By on February 21, 2012

It’s probably fair to say that, of all the ridiculous Special Advertising Awards in the print rag business, the Car and Driver “10 Best” comes closest to being a legitimate honor. True, the years where the awards had to be split equally between “import” and “domestic” were kind of ridiculous, and the backslapping, manufacturer parties, and exchange of honoraria between C/D and the “winners” cast an unfortunate shadow of cronyism and back-room dealing over the whole thing, but it’s some order of magnitude more respectable than the “Car whose manufacturer bought the most ad space Of The Year”.

This year’s awards, like always, are predictable enough that most TTAC readers could guess most of them ahead of time. If you want to test your knowledge, go ahead and write ’em down then click the jump. You’ll be semi-wrong about one of them, however. This year, there’s one “surprise” that will either confirm or destroy your faith in the so-called “10 Best”…

“Unlike in years past, the V-6–powered Accords do not share in this 10Best prize. Competitors, ­notably the V-6 VW Passat, play a more convincing premium-family-car riff.” My God, you can just feel the “Men’s Journal” slime dripping from that phrase. A more convincing premium-family-car riff. All it really needs is that mid-Noughties Tony-Swan-esque addition of a comma and the word “pal” to stand as a completely typical post-DED C/D sentence. So be it. This year, as in every year since well before Katy Perry was born, the Honda Accord wins “10 Best”, but this year, it’s for the four-cylinder model only. Got it? Don’t go running off to buy a six-cylinder Accord. It doesn’t play a very convincing riff.

Why did C/D even bother to qualify the award? It would have been a better, braver thing to do to either take the Accord off the list or simply admit that they are unwilling to cost Honda an advertising “riff” that has been played, to the mutual benefit of both companies, more often than the opening to “Reelin’ In The Years”. I would give a lot to have the transcripts of the relevant discussions between the players in this particular “studio session”. Whatevs, as Ms. Perry might say. Here are the remaining nine, with comments.

Ford Mustang GT and Boss 302. It’s hard not to love the current Mustang, which just seems to do everything better than its competition. “Our biggest complaints are that the steering wheel lacks a telescoping feature and that steering feedback is, at best, vague.” Here at TTAC, our biggest complaint is that the Getrag stick-stift seems prone to exploding, but… you say potato, I say Chinese tranny.

Ford Focus In this case, the PowerShift transmission comes in for some criticism from C/D. The rest of the article is some loathsome boxing metaphor that hits your sense of decency like a Mike Tyson punch to the jaw.

Volkswagen Golf and GTI Because, you know, they can totally tell the difference between the rear suspension in the Golf and the one in the Jetta.

Cadillac CTS-V “Let’s get the CTS-V’s achilles’ heel out of the way first: It’s useless as a getaway car.” Guffaw.

Mazda MX-5 Miata Fair enough.

Porsche Boxster and Cayman “The ­Boxster has now made 12 10Best appearances since its 1998 debut, and this will be the sixth straight for the Cayman. Porsche will unveil a new Boxster in the spring; we can’t wait to meet it.” Something tells me the C/D boys will be the first ones on the plane to Europe for said meeting. The phrase “engine failure” was apparently left on the editing floor in the rush to praise the Boxster’s twelve years of excellence.

Honda Fit “In other markets, this tiny Honda is sold as the Jazz, which is appropriate: It exudes all the unflappable cool and versatility of a session drummer.” I’m simply going to stop feeling guilty about making music and guitar references in my articles. Here’s one: the kind of advertising cash you can get from writing stuff like that will buy you a 1959 Les Paul.

BMW 3-Series “After 21 consecutive years on the 10Best list, BMW continues to evolve the 3-series toward some platonic ideal of sportiness.” Raise your hand if you think the sportiness of the current 328i has “evolved” from the E36 325i. Me neither.

Audi A6 “It’s easy for love affairs to wilt as life’s odometer ticks off the years. But our passion for the Audi A6—a two-time comparison-test winner in its previous guise—has now burgeoned into the sort of fiery affair that would have prompted Humbert to jam a ring onto each of Lolita’s 10 delicate digits.” Alright then! I’m off to find that shower they used on Karen Silkwood; after reading this, I just won’t feel clean until I get the full scrub. In the meantime, you can read the entire article by buying C/D at your local newsstand, or simply agreeing to pay $3.99 for a ten-year subscription.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

88 Comments on “2012 Car and Driver “10 Best” Fails To Include The Honda Accord. Sorta....”


  • avatar
    NormSV650

    HMC = the next Saab?

    Honda/Acura NA sells no direct injection, no turbo, no multispeed transmissions…Almost as bad as Toyota. Glad to see someone looking past their waallet through the Japanese fog.

    • 0 avatar
      dejal1

      Honda isn’t what it used to be.

      But, Saab had/has 179,060 employees?

      And revenues of 107.82 Billion?

      And Saab made/makes in addition to cars?

      Motorcycles
      Scooters
      ATVs
      Electrical Generators
      Water pumps
      Lawn and Garden Equipments
      Tillers
      Outboard motors
      Robotics
      Jets
      Jet Engines
      Thin-film solar cells

      Who knew? GM was crazy to get rid of a company that was diverse.

      • 0 avatar
        whynot

        You are confusing Saab Automobile with Saab AB. Other than the name, the two are completely unrelated with Saab AB spinning off Saab Automobile over 20 years ago (to GM). The Saab that GM owned never made jets or jet engines, for example, and did not have 179,000 employees (that it only about 30,000 employees less than what GM has now).

        Neither company has(d) revenue approaching $107.82 billion, don’t know where you got that number.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Those are Honda’s numbers. dejal1 was pointing out that the previous poster had left the reservation in his effort to convince others of his fantasies.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        @whynot, Honda the auto maker is making jets and jet engines.

      • 0 avatar
        whynot

        Now I feel like an idiot. Sorry guys, definitely did not read it closely enough.

      • 0 avatar
        jz78817

        wsn, if you think the people who are working on the Hondajet have anything to do with the car business, well, ya better think again.

        and wake me when they actually sell a plane. The thing made it’s “maiden” flight over 8 years ago and still isn’t certified. And it ain’t going to be this year either, since that engine is going to need some design changes:

        http://www.autoblog.com/2011/10/11/grounded-again-hondajet-delayed-for-engine-redesign/

        And lest you think any of us should be impressed that Honda can get an airplane off the ground, Detroit was building stuff that put people on the Moon.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert.Walter

        About 20 years ago, Saab stopped being that Saab, this was about 5-10 years after Detroit stopped being that Detroit.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      I don’t think that the present Honda Accord should be a 10 Best winner because, in my opinion, the Camry is a better as a basic family sedan and the Passat is better as a loaded 6 cylinder model. I think it’s fair to point out that Honda offers a more powerful and more efficient base engine than the 2 valve per cylinder iron block 5 cylinder engine Volkswagen offers. However, it would be more accurate to note that everyone else offers an aluminum 4 valve per cylinder 4 cylinder engine superior to the primitive VW base engine.

      Honda is a relatively small automobile manufacturer with very different quirks than Saab. Honda traditionally makes relatively reliable, boring cars that don’t upend your life with unscheduled repairs. They would tend to be very cautious in putting direct injection and turbocharging on their engines without solving the intake valve deposit problem. They’ve had automatic transmission problems in the past and are probably extra cautious in introducing new transmissions. The end result is Honda can still profitably sell ok but no longer class-leading cars. In contrast, Saab just couldn’t make cars that enough people wanted to turn a profit and part of their problem was a reputation for making cars that spent expensive, unscheduled time in the shop.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Hey, Honda has (or had) one turbocharged vehicle – the Acura RDX. Granted, the execution leaves something to be desired as it’s porky and inefficient (and thankfully replaced with a V6 for the next generation).

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    Exploding Chinese trannies? Now that might help Car and Driver move some subscriptions.

    I still remember when they were semi-legitimate back in the 90s when I was still too poor to heed their buying advice and just fixed up carbureted SUVs for my lawn care business… or when they had a creative spat with the “artsy” Automobile mag and their Janet-Reno-esque editor who proved that a woman would not be left out from the “Mad Men” world of car magazines. Or how they added their famous brand name to Wal-Mart/Pep Boys grade aftermarket parts like plastic hubcaps and taxi steering wheel covers.

    Just what kind of retard still reads that nonsense? I don’t think doctors’ offices even put that in waiting room bathrooms anymore…

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Ha ha ha! If it’s in a doctor’s office waiting room, you don’t want to touch it…if it’s in a waiting room bathroom, you REALLY, REALLY, REALLY don’t want to touch it!

      Hence, I no longer read any car magazines. Plus, I’m cheap…and they’re expensive.

  • avatar
    akatsuki

    As a suggestion, if there is a problem like the exploding tranny or IMS failure – TTAC should put a nice big box up front in the review with problems/issues instead of in articles months or years later.

    • 0 avatar
      Mark MacInnis

      Apparently you haven’t been following along. TTAC’s pieces…and Baruth’s in particular….about Porsche engines and Mustang trannies going for the dirt nap are legendary for their pithiness, qnd completeness and because TTAC leads the FEW who will regularly bite the hands of the OEM’s by telling the TRUTH about those particular product failures….

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        Yeah Mark, but blithely stating “Here at TTAC, our biggest complaint is that the Getrag stick-stift seems prone to exploding, but… you say potato, I say Chinese tranny”, belies the ‘proof’ of the genius who modified a Mustang far past its manufacturer’s specs and then thrashed it to the point the tranny gave out. Its akin to saying “my submarine don’t float, ain’t my fault the screen door I put on her made her take on water.”

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        You’re referring to the driveshaft failure.

        There’s a separate issue with manual-transmission cars.

      • 0 avatar
        forditude

        The real truth is that the investigation was closed by the NHTSA after finding fault with less than 3% of all transmissions, none of which prevented them from going into gear. The fastener was revised and there have been no reports of further issues. There wasn’t even a recall performed, which is more than I can say for some of the other cars on the list. But the Mustang is a domestic car and this is TTAC, so you have to expect “reporting” that describes the transmission as “prone to exploding”.

        http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/defects/defectresults.cfm?start=1&SearchType=QuickSearch&action_number=PE11024&type=QuickSearch&summary=true&prod_id=975775&PrintVersion=YES

      • 0 avatar
        FJ60LandCruiser

        I never understood why whenever serious faults in QC are reported in Ford products, champions emerge out of the woodwork to defend exploding driveshafts and self-destructing gearboxes as if an attack on Ford was an attack on their own mothers.

        Does Ford have a ministry of information just scouring the internet and sends out “defenders” to attack the credbility of anyone who has a problem with any of their infallible products?

        I referenced the Powershift problems in the Fiesta (which we had to lemon law) on another forum and suddenly I was accused of everything from being unable to drive a car correctly to being a GM shill.

        Ford makes crappy products and I’m beginning to think they go to incredible lengths to bury it.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        …The real truth is that the investigation was closed by the NHTSA after finding fault with less than 3% of all transmissions, none of which prevented them from going into gear…

        Well thank you for clearing that up. I now feel better knowing that if I buy a Mustang GT with the manual I only have a 1:50 chance of having the transmission blow up during the first few years of ownership, instead of a 1:33 chance.

      • 0 avatar
        FromaBuick6

        @FJ60LandCruiser: I know what you mean. I owned one of those Mustangs. The problems I experienced weren’t as severe as some experienced, but that transmission absolutely was a piece of junk. Hard 1-2 shifting. Frequently popped out of 5th. Lots of grinding/crunching/whining. A friend also owned one and experienced the same issues, so it wasn’t just my imagination.

        The defects themselves didn’t bother me nearly as much as the stonewalling I encountered from multiple dealers. The disinterest from Ford corporate in backing their product was irritating and the NHTSA’s findings pretty much ensure nothing meaningful will ever be done about it. Perhaps the worst part is the head-in-sand excuses from every silly Ford fanboy that refuses to admit a Ford product could ever have a problem…no wonder FoMoCo seems to be so caught up in its own hype these days.

        I ended up dumping my Mustang for a multitude of practical concerns and purchased a new Volkswagen. You hear that? A Volkswagen. I was so underwhelmed by the Ford ownership experience that I defected to one of the most chronically unreliable brands sold in America. At least now I know exactly what I’m getting into…

  • avatar
    bryanska

    This crap tells you nothing about the car.

    Look, if I wasn’t a car guy, I might consider the 10 Best issue to be a red-blooded alternative to the Consumer Reports guide. I might grab it and lead through it, hoping to learn more about the cars. But these kinds of metaphors are so dang useless to me, I should have just walked into a showroom and bent over.

    All that cute writing is better left on the editing room floor. Tell me why I should care about how the suspension feels. Tell me why this transmission is better then others and worth sacrificing for.

    In other words, recognize the potential of a highly regarded 10 Best list. Give some thoughtful insight that only you can provide. Forget the Sunday insert jerk sessions. . Car writers are not necessarily good writers, and I hate when they try to be cute.

    • 0 avatar
      Brunsworks

      The point of any sort of awards special is not to rehash the original reviews of the products or services in question. It should probably make reference to the original reviews, and all the major auto publications should plead guilty to failure to do that, at least to some extent.

      The literary merit of Car and Driver’s 10Best List (or any other) is in the mind of the reader, so your mileage, mine, and apparently Mr. Baruth’s, may vary.

      However, I’m glad that you framed your opinion as that, where Jack seems to like to frame his as fact.

      Jack, I hate to tell you, but you’re just another journo who has driven the occasional car in anger. I think you’ll be a success here on TTAC because your indictment of your more-successful competitors is consistently just like a car accident: even if it’s not necessarily for the right reasons, people have trouble looking away.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    +1 for the Silkwood shower reference. I gave up reading C/D and MT because they made me feel dirtier than if I’d watched an hour’s worth of rubber b0ndage p0rn. (Note I said IF,not WHEN.) ;]

  • avatar
    niky

    We all knew it was going to happen sometime. Bless C&D for leaving at least one Honda on the list, to guarantee continued subscription and that Les Paul…

  • avatar
    Hank

    And here I thought Car and Driver was a made-in-America all-weather floor mat brochure.

    • 0 avatar
      cheapthrills

      So true. Though the weathertech mats in my car are superb, their ads are ridiculous. A full centerfold of a dog in the back of an SUV? Pictures of dozens of footwells? Unnecessary.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Though if more folks thought the way Mr. Oniel thought, we would have far less unemployment, and more Golden Retrievers. And more divorced trophy wives, but that’s a different story…

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    I just resubscribed to Car and Driver after a many-years’ hiatus. It’s actually on the way back up. The March 2012 issue was particularly good. C&D’s conclusions are often pretty whack, but they do technical articles as well or better than anybody. Their comparison tests are good (if you skip the conclusions). Also, their travelogs are interesting. Also, it’s a good place to get numbers for TTAC discussions.

  • avatar
    Sundowner

    A few comments on this article:

    1) a Silkwood reference? You’re dating yourself, dude.

    2) Why does every other article have be so BITTER and EDITORIAL in nature? You’re not a stupid person, but the Bill O’Reily act is getting old… and boring. This post ties my previous pick for most inane drivel; It was the one from last week in which the I had to skim through three paragraphs of completely irrelevant butthurt retort about a bile green S5 to get to the point of the post.

    3) Silkwood? At least go for a Crying Game ‘cleansing shower’ reference. At least people have seen that. Or the Ace Ventura parody of it. You should reference CHUD’s in your next entry to keep it hipster levels of obscure.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    ” Here at TTAC, our biggest complaint is that the Getrag stick-stift seems prone to exploding, but… you say potato, I say Chinese tranny.”

    Inane verbiage taken from your job application to C&D, just to “Wow ’em” that you can drop bombs? The transmission has been on the market for 3 years. You and others reviewed the car long after it first arrived. You had the car on the track, and no doubt have been to tracks where they run, many times.

    OK THEN. Give us all a link to any article which disproves what everyone is thinking RIGHT NOW. That “here at TTAC” only can mean “the truth” is always withheld until sometime way in the distance when a suitable scribe’s “GOTCHA” moment can be seized upon. For effect.

    It makes me want to puke.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/fords-v-6-pony-saddled-with-stupid-new-name/

      Is May of last year long ago enough for you?

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Doug-
      I don’t have any statistics about the tranny failures, if it has been fixed, if it ever was a problem statistically compared to other manual transmissions, but I do know that complaints about it and its Chinese manufacturing have been out there for awhile. Not just TTAC.

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        what’s the bet Doug falls silent

        compare to the legendary T56 and its cousins… the chinese Getrag is just crap

        Ford is now riding on the coattails of not being “bailed out” and so treats its product and customers with disdain.

  • avatar
    wmba

    I read C/D’s ten best list on November 30, when the magazine hit the newsstands. Where have you been in the meantime, Jack?

    From a promising beginning some years ago, all your articles seem now to revolve around dissing the other automotive journalists and outlets. It’s gotten more than boring, it’s gotten trite.

    Think of something interesting to write about. Or, have a go at Kreindler instead — he can’t spell, writes indigestible sentences and thinks he’s hip.

    This site is supposed to be the truth about cars, not mindless drivel, which a lot of the recent postings have been. In. My. Opinion. To paraphrase your style.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I don’t read C/D any more… what brought this onto my radar was having a friend forward me a picture of a C/D editor handing the awards over to a manufacturer. It made me start to think about why a magazine would have a private awards ceremony with a manufacturer and what the motivations behind such a thing would be.

      You’re right, however. This content is late. I’m a little nervous about the idea of never publishing anything that is “late”. That way lies liveblogging.

    • 0 avatar
      FromaBuick6

      I’m about fed up with the constant whining from the B&B about the site content. Baruth’s a crude, opinionated SOB who’s always inspired devotion and hatred in equal measure, so nothing new here. But the attacks on the quality and content of Derek’s writing, complaints about Bertel’s editorial license and bemoaning the fact that Murilee Martin is Paul Neidermeyer really offend me.

      I’ve been on the interblog a long time, and TTAC is still one of the most diverse, independent, colorful and all around best auto sites I’ve encountered. Don’t believe me? Go hang out at Jalopnik, Autoblog or Motortrend.com for awhile.

      Or, better still, renew your old C&D subscription. I had a freebie from my old man for a year, and guess what? It stinks. Of course, Ray Wert is probably still taking credit for Eddie Alterman getting hired as editor. While you’re at it, you can have the stack of free Road & Tracks I never got around to reading because they’re so painfully boring.

  • avatar
    LeeK

    Well OF COURSE this annual list is political and geared towards magazine advertising, just the way that Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award is calculated. The thing about C&D’s list is that aside from the expected gratuitous nod to something like a Pontiac 6000 STE or a Nissan Altima, they generally don’t make embarrassing choices. The cars on this year’s list are certainly commendable in their respective class. Manufacturers crow if their car is on the list and print copies for customers to take from showroom displays, and they sulk if their car falls off the list, with corresponding reduction in ad buys. I can only imagine what would happen if the 3 series streak ends with the new F30 line. Somehow, I can’t see this happening, no matter how much longer and heavier BMW makes it.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Did they have the Hyundai Sonata on the list last year, or the year before? I seem to recall that they either gave one a 10-best win or a comparo win, only to get a Sonata Turbo as a 40K mile test car and discover it was still just a big Excel from an ownership perspective.

      • 0 avatar
        LeeK

        Yes, the Sonata was on the 2011 list.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        The Sonata was on the list in 2011, which speaks poorly of C&D’s credibility. Nowhere else have I read that the Sonata is anything more than competent in driving dynamics. Nearly all have said the steering and suspension need work. Of course, the current Accord received unusually mixed reviews about how it drives now, and that did not/will not ever prevent C&D from slobbering all over it.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      The current Altima is fully a class competitive car. And for that matter, the STE was a credible offering for its day…

  • avatar
    Toad

    I purchased a new 1989 Honda Accord (SEi coupe) based on the car in the Honda ad at the top of the post, and that was truly a great car. Great looking, bulletproof mechanicals, fun to drive, awesome visibility thanks to Honda’s low dash and beltline; just a great car. Drove it for almost 200k miles with very few issues, and it never used oil between changes.

    I sure wish Honda would go back to the formula that made them great. Back in the 80’s people were actually following car carrier trucks into the dealer lots and trying to buy the cars while they were still on the truck. They did it once, they could do it again.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      The largest ingredient of Honda’s era of success was the competition. Everybody knows what Detroit built in the 80s.

      That non competitive market is gone forever. People lining up to pay MSRP+MAP are gone with it.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      I just finished two years behind the wheel of an 8th gen Civic, and it does possess a lot of the traits you talk about. Everything just sort of worked as it should, it was nice to drive, rather efficient, and although I only got to drive it 72k kms, the only problem I had was a wiper spring coming off (and that was probably from my pulling too hard).

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Personally, I’d like to see all imports implode and put the domestics – Chrysler included, even tho’ owned by Fiat, back on top where they belong.

    (waking up, now…)

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      Chrysler has never been on top, especially the Lego-like K cars.

    • 0 avatar
      windnsea00

      That takes a competitive product first, which they are finally catching up after so many lackluster vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      “Personally, I’d like to see all imports implode and put the domestics – Chrysler included, even tho’ owned by Fiat, back on top where they belong.”

      In that case, GM would need a $1 trillion bailout immediately. Because, you know, the majority of GM’s cars are sold as imports in other countries.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @Zackman- I will second that! Honda will struggle in the coming years. They don’t have the scale or technological capability to keep up with the leaders.

        @WSN- “The majority of GM’s cars are sold as imports in other countries.”
        This is not accurate.
        1- GM builds most vehicles in the markets where they are sold. Virtually all Chinese sales are built in China, for example.In fact, they just approved a $1.1B new plant there.
        2- The US market is by far the richest. GM made $7B in America last year vs. less than $2B in the rest of the world.

  • avatar
    Oren Weizman

    for some reason it reminds me of this at 1:17 :

  • avatar
    smokingclutch

    I will take Baruth over Kreindler driving a car like stole it and then whining that its fuel economy didn’t hit the rated number.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      I read the article and the B&B are doing far more whining than Kreindler. I’d like to see more Baruth reviews where he tells us what the fuel economy on a given car is at 95+mph (which is how Baruth drives anyway.)

  • avatar

    Fit is still great and haters gonna hate. Unfortunately the rest of the line-up at Honda is not quite there.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “It would have been a better, braver thing to do to either take the Accord off the list…”

    That would seem more than a bit disingenuous, since they devoted most of their column inches to absolutely raving about the four-cylinder version of the car, i.e. the one that dominates its sales. Just in case you missed C/D’s 159 word love ballad to the four-cylinder variant of the Accord, here it is:

    http://www.caranddriver.com/features/2012-10best-cars-feature-2012-honda-accord-page-7

    I can appreciate that bitching about everyone who isn’t you is becoming part of your shtick, but now you’ve taken to grossly quoting out of context those who grace your enemies list. Come on, you can do better than that.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I can’t agree with you that anything was quoted out of context.

      Yes, they rave about the Accord… in this article. What about elsewhere?

      http://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons/2011-hyundai-sonata-se-page-4

      To be fair, “10 Best” results rarely reflect the comparison tests.

      To be no less than fair, why is the previous sentence true?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “Yes, they rave about the Accord… in this article. What about elsewhere?”

        In their 2009 comparison, they put the four-cylinder Accord ahead of the Fusion and Mazda 6:

        http://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons/2009-honda-accord-ex-l-page-4

        They also quite liked the 2011 SE: “The car itself, however, remains a first-rate ambassador in the segment.”

        http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/honda-accord-review-2011-honda-accord-se-sedan-driven

        Rightly or wrongly, they do seem to be consistent in liking the car in four-cylinder form. Is there some reason that they’re now supposed to pretend that they don’t?

  • avatar
    grandestmarquis

    Those actually seemed like some pretty reasonable choices on C/D’s part. Perhaps Mr. Baruth should post his own “10 Best” list so it can be micro-analyzed and picked apart.

    Just curious, what magazine do others here prefer of the big 4 auto publications (C/D, R & T, Automobile and M/T)?

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      I am embarrassed to admit this, but I subscribe to all 4. Please don’t ban me from TTAC! I promise to let all but one magazine expire.

      C/D – for the juvenile male audience. Source of great tests and stats, but that’s nullified by goofy “Mad Magazine” type articles. Has a good iPad app, but print subscribers need to pay again.

      R&T – It’s ok. Data panels are fun, and they cover the racing circuit a little bit. They don’t cover mini-vans or SUVs, just fast street cars and exotics. Also has a lousy iPad app (no interactivity) and print subscribers need to pay again.

      Automobile – Not a tech & spec rag like the first two, it’s a “lifestyle” magazine, so you won’t find many articles with hard numbers here. But, out of all of them, Automobile’s writing and editing is the most polished. They also cover car auctions and collectibles a bit. Has a nice iPad app which is free to print subscribers.

      M/T – the Walmart of the bunch. They cover all sorts of vehicles and have long-term vehicles to review. The writing here, however, is the most awkward. I find myself re-reading paragraphs because I didn’t understand what the author meant. And their math is just as bad as their English; they can’t keep power-to-weight and weight-to-power ratios straight. Has a nice iPad app which is free to print subscribers.

      Note that C/D and R&T are affiliated with each other. Likewise for Automobile and M/T.

      All have regular columnists who have raced cars or worked on cars or designed cars. You could choose a magazine based on the columnist you like.

      I am leaning toward keeping Automobile. But I come to TTAC for Baruth and Brendan, the other B&B.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    Every four months, if I come early enough, I look through a C/D magazine at my dentist’s office. Reading it reminds me there are worse experiences than root canals. The pictures are pretty, though.

    As to the top ten list of cars, well, that’s quite useless. One of the dumbest reasons to buy a car is because it comes highly recommended by people you don’t know anything about your particular auto needs.

    All cars today last longer than their payment book well enough to be recommended.

    Perhaps it is this fact that is killing these magazines.

    We don’t need them anymore. Unless you are worried about being seen driving a car that may make strangers think you are dumber than you really are. These vehicles recommendations are for drivers without confidence.

    Traditional car magazines have become little more than fashion magazines telling you how you can look prettier by buying a new fashionable car.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Both Car and Driver and Motor Trend provide highly subjective, over-stylized, content-poor reviews, and any 10-best or COTY award is just fluffy eye candy to alleviate boredom for 5 minutes. They never go into enough depth about the car (Mr. Karesh, please teach them something here), particularly during comparison tests, devoting far too much of their minimal text on witty quips and cultural references. They are a good source of instrumented test numbers, and that’s about it.

    The omission of the V6 Accord is a bit surprising; I always thought C&D had such a crush on Honda it would take a bullet for them. If they were honest they would have removed it altogether.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    “They never go into enough depth about the car…particularly during comparison tests, devoting far too much of their minimal text on witty quips and cultural references.”

    That takes up too much space and gets in the way of advertising. People want to be “entertained”, not read a shop manual, which, in the case of someone potentially spending a small fortune on a four-wheeled conveyance, they would be advised to do so, attention-span issues notwithstanding.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      No kidding. Written for the 5-second-attention-span generation.

      I’m not sure who views C&D as an authority on what makes a good family sedan or compact car, but I hope no one puts too much stock in their opinion when buying.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        They’re pretty good at determining which vehicles are enjoyable to drive hard, preferably involving a manual transmission. That’s not what most are looking for in a vehicle so the magazine does not necessarily apply to them. But it’s what I’m looking for, and it’s nice to have a second opinion and some extra details to go along with an actual test drive.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    This one’s an oldy but a goody, about how the awards sausage is made in the consulting industry. It’s worth reading through all of the accompanying comments:

    http://billanddave.wordpress.com/2007/06/03/frost-sullivan-award/

  • avatar
    hachee

    C&D, and most of the other monthlies, have sucked for so long I can’t even remember when they didn’t.

    Is it really news that their Top 10 seems to be motivated by advertising dollars? And does anyone really care? There’s a reason why the rags are so thin these days. No one reads them, and I’d bet even subscribers read less of contents than they use to read. The internet, and blogs like this, with daily doses of car stuff, gives most enthusiasts what they want and need. I still get all the monthlies because they’re just so cheap. So why not? What they’ve failed to do is find a way to stand out from the internet and keep themselves relevant. I’d say CAR (UK) is one of the only ones to have done this.

    I’ve become a regular reader of this blog, although maybe I should say I check it frequently, and read only the stuff that interests me. I can’t say I really even noticed who was writing what until Jalopnik posted an entry about the war between Jack Baruth and the guy from Motor Trend. But wow, your writing style has really become apparent quickly. Is it just your schtick? A way to stand out? Love you or hate you, but at least remember you? Tone the anger down a bit – it’s just cars!

  • avatar
    rentonben

    >>”I say Chinese tranny.”

    Bertel, did you edit Jack’s story?

  • avatar
    bd2

    Aside from splitting the 4 banger and V6 Accord, my problem with C/D’s list is that they give the awards to some models across the lineup and then to others in limited trim.

    So presumably, the 3 Series from the 328i all the way up to the M3 is deserving of the honor, but only the V performance trim of the CTS is worthy.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    I love Baruth’s writing, but I just can’t join in piling on C/D.

    No, C/D is not as immune to commercial pressure as Consumer Reports. And yes, sometimes their writers sprain their tragically hipbone. But with only a few exceptions, they have the most credible stories, the deepest road test data, and the best writers (notably Phillips) in their segment. In addition, I think they’ve improved since Alterman took over from Csere, in an era when it’s hard for a magazine to improve in any area other than tree conservation through shrinkage.

    I read this site. I read Consumer Reports. And I read C/D. Each brings something unique to the table, still.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      I enjoy Baruth’s writing as well, and C/D is fair game.

      C/D has a campaign to “Save the Manuals” but when it comes to car reviews, they cover the automatics. Yes, they have some great track tests and detailed specs, but then they publish stuff like “How To Bless Your Car” and “How To Set A Bead” using lighter fluid. Schizophrenic, they don’t know if they are a car magazine or Mad Magazine. Actually, that’s probably the demographic for their readership.

      I am letting my subscription expire; only 9 years left! (Just kidding about the last part.)

      BTW, I also read Consumer Reports. Great consistent stuff there.

  • avatar
    ccd1

    The IMS problems with the Cayman/Boxster were addressed in MY2009. These cars commit other sins like exhorbitant prices and the hardtop costing more than the convertible. But the IMS problems are a thing of the past.

    These two cars make a more compelling argument for inclusion than any other Porsche, first because they are still sports cars and second, because they are merely very expensive as opposed to obscenely stupidly expensive. Case in point, if you want to know the difference between a Cayman S and a base Carrera, its a back seat suitable only for pigmies and $20,000.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Right, because there’s no IMS. My point is that it’s disingenuous to talk about how AEWSUM the cars have been for 12+ years while neglecting to mention that Porsche knowingly stuck owners with problems for a decade.

      Every new Porsche engine since, oh, the 2.7 has had some non-trivial issue. I’m sure that the current mill’s problems will come to light as they hit the exalted 50,000-mile mark.

      • 0 avatar
        ccd2

        The IMS problems was major and it took FAR too long for Porsche to address the issue. I’ve been following a forum on the Cayman/Boxster and it seems that, after all these years, Porsche might have finally gotten the engine squared away. Have not heard of any problems with the 2009+ engines. Some have expressed concern about carbon build up in the DFI engine (3.4), but have not read of any actual cases (unlike Audi). I’m not trying to give Porsche kudos for getting the engine issues resolved. Even if Porsche has succeeded, it took too long. But giving the devil his due, engine problems seem more historical at this point than anything else.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTheDriver

        I suspect there are probably hundreds of different and unique ways one can blow up a flat six. A failed IMS (shaft or bearing) just aint one of them. Total internet nonsense.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @Jack:

        Point taken, and, yeah, I agree that handing out awards to manufacturers in person is questionable ethics-wise.

        But is this magazine REALLY wrong for not beating a drum over reliability issues? From what I can recall from reading the magazine, when they find reliability problems, they point them out, but being a “bible” for reliability stats isn’t their focus.

        Nor do they necessarily pimp reliability in their reviews – they certainly didn’t in the Accord review you pointed out, and I couldn’t find much mention of it in the other recent reviews they did on the model either. Maybe it goes without saying that the Accord is reliable – bully for Honda – but then again, I have seen articles that clearly point out reliability and quality issues.

        The only long term test of the Boxster I could find showed zero reliability issues. If I’m thinking conspiratorially, I guess that could mean Porsche sent them a specially prepped car, or they just failed to point out the issues, but most likely the reason they’re not picking up on the problem you touch on is that they only keep long-term test cars for about 40,000 miles. I’m not cynical enough to think that an out-and-out engine failure in a $70,000 Porsche with less than 40,000 miles would be ignored. Then again, I’m an optimist.

        I don’t think they’re ignoring quality or reliability issues per se – they’re just focused more on the experience of driving cars, and letting Consumer Reports be the bible for people who need reliability stats. Besides, if you’re in a position to drop 60-70 grand on a Boxster, you can afford to spend a few bucks on Consumer Reports’ website to figure out if it’s reliable or not.

  • avatar
    Numbers_Matching

    There was a time when CD magazine was as thick as a Sears catalog, full of graphs, tables and interesting articles – some barely automotive, but still entertaining to read.

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    It just struck me that much of the criticism here of the car rags (lack of technical depth, too many cultural references and attempts at humour) are what make Top Gear so popular. I guess the difference is the magazines’ leaning to favour the manufacturers who provide their advertising revenue.I guess this is why they can afford to practically give away subscriptions.You should consider Motor Trend and Car and Driver as car brochures you have to pay for and leave it at that.

  • avatar
    WheelMcCoy

    “You should consider Motor Trend and Car and Driver as car brochures you have to pay for and leave it at that.”

    I pretty much agree. But they can be much worse than brochures. M/T confuses the ratios “weight-to-horsepower” and “horsepower-to weight”. It would be like saying car X gets 40 miles-per-gallon and later say it gets 40 gallons-per-mile. You’ll find more writing discipline in a brochure.

  • avatar
    JohnTheDriver

    Geez Jack, lay off the Porsche engine failures and the Chinese trannys would ya? One is a collective figment of the internets imagination, much like Toyota sudden acceleration or bigfoot. The other is, well, Chinese trannys.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Apparently youtube links don’t work, but you can find videos there of Porsche engines killed by IMS failures being disassembled. A friend I didn’t make on the internet has a Porsche shop, and his world is drowning in parts cars that all have the same problem so he isn’t even particularly interested in IMS failure blown Boxsters for next to free.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTheDriver

        Yes, I can find videos of Porsche engines killed by IMS failures. I can find even more videos of bigfoot. As I said above, there are probably hundreds of ways to kill a flat six. “D” chips, cracked valves (seats, stems), ovaled liners, cracked liners … lots and lots of ways to blow up a Porsche. Most resulting from a type 2 (power off) over rev.

        One of those videos you mentioned had me laughing so hard I blew coffee out of my nose. The extracted bearings had pitting so bad it could only have been caused by soaking them in acid first. It was that video actually that convinced me the whole thing was fake. That and the fact that Porsche indys these days have a tendency to “diagnose” IMS failure without even bothering to remove the engine first.

        Just a point of reference, normally aspirated 2.5 liters sell for 3 grand on ebay. If your buddy has a yard full of rollers … money to be made (plus he can prolly get a grand back for the cores.)

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        So what we have here is a conspiracy among hundreds, maybe thousands, of otherwise unrelated people, from Bruce Anderson right down to real estate agents in California who had their engine come to a sudden halt on the PCH?

        I like the cut of your jib.

  • avatar
    JohnTheDriver

    That’s the whole point Jack. Those folks don’t have a failed IMS (or at least the VAST majority do not). I’m sorry but the fact is they have been suckered. The Porsche flat six has God’s own valve train. Complicated, amazing, a true engineering work of art. And it can and does fail in strange and unusual ways. For whatever reason suits them any given mechanic on any given day may decide that … ‘this here must been one of them IMS failures I read about on them there intertubes’.

    So what about your conspiracy? Perhaps the conspiracy is instead among Porcshe, National Highway Transportation Safety, TUV (German equivalent kinda), and all those reliability studies (read the latest Consumer Reports?) ‘Cus it has to be one conspiracy or the other. And it aint hundreds or thousands. It was one shop in Alabama and another in Georgia that got this hysteria going. That’s your conspiracy.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Corey Lewis: From what I see on other examples, that nice wheel was installed by an owner after the fact. 82:...
  • bullnuke: ToolGuy – figure 2/3 of a bale of hay per day @ $7.50/bale (price depends upon where you live)....
  • Jeff S: Most of us have more than 1 vehicle especially if you are married and have children. Owning any motorized...
  • Jeff S: @ToolGuy–I have noticed fewer gas stations in rural areas as well but I don’t know if that is...
  • RedRocket: Thanks for the laugh. Voice recognition is the most worthless thing ever introduced to the modern software...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber