet you’re still smiling, that does tell me MUCH more than any stat could. If a fast, nimble vehicle doesn’t make you want to go around another time, or you just don’t love it for any reason, tell us- and why.
I don’t care how hard is the infotainment system is, or about the “somewhat disappointing” stitching on the seats; does the car do what you want it to do? Is it lying about what it is? I hate driving a car, and realizing that it wasn’t quite what I thought it was. SUVs that don’t work as people haulers, that don’t float like clouds. Small cars that don’t get good gas mileage. How does the car treat you an hour into a trip? Do the seats progressively become uncomfortable? Or does the vehicle just do something that it shouldn’t do (Like rallying a eco-boost Mustang).
I know that it’s a brave new world, and it’s easier to write bad things in order to get good ratings from your readers / viewers. But please, put more thought into the car rather than simply blasting small details way out of proportion.
Thanks for reading my article, nit-picking people who nit-pick cars.
Ike is co-host of the Untitled Car Show ( untitledcarshow.podomatic.com ) he has owned 2 Dodge Challengers; a Volvo C30, a V70XC, a V70R, 740; and a Saturn Ion . He is a new father and loves driving and autocrossing. He can jerry rig with the best of them, and he wrote his bio in third person. He also has 2 dogs, 2 cats and is a crazy person some say!
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