By on June 4, 2014


Less than a month after our “Reader Review” program began (with Bark M taking TTAC reader Gene’s Chevrolet SS for a spin), the program is picking up momentum: we have now chalked up our fourth review, and we’d like to take the chance to formally extend this opportunity to all of our readers.

Thanks to our busy travel schedules, myself, Jack and Bark M are frequently criss-crossing the continent, and taking time to meet with readers along the way. Recently, we’ve also been either a) driving their cars or b) riding along with them and helping them write their own reviews. In the past month alone, we’ve taken some cool rides out aside from the SS. Among them are a new WRX premium, Davefromcalgary’s Buick Verano and a brand new Ram 1500 V6.

And we’re looking to do more. We want to break the monotony of manufacturer-supplied press cars. We want to get an understanding of why you bought your car. And most of all, we want to hang out with our readers. We’ll even buy you dinner for your troubles.

If you want to sign up, send an email to editors at ttac dot com and let us know where you live, what you drive and whether you’d like us to drive the car or if you just want to send in a review. We can’t promise that we’ll be able to make it out, or that we’ll select your review, but we will do our best.

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72 Comments on “TTAC Wants YOU – To Be Part Of Our Reader Review Program...”

  • avatar

    Way ahead of you. Still waiting on Jack Baruth to post the two reviews I just did for TTAC.

    READER REVIEWS needs its own button up there next to “car reviews”.

    • 0 avatar

      Now these, I want to read.

      Bring on the Chrysler

      Bring on the Hemi


      Bring on the bigtruck!!!!

    • 0 avatar

      Good for you, BTSR. I chuckle at your comments on how you smoked some 2-liter car with your 6 liter car. But your actual review of the Cherokee was great, and gave me a good understanding of its strengths and limitations. Looking forward to your reviews.

      Question to the editors: do non-new cars qualify for this series? Have you thought about this? Perhaps some ground rules?

      Consumer reports model, only reader-sourced. Kudos to everyone for coming up with this great idea.

  • avatar

    Did you review a Veloster Turbo and a VW Passat?

  • avatar

    Consider a Ralliart/WRX comparison.

    • 0 avatar

      They’d have to be able to find a Ralliart first.

      • 0 avatar

        Got one!

        • 0 avatar

          Then I’ll happily eat my words :) I have to ask – how is it? I’ve always been curious about Mitsus in general.

          To me, the price seems a little high given the age and older technology, but I still like the styling and appreciate that the Ralliart doesn’t have all of the ‘please officer can I have another ticket?’ bodywork of the Evo.

          • 0 avatar

            This is my second RalliArt. It is a ’13 with 12k miles. The first was an ’11 and very Spartan, this one has all the options, including a sunroof… I don’t like sunroofs…
            It handles well, you can feel an extra wheel weight past the springs while driving spirited, but nothing 90% of people would notice.

  • avatar

    Care for a 2014 Citroën C3?

  • avatar

    This if a great move to get more useful info out to your readers.
    I am one of the folks that buys a new car and them maintains it well and keeps it for such a long time that it makes more sense to gift it to a charity that to try to sell it or trade it in when it is time for a new car.
    The length of time is getting longer and longer in the 60s it was a 5 to 7 year life for the car in the 70s a SAAB 99 EMS extended that to 9 years a Volvo turbo station wagon got me to 10 years in the 80s and a 1989 range rover lasted me till 2004 when I sold it for a good price and bought a new MINI Cooper S that I think might go 20 years based on how cheap it has been to own so far.
    The point of this list is that cars today are lasting far beyond the point where replacing them for things like new safety features and improved economic use numbers as well as the fun electronic toys becomes a factor beyond the “is it worn out ” factor.
    I just drove a new Toyota from national rentacar for a two week holiday and I was amazed at the features in this mainstream model it had all the electronic toys except navigation pairing my iPhone was almost automatic this car had less then 200 miles on the clock when I picked it up and I think it likely I was the first to rent it. There were no items that had problems the rear vision camera was most useful. The list goes on. When you bought a new car in the 1960s it was normal to have a notepad and pencil on the dashboard to list the items that needed to be fixed when you took it back to the dealer to have the break in engine oil changed after the first 500 miles or so. Lists of 10 to 20 items were not rare at a dealer I worked weekends for in the early 60s washing cars etc . The Cooper S I now drive also had no problems at delivery but pairing my also new at the time Nokia Bluetooth phone to the aftermarket Nokia Bluetooth hands off system I had installed was something else… And when the Nokia phone was replaced with a Motorola Bluetooth phone in 2006 it could not be made to pair with the cars hands off system to the point I just gave up and removed and sold the hands off kit.
    The improvement that we now see in infotainment systems in cars today is head and shoulders over where it was just 10 years ago. The same could be said of car safety systems with things like auto emergency braking now starting to be seen in many mainstream models.
    I wonder how long it will be before full featured systems including navigation and fully glass cockpit designs become as standard as am radios once were? The days of adding a $1000 to $2000 option package to get navigation into the infotainment system may be numbered with every smart phone able to provide the service.

  • avatar

    It sadly appears that Alex Dykes’ reviews are no longer going to be hosted on TTAC, as it has been months since one appeared. He’s got his own website now which has at least videos posted a week and he mentions a partnership with True Delta. I guess it’s time to take his name off the TTAC Staff list on the right side of this screen.

    Jack or Derek, please correct me if my understanding is incorrect.

    As Bertel once said, TTAC is about writers moving onto bigger and better things, so this isn’t unexpected. It’s just a shame to see his excellent reviews not posted here with the corresponding interesting commentary.

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque aka Daniel Ho

      Blogs have to evolve, and this is a logical next step.

      Speaking of Bertel, last week he wrote one of his best articles yet on his own blog about the decline of the buff books and blogs. He might have jumped the gun on the blogs’ decline, but I wasn’t aware just how much more traffic Jalopnik generates (or Robert’s Farago’s newest online gun venture for that matter) over TTAC.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s because Jalopnik is the auto-blog equivalent of McDonalds. It’s sh*t, but it appeals to the masses who have no taste.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        Neither Derek nor I are permitted to comment on the current state of TTAC’s relationship with Alex.

        I personally wish Alex the best and want to reiterate my confidence that he is only going to do more and better things.

        As for Bertel’s comments, I think they are precisely equivalent to being given a nice house in a nice neighborhood, deliberately setting that house on fire, being evicted from it, then writing a blog on house fires in one’s neighborhood.

        • 0 avatar

          A wonderful analogy, Jack. It passes all the logic tests.

          However, it doesn’t change facts. I find Schmitt’s insights on the industry far superior to anyone else, nonetheless, and just avoid reading Niedermeyer’s drivel on their joint blog. Last week they were at 180 degrees on autonomous cars.

          Surely, the lack of money and general decline of TTAC visits (common to other blogs) is what is preventing this site from hiring a competent reviewer to replace Dykes, and his copyright dispute on video reviews.

          There is only the truth to discuss. And just as preteen pirates ruined the music industry from 1998 to 2002 by downloading copyright material through Napster for nothing, so we now have utter dorks running car websites like The Fast Lane, unable to spell or put one logical phrase after another splitting up what little money there is available for quality journalism. It’s the race to the bottom.

          Not much interested in reader’s reviews for reasons others have stated. Boring and irrelevant in helping to choose a new car.

          It’s a sideline at best having Dick Smith review his 2009 Fusion. Okay now and then.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            I believe BS understands more about the German car industry of the Seventies than any other working journalist.

            The biggest problem we have with reviews, frankly, isn’t paying reviewers — it is getting cars. I review every car I can get, and that’s not many. We pay more for reviews than almost anyone else but very few freelancers want to take the chance of having their name on this site. It tends to lead to a drying-up of loaners tout suite.

          • 0 avatar

            “I find Schmitt’s insights on the industry far superior to anyone else”

            What do you prefer most, his inaccuracies or his misuse of statistical data?

          • 0 avatar

            “very few freelancers want to take the chance of having their name on this site”

            Considering how many TTAC alumni have gone on to write for Road & Track, Car and Driver, Autoweek, Hemmings and other publications that are much more establishment than this site, I think those freelancers are being too risk averse.

          • 0 avatar

            @Jack Baruth: “I believe BS understands more about the German car industry of the Seventies than any other working journalist.”

            Somebody please put this in the OED, under “damning with faint praise”. Thank you.

    • 0 avatar

      Bummer about Alex Dykes. Quality > quantity; I’d rather see one thorough review from him than a dozen half-baked reader contributed reviews. Sigh.

      • 0 avatar

        I like reader reviews. Especially if they have lived with the car longer than a week. I want to know if the “blast to drive corner carving ICBM” is easy to live with, or not. How is it to clean, do you bump your head, knee getting in or out…stuff like that. Almost anyone can time a run and measure a stop, that’s important, but not everything.

        • 0 avatar

          I can get all those things and more from car review forums online. I like Alex’s approach because it’s consistent for each of the cars he reviews, and it’s very thorough. They’re well written, and he’s got a lot of experience with other cars so his comparisons and opinions are defensible.

          I agree with your point, and there have been some excellent contributions, but I’m generally weary when a reader review pops up and the author hasn’t already demonstrated their aptitude for the job. Too often the author focuses on a just handful of features(often seemingly random), and compare the cars virtues/drawbacks against a very limited set of other cars they’ve tested. And frankly, the writing usually sucks. If I really want to learn that day-to-day information, I’ll visit the forums and get that information in an easily digestible format without all the extraneous fluff.

          Honestly, I’m probably just venting my frustration with the general state of web journalism. Too much outsourcing to generate content, and not enough focus on quality. I understand the economics of things, but TTAC just seems to have changed lately.

          Amusingly, this debate has little to do with this article. I think having readers provide the rides to experienced reviewers is a great idea, and gets back to this site’s original ethos.

    • 0 avatar

      Alex and Michael both write thorough, thoughtful, and compelling reviews. If they are now collaborating they will make a formidable team.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    I’m not much of a writer, but if you guys ever wanted to do a capsule review of an E39 M5, come on down to Tampa.

    • 0 avatar

      My ’03 350Z is available in Ft Lauderdale. Along with a rare bird -’08 Volvo C30 (manual) and ’02 Dodge Dakota Quad Cab.

      I guess I could write a review, however I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep it short enough… I tend to drone on, or so I’ve been told.

  • avatar

    2001 Ford Ranger S (strippo) in Winnipeg?


    Thought so!

  • avatar

    What about my 208HP 2013 Fiat Abarth in Quebec City ? =)

    BTW, it’s for sale, the missus told me that we need a new kitchen =(

  • avatar
    The Heisenberg Cartel

    ha!!! Any appetite for a base model 1999 E46 323i with 275,000 miles?

  • avatar

    I have a 2002 Miata (LS) and a 2012 Mustang GT in my stable, along with my wife’s 2009 pre-gamechanger Fusion…complete with the steel wheels with plastic wheelcovers.

    Considering that Derek owns a 2003 Miata and Jack flogged a Mustang GT around a track a year or two ago, I’m guessing no takers.

  • avatar

    2013 Regal GS manual. Less than 4k miles on it. Jack, come to San Francisco and you can drive it.

  • avatar

    This is a great idea – looking forward to seeing the reviews.

  • avatar

    If anyone has a special interest or collectible car that you’d like to share with the Best & Brightest, and if you’re within reasonable driving distance of Detroit, drop me an email or use the TTAC contact form and I’ll look into doing a photo shoot and feature.

    rokem [at] netzero [dot] net

  • avatar

    I’ll give you guys a shout when I get my next vehicle for sure!

  • avatar

    Anyone wishing to do a capsule review of 2-10 year-old vehicles with 20-80k miles is welcome to my inventory.

    Also, the 2014 Fiesta ST w/846 miles I just bought for…uh…cheap.

  • avatar

    My schedule between now and the end of the year includes (but is not necessarily limited to):

    Greenville, SC
    San Antonio
    Washington, DC

    If you are in or around any of those cities, please let us know. I’m happy to meet any and all readers.

    • 0 avatar

      Looks a lot like my travel schedule, but somehow I doubt the orders will match up.

      Should any of y’all vacation on the coast of Maine (please come, leave your money, and then get out – we love tourists here), I am happy to toss you the keys to my eclectic little fleet.

      ’13 500 Abarth, utterly stock
      ’11 BMW 328i wagon, 6spd, rwd, BMW Performance Intake and Exhaust
      ’01 Range Rover 4.6 HSE, but most of the HSE bits are long gone
      ’74 Triumph Spitfire with breathed on dual carb 1350 engine – about as fast as a 3yo on a tricycle, but good fun

    • 0 avatar
      Joshua Johnson

      Minneapolis checking in here. Let me know if there is any interest in a 2001 Buick Park Avenue Ultra with 200k on it or a 2005 Jaguar S-Type R.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m about 3 hours south of Orlando. Parents are in Sebring which is about the half way point so that might work for you. Cars available are mostly pushing the decade mark now: ’03 350Z Touring, ’08 Volvo C30 V2 and ’02 Dodge Dakota Quad Cab V8 2WD.

      I think the Volvo is most interesting as it was designed as competition to the Mini but clearly never caught on. Its a 5 cylinder turbo with a 6 speed manual. Basically a S40 in 2 door hatchback trim, great little car. Popular in Europe but a complete unknown here in the US. When my wife decided she must have one there was exactly THREE for sale (used) in all of Florida. Luck would have it that one was located literally a mile from our home so we jumped on it.

      • 0 avatar

        I’d love to see the C30. They’re more popular here than in most of the US for some reason (there are a few wandering around my area).

        I’m near Seattle and would let someone drive my ’01 ZX2, but I’m sure there would be no interest in that. I might get something newer soon, but it’s hard to say. I’m in that “I want a new one” stage, hence reading reviews and contemplating options.

        • 0 avatar

          “I’m in that “I want a new one” stage…”

          I’m in that stage almost permanently. Unfortunately, my pragmatic side only lets me do something about it every four or five years.

          This is thinking of “new” as “new to me,” not necessarily fresh warranty new.

    • 0 avatar
      Charles T

      I have a 266 wheel HP Saab 9000 in the Boston area. Care for something, er, “quirky”?

    • 0 avatar

      Bark – My Pontiac is supposed to be in the shop from next week on, but I have a final year 240 and a final year Saturn SL in like new condition.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Love your site and the idea of reader reviews. Personally I believe that ‘automotive journalism’ as practiced by the major media is an oxymoron. It is more like automotive schilling.

    And sorry but I could not care less about g-force through turns, time to 100 mph, etc.

    I care about i)affordability ii) reliability iii)utility.

    In my previous career, I was provided with company vehicles and drove well over 35,000km per year (actually some years closer to 60,000) so they were changed regularly (usually annually, some sooner). Also a second car for the family and sometimes a third for fun or for the kids. And of course the cars that I grew up driving.

    My experience with malaise era vehicles and mini-vans is rather extensive.

    My car history over the past 40+ years (in no particular order):
    VW Beetle (2)
    Chev Caprice (2)
    Cadillac Eldorado: a 1959 convertible, a true icon !!!!!!
    Ford Thunderbird
    Ford Pinto wagon
    VW 4 series wagon
    Chrysler van
    Chev Corvette
    Pontiac Gran Prix
    Honda Civic (3)
    Honda Accord
    Honda Civic Wagovan (with realtime AWD)
    Lincoln Town Car (took my driver’s exam in this)
    Dodge Caravan (4)
    Pontiac Montana (3)
    Pontiac Montana SV6
    Chev Malibu
    Kia Rondo
    Hyundai Sonata
    Buick Allure (Lacrosse in the USA)
    Lincoln Mark IV
    Chrysler Cordoba
    Olds Cutlass
    Ford Explorer
    Datsun 210
    Ford Gran Torino Elite
    Jeep Gran Cherokee

    With a few exceptions sales reps and family vehicles, typical North American road warriors.

  • avatar

    I’m expecting delivery of my Vette convertible in the next few weeks with a manual….after I break it in, I’d certainly consider allowing TTAC to do a drive and review…I live in the downstate NY area, if your interested.

  • avatar
    Frank Galvin

    I’d love to write up my 2013 Fusion 1.6 with the stick. 28,000 miles it in a little under one year of ownership. Had to go to Vermont to find it. Wanted the Focus ST, the wife pleaded for a sedan.

  • avatar
    Will in MKE

    I like the concept of reviewing readers’ cars. Sorry, I have nothing new enough that fits the bill. I would love to see a MK7 Golf reviewed if there are any on offer to TTAC later this summer when they come out.

    (Side note pet peeve: Derek, please stop misusing the word ‘myself’ – its proper use is as a reflexive pronoun. ‘I’ is proper use in this case.)

  • avatar

    This could be interesting, but we would have to arrange for track time to review the vehicles that I and owners ‘might’ offer up.

    None have more then 6-pds. per Hp and a couple have just 3-pds. But you would have to find the phantom state of Jefferson’s only track… Thunder Hill.

    No ‘Cup Holder’ reviews… please, and bring a current ‘SA’ helmet and sign a hold harmless release.

    And catch me while you can, this is a bucket list year for me. After the last build leaves the shop, sailing this Summer from Seattle to SF, then SD, on to Cabo, Panama, Chile, and Tahiti. Tahiti is the bucket list goal. Been to the rest when I round The Horn some thirty years ago, now. Hard to believe, seems like last year.

    Hey! How about an offshore review of a Nauticat 42′ pilothouse ketch.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s a tank, narrow waterline results in soft motion through the waves, narrowish stern is not susceptible to waves steering it around and also helps sliding down the back of a wave with grace. The salon provides protection during passages. The midboom sheeting opens up the cockpit but you will not get the leech tension to go close to the wind. Which probably does not matter because you are cruising with furling sails. The boat is a great fit for its intended purpose but it does not cross the boundaries of a common cruiser.

      If you were doublehanding Gunboat 55 I’d be really interested in your review. Good luck on your trip.

      • 0 avatar

        COL! Well that is one way to describe a boat, not exactly marine architecture terms, but works to a degree, Stumpmaster.

        The Gunboat ’55’ is a hell of a boat, but all cats have some serious drawbacks when passage making. I have turtled my share of cats, and doing that in the open ocean in one you can’t right, is to be avoided when one can. In a bad blow with breaking seas it is hard to control a cats speed, and that spells big trouble. And we won’t even get into windage and the tendency to lift into the air.

        Nigel has done a commendable job in addressing some of these in the purpose built ’55’ design, making it a serious contender for a fast Blue water passage maker.

        The plus of a cat is of course, plenty of room, relatively flat sailing in a cruiser, and speed for running away from trouble/storms, unless it is overburdened as most cruising cats are. Great boats, though, for the Caribe, Aegean, Baltics, and Med, too bad they are so expensive to build and buy.

        We occasionally charter a cat in the Caribe, if we have a large party.

        Starting tomorrow, we begin a 3-4 day raft trip down the Wild and Scenic Rogue, so there is a boat for every type of use.–E–E

  • avatar

    I have a 2004 C5 Z06 with 14k on the odo. You’re more than welcome to come to upstate new york and have a rip

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