By on June 30, 2009

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46 Comments on “Car and Driver Road Test Flow Chart...”

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    What about British makes? Lotus?

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    John Holt

    See, now this is a logical explanation far more acceptable than the “gotta have it” factor. Nice work Frank!

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    I could have sworn last time hybrid cars were tested, the Ford Fusion Hybrid was a surprise winner.

    By the way, when is TTAC going to test one?


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    I always knew there was a reason I didn’t subscribe to that magazine…

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    No wonder Jaguar and Volvo can’t break into these comparos. They don’t even exist in the world of Car & Driver.

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    hahahahahahahahahahaha LOL

    Toyota should be besides BMW on the end result…

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    Remember, Ann Arbor isn’t that far from the place that made “art to part” famous. Besides, I don’t think it’s quite that simple. You also have to factor in ad revenues and the likelihood of an invite to the next junket in an exotic place.

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    Car and Driver is really bad with its BMW worship, but Edmunds is giving them a major run for their money lately.

    Aside from long-term testing the entire BMW lineup, back in March the associate editor over at Edmunds: Inside Line wrote the most gushing BMW-can-do-no-wrong piece that I’ve ever read: BMW: Autodom’s Star Pupil. Even a BMW press release isn’t that boastful.

    It’s pretty bad when Roundel is third place in published BMW chest-pounding.

  • avatar
    instant rebate

    Whoever came up with this flow-chart is really full of it! What a joke!

  • avatar
    instant rebate

    Where’s the Corvette?

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    Sorry folks… RF got carried away and published it before I was finished. Corrected copy posted.

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer


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    Nice work!

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    Truer charts have never been flowed!

    IA certification for you!

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    From an enthusiast’s perspective, which I believe C&D are geared towards, the chart seems pretty accurate.

    For practical drivers, simply switch the Asians with the Germans and call it good.

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    Funny. Although I did enjoy some aspects of the rag, mainly Csaba Csere (gone) and Patrick Bedard (leaving?), until recently. Now, with David E. Davis back, I really don’t see a renewal in my future. I don’t know that I think any auto mag is 100% fair and unbiased, but I agree that CD’s pandering to BMW does border on excessive on occasion.

  • avatar

    Not that I disagree with the chart, but wouldn’t it be a lot easier to make a simple 2-line chart:

    BMW = winner
    Everyone else = randomly placed

    I still like C&D & R&T. The internets will never replace printed pictures and something I can easily read on the can. It makes me sad to see the car mags become half floor mat and wheel ads.

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    Where are the CR detractors now…

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    Actually, that flow chart seems strangely accurate…

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    Funny, but true…

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    C&D’s comparison tests degenerated into self parody long ago. They really need to consider doing away with them entirely. And is it really necessary for the BMW 3 Series to win the pick up truck comparison test?

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    I’m with Slare, it could greatly simplified as

    BMW > everything else.

    C&D pushed me over the cliff, then stomped on my battered remains when it went M3 > GT-R

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    I would like for Frank to come up with a similar chart for Motortrend. The magazine who had the nerves to declare the Toyota Camry “car of the year” (forgot which year, 2006?).

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    The latest C/D: Honda Insight over Toyota Prius (talk about sailing against the wind); Audi over BMW SUV (who really cares, but at least the BMW didn’t “automatically” win); Porsche over BMW roadster (not really an unexpected coup, but, again, the Bimmer was odd man out). Maybe things are changing.

    On the other hand, if one was allowed to choose between, say, a BMW M3 or a “comparable” car from another maker, and if price was not a factor, I’m guessing most people would take the 3. So I’m not surprised when BMW comes out on top, most of the time.

    The latest issue (July) seems more substantial than the previous offerings. This could portend good things, or it could just be the result of Csere leaving, and no one taking charge for a while. I’d like to see C/D return to its glory days, but in this economy, who can say if the money is there?

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    I would like for Frank to come up with a similar chart for Motortrend. The magazine who had the nerves to declare the Toyota Camry “car of the year” (forgot which year, 2006?).

    For what… their COTY selection process, or for their comparison test ratings?

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    BMW M3 Sedan
    “Practical and blindingly fast, this is quite possibly the best car in the world.”

    Oh, okay.

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    Frank: for their COTY selection process.

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    Yep, that looks like the skeleton of a Car and Driver mag to me. Print it in a different font and you can call it MT, too.

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    One small detail… when a BMW is not present, Honda always wins. It just doesn’t matter. Hodna could buy used 2002 Azteks put an “H” on them and it would win the comparo.

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    It’s even worse for Consumer Reports. Great work.

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    John Horner

    Brilliant, now C&D can lay off another 80% of the staff!

    Consumer Reports is not afflicted by the same disease. Their recent report on the new Honda Insight, for example, slams the vehicle pretty hard. CR has been calling out Toyota for reliability slips in recent years. CR dings GM for making some great vehicles (the Chevy Avalanche has been a CR recommended pickup for years) while also making some real junk (Aveo!). CR slammed Chrsyler for making the worse overall lineup on the market, which Chrysler deserved.

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    The main reason I cancelled my subscription about 5 years ago was I could nail with 100% accuracy the outcome of “scientifically accurate” and “editorially fair” comparisons of 8 or 10 cars

    When I did this three times in a row I knew it was time to read something else while I sat on the crapper.

    To this day I can not understand how this rag carries as much weight in the automotive world as they do.

  • avatar

    Re: Flow Chart.

    Yup, nailed it.

    Next !

    Oh yes, to learn the flaws of any vehicle, wait until the “new and improved” model comes out. Suddenly the rough engine (4 cyl C Class) or the crappy interior (vette) or the wonky shifter (too many to list) are mentioned.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Apparently, this flow chart wasn’t in use back in ’71, based on the outcome of the six-car CC comparison test. Stay tuned!

  • avatar

    @Slare: “The internets will never replace printed pictures and something I can easily read on the can.”

    Aw, hell…isn’t that what a laptop is for?!?

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    When I was in my teens I had a subscription to car-and-driver. I canceled it due to their constant bimmer-blowing. Equally as annoying was their assertion that literally EVERY car made should have rear-wheel drive and a manual transmission. I don’t need to hear at the end of an epic 5 minivan comparo, how the Town & Country would have blown away the competition if it had only had a six-speed, and “right-wheel-drive.”
    CD: “…but really folks we’d be saving our money for a 540i sport wagon” – thnx guys, brilliant.

  • avatar

    What a funny chart!

    Slare: “The internets will never replace printed pictures and something I can easily read on the can.”

    BuzzDog responded:

    Aw, hell…isn’t that what a laptop is for?!?

    No! That’s what an iPhone is for!

    You see, you have to set a laptop down when “doing the paperwork”; some jonnies are notoriously filthy. An iPhone (or any PDA phone, for that matter) can just go back into its holster.

  • avatar

    speedlaw :

    …to learn the flaws of any vehicle, wait until the “new and improved” model comes out. Suddenly the rough engine (4 cyl C Class) or the crappy interior (vette) or the wonky shifter (too many to list) are mentioned.

    I have noticed this too. Not just with cars, but also with computers and components, software, and sports gear.

    This year’s best motherboard will suddenly develop a problem with overheating or difficult graphic card installation/removal; but of course we won’t learn of this until NEXT YEAR after the new models come out!

  • avatar

    The only reason that the Audi Q5 managed to beat the X3 is because: 1. It’s ancient and about to be replaced, and 2. It’s TERRIBLE. The X3 is by far the worst vehicle BMW makes. When the Q5 faces off against its replacement a few years from now, the BMW will win. That’s pretty much a guarantee in C&D.

    When C&D says things like “all other automakers should just give up and start building M3s” you know something is very, VERY wrong. Should all other automakers just give up and use BMW M brakes that are good for about one lap? Oh right, C&D never mentions that part.

  • avatar

    That comparison test burned me to no end also.

    It’s a known fact that BMW has some very serious quality issues and many of them would require flatbedding it to the nearest (overpriced to no end if paid service/warranty has ended) BMW service center so yet “another part from Germany” can arrive. Yes, that’s easy to ignore when you have a rack of keys to choose from but for the people actually making the payments and having to use to commute, that’s a deal-breaker.

    Any fair review would have never inserted the whole “everyone should build an M3.” comment. The M3 might be a well-rounded vehicle for everyday use, but that test wasn’t using that as the goal. If they were testing the best performance vehicle of those three, the GT-R is the better choice even if it isn’t as polished as the 911 or M3.

    And all I can say is that I hope Nissan scraps the press fleet GT-R’s…or at least replaces their entire drivelines since I’m betting those fleet vehicles have been beat up to within an inch of their lives!

  • avatar

    Hahahaha, I’m just laughing at how many people only read their car mags (which are usually about $10 for an entire year, with a free year added automatically…making them too cheap not to continue to get) on the can.

    Add another one to the list. Shows up in mailbox, I gotta dirt bad, magazine finished 15 minutes later.

  • avatar

    One small detail… when a BMW is not present, Honda always wins. It just doesn’t matter. Honda could buy used 2002 Azteks put an “H” on them and it would win the comparo.

    Finally someone who has been paying attention. When you pick a Pilot over a CX9 just because its more “truck like” it makes me crazy. All other periodicals have called Honda out lately for their styling both exterior and interior as well as the reduced overall quality of the interior plastics as well. When you make a car that slower,worst gas mileage,handles and brakes worse and has less overall refinement that its predecessors, I call it a Chrysler they at CandD call it a Honda and first place finisher. OK look I am not saying Honda’s are Chrysler by any stretch of the imagination just making parallels.

  • avatar

    If I recall correctly, C&D has always had a pretty big hard on for the Chrysler minivans. Granted, they do probably fawn over the Toyota and Honda ones these days, but back when I was a subscriber I do remember them being quite forgiving of Chrysler. Let’s be honest here, Chrysler was the market leader in sales for years but from my experience they have always had the most flimsy product quality wise.

    Also recall how they gushed over the new 1997 Camry saying how great it was and felt like it was carved from a single block of steel. WTF? The 1997 remake of the Camry was a step backwards, something EVERY loyal Camry driver I know has said from experience.

  • avatar

    Why I love TTAC?

    Look at this chart. It’s freakin’ hilarious, because it’s so close to the truth.

    Who else but TTAC would have spent the time delving into this issue and the nuisances pertaining thereto, going so far as to include this absolutely hysterical chart!

    Kudos, gentleman.

  • avatar

    Here’s a clue for folks that always hate on the BMW praise. Often times it’s because they deserve it. Their cars aren’t perfect (I could find flaws in any car), but they’re often better than the competition. For instance, G37 sport sedan with manual compared to a 335i sedan. More cramped, much less refined manual (I would go so far to say it sucks), rougher ride, less tossable. Gadget-wise the G is better, but that’s lower on the priority scale for these magazines. Disclaimer, I don’t own a BMW right now, but I have before and there’s a reason I bought them before. They’re just all around great cars.

  • avatar

    I would own a Beemer for the looks, particularly the beautiful 1 series hatchbacks (hopefully, BMW will not de-Bangle it). But when I test drove a 118i back when they were first released in Australia, the ride was punishingly poor except over the smoothest tarmac, the interior was mid-80’s Hyundai bad, and the black on black interior was oppressive in terms of heat load.

    I think reviewers mistake “go kart” handling (I HATE that phrase) for being “good”. It’s not. It’s at the extreme compromise point that makes track fans happy, and everyone else’s physiotherapists rub their wallets together in glee.

    I automatically skip reviews which include Beemers as invariably they win unless the ringer is particularly badly prepared, the launch junket location not opulent enough, or the bribe in the glovebox is too small.

    Buff mags forgot the buying public. They often give their “average” lifers to the poor powerless saps who may get 300 words every six to nine months. Even though the Aston Martin, Zonda, Porsche, and M3 will get a liberal coating of buff juice every month.

    Good riddance Csaba Cheese. Good riddance Bedard. They weren’t interesting to read, their opinions are worthless to me, and their preferences were tattooed on their arms. They had sold out the general public. Time to go do something else.

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