By on June 30, 2016

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Here at TTAC, it’s been a tradition of sorts to call out poor examples of car reviews. In fact, we’ve done it so often over the years that I wondered if doing it again would be overkill. There’s such a multitude of miserably bad car reviewers on the minor car blogs of the Internet that it hardly seemed worth pointing out yet another case.

Well, I did wonder that. Then I read some reviews by Tim Esterdahl of Car Revs Daily. I wondered no longer.

Let’s examine some of his recent work, shall we? First up, Timmy’s review of the 2016 Dodge Durango Citadel.

We’ll ignore the randomly placed gallery with images of completely different sizes, as difficult as it may be for us to to do. Instead, we’ll focus on the prose.

“One of the great things about the Dodge brand is how they can take one product and completely change it with features and styling upgrades. A great example of this is the 2016 Dodge Durango Citadel with its luxurious interior materials, plethora of features and great exterior styling touches. It almost feels like a completely different vehicle and not a Durango at all.”

Might wanna chill on the thesaurus.com there, sir. Also, Tim and the Oxford comma have yet to be introduced. That final sentence sounds like something you’d say if your mom caught you driving a Durango against her explicit instructions. 

“No, Mom! It was a completely different vehicle and not a Durango at all!” 

Tim has more to say about the Durango:

“This SUV could easily be a BMW or Lexus competitor, yet with the Durango badge and a starting price of $30,495, it has to be hard to move consumers all the way up to the $50,670 price point of my test model Citadel (base price is $41,295). On the flip side, it has to be difficult to get luxury customers to take a serious look at the Citadel when they are getting pampered at luxury dealerships.”

On the flip side? Doesn’t that normally mean that you’re saying something that’s the opposite of what you were previously saying? Not following you there, Tim.

“On the road, the Citadel really shines. Its 3.6L V6 mated to a 8-speed transmission feels powerful and spritely. Steering wheel input is really responsive for this size vehicle, braking is smooth and road noise is really diminished thanks to additional noise-dampening materials engineers have integrated into the SUV. The powertrain is simple well balanced and the 295 HP with 260 lb-ft of torque does not disappoint.

However, if you are one of those who wishes for more speed, Dodge has added a new Sport mode this year which changes the throttle response and transmission shift points to give you more speed off the line. I tried this feature many times and found it really unnecessary.”

Tim is really impressed by the Durango. In fact, he used the word “really” eleven times in just this one review. That’s really not good.

Tim sums up the Durango with some nebulous praise.

The 2016 Dodge Durango Citadel is pretty good as is and consumers should definitely be shopping for it.

It’s pretty, pretty, pretty good. Well, hell—I’m going to the Dodge store right now. I should definitely be shopping for one!

Let’s see what Tim has to say about another car — the 2016 Nissan Altima SL.

“Now in its 5th generation the refreshed 2016 Nissan Altima features a host of styling improvements seen in the V-motion grille with boomerang-shaped headlights carried through the back officially called an “Energetic Flow” by Nissan. Equipped with new sheet metal as well as new front/rear bumpers, headlights and taillights, the Altima is much more stylish than past iterations of the sedan.

Inside the styling upgrades again focused on creating a more stylish look and the Altima is much less bland than prior iterations of the sedan.”

Hold the fucking phone there, Senator. You mean to tell me that it’s much more stylish and much less bland than prior iterations? Let’s be honest, Tim — you had a minimum word count to get paid for this review, didn’t you?

In the opening paragraph, Tim says the following:

“While critics bemoan its lack of pep, after a week behind the wheel, it’s hard to understand what they are talking about.”

Way down the page, after a bizarre gallery of images of varying sizes, Tim has this to say:

“While the peppiness could be improved, it is hard to ignore on the EPA estimated 39 MPG highway fuel economy found in the 4-cylinder 2016 Nissan Altima (27 city/31 combined).”

I’m confused. Is it peppy or is it not peppy? Who still says “peppy?”

Again, Tim has some rather vague comments celebrating the Altima (also known as the most bland and boring of all mid-sized sedans).

“It won’t blow you away with any one feature versus the competition, yet it simply does everything fairly well. Isn’t that what we are really looking for anyway?”

Maybe if I got a free car delivered to my house for a week, I’d be looking for that. If I had to spend a whopping $32,510 of my own money on this piece of shit, I might be looking for just a bit more.

How about this gem from Tim’s BMW 750I review?

“Let’s talk about the voluminous list of features I keep eluding too.”

Two (or maybe too) usage errors in one sentence! I yield to your superior writing skills, sir.

But all of this is just a lead up to Tim’s true Tour de Force, his review of the 2016 Jeep Cherokee Latitude 75th Anniversary Edition.

Kick back and enjoy this fucking poetry.

“There are iconic vehicles out there and then there are Jeep vehicles. You literally can’t say the word iconic without referencing a Jeep. In fact, describing what an iconic vehicle is to someone who doesn’t know immediately brings up the example of a Jeep. And what happens when an iconic vehicle reaches a milestone like 75 years in production. Well then, you fill it with Jeep iconic badging, offer it in green, accent the exterior with bronze and orange and challenge people to find some open-air, dirt and a smile. The 75th Anniversary Jeep Cherokee hits all those marks.”

I literally can’t say the word iconic without referencing a Jeep? Hmm. Let’s give it a whirl, shall we?

“Bear Bryant’s houndstooth hat was an iconic piece of fashion.” No Jeep reference required!

“Kim Kardashian’s ass is easily her most iconic feature.” Did I make a Wrangler reference and just not realize it?

Also, can you tone down your SEO, brah? We all get it. It’s a Jeep. Jeep Jeep Jeepity Jeep!

“On the road, it is quite literally doesn’t share any of the ride characteristics of its 1941 brethren trading the bumpy ride for a very smooth one.”

I don’t even know what that was.

“Basically, the 2016 Jeep Cherokee Latitude is a Jeep SUV with the heart of a legendary product. It rides smooth, returns good fuel economy and has a roomy interior, yet it can and will gladly get dirty. Plus, wrap it in Recon Green and it even looks like a Jeep. It is quite simply one of the best SUVs on the market that just so happens to also be a Jeep.”

Did you hear that, guys? IT’S A JEEP THAT LOOKS LIKE A JEEP! JEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!

Despite all the Jeepiness of this Jeep, I’m fairly certain that its Jeepy little heart is based on the same platform as the Dodge Dart. Oh, Jeep.

If it were just the unavoidable fact that Tim’s a rather substandard writer, I think I’d be more likely to give him a pass. No, it’s not just his deficiencies with the written word that bother me. It’s his willingness to sell his opinions to the highest bidder.

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Zero integrity — ACHIEVED! Let’s take a look at the Twitter feed.

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Oh yeah! Free promo for the OEM! It’s a garbage pic, but still — OMG THEY RETWEETED ME!

So why should you care that Tim is a terrible, unethical writer?

First of all, if you read any of Tim’s reviews — well, don’t — but if you do, you’ll see that he has never said a negative thing about a car in his life. Not one. The entire purpose of any car review is to help the consumer determine which cars are worth his or her valuable time to research further.

The consumer shopping process typically goes something like this:

Reviews —> Third-party classified site —> OEM site —> Dealer site —> showroom visit

What in God’s name could anybody determine from reading such a review?

Secondly, there are only so many press cars and junket invites to go around. OEMs have to be selective in handing out invites. For every Tim Esterdahl invite that goes out, there’s a Matt Farah who doesn’t get one. Every car that gets delivered to his driveway can’t be reviewed by an actual journalist that week. That ends up hurting you, the consumer.

You can help in the battle against reviewers like Tim — and believe me, he’s not the only one. The next time you research a car, don’t give these jokers any clicks. Stick with outlets that are willing to tell, well, you know…the Truth.

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243 Comments on “Bark’s Bites: Meet The Worst Car Reviewer Of All Time...”


  • avatar
    Kenmore

    For macho guys, them Baruths is pretty catty.

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      It’s going to take a little more effort, but soon one will win this addition to his bio, and then there will be full convergence of what I read online:

      “The Milo Yiannopoulos of straight car columnists.”

    • 0 avatar
      PRNDLOL

      This is a mean-spirited point and laugh article.
      I read less than half before I decided I was done reading it.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        while I’m usually against piling on, I kinda see the point here. The problem with poor or dishonest reviewers is that *people still listen to them.*

        • 0 avatar
          brenschluss

          I don’t think articles like this are strictly necessary, but I have no problem with them existing.

          If you produce garbage and present it to the public as quality work, you will be mocked. People who do things badly and don’t recognize it don’t deserve to be coddled.

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            When an author manages to elude his list of features, he is so far beyond the pale (and the pail) that it is inevitable that he will evoke giggles and snickers from far and wide.

            Sort of like Miss Teenage America North Carolina offering up a geography lesson.

            When something is truly awful, as the original reviewer’s work is, it is fair game to call it out as being beyond just weak writing…one can question whether it is even writing at all, and not just a bunch of mindless babbling in search of a word count and a check.

            This is NOT like making fun of an athlete in the Special Olympics…this is just a case of saying that when something is so far below even mediocre that it almost begs for a critique.

            This is not a case of a pedantic English Lit professor crushing the sincere efforts of a budding would-be novelist. This is a more than competent author with an above average command of English pointing out how there are people out there getting paid who have no business whatsoever pretending to be able to write.

            Or in other words, such writers are professionals only because they get paid…no other qualification whatsoever is visible in his usage of the English language. And as such, they deserve to be called out for what they are, and are not.

      • 0 avatar
        TOTitan

        I agree. Check out Riverside Green Featuring: Jack B. and Bark M. for a closer look at who the Baruths are

      • 0 avatar
        daviel

        We’ll never get that time back. Bark should be reviewed for bad choices in articles.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Foley

      When you submit an article for publication, and you accept payment for it, then by definition, you are a professional writer, and you should be held to professional standards.

      So while I may disagree with Mark’s profane ranting against inept autocross corner workers, I am in wholehearted agreement with his profane ranting against inept professional writers. Well done!

      I’m surprised Tim didn’t sprinkle a few “aplombs” and “bespokes” in there, because that makes you sound really really really intelligent when you’re writing about cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “bespokes” – is that like a um an epic 2 spoke wheel?

        • 0 avatar
          FOG

          No Lou, bespokes aren’t as good as aspokes but quite a bit better than dspokes.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            (::Drink shooting out nose!::)

            Classic!

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            bespokes is what holds bewheels in place at the correct distance from the beaxle when you are making a beline down the road, while attempting to allude to another point, all the while running the bejesus out of your iconic beemer. Believe me when I tell you that…

            Just be careful you don’t run over none of them there aplombs that might be lying in the middle of the road, in case they fell off of Bubba’s truck.

        • 0 avatar

          It’s like more custom than custom.

      • 0 avatar
        SSJeep

        GAAAAHHHHHH can people (especially professionals) please stop with the @ (ampersand) and # (hashtag) references in everything they say? It is getting ridiculous. No one cares about hashtags, nor will they search Google using them, which is their original intended purpose. They have absolutely no place in professional reviewing or writing.

        @dodgeofficial #journey? @gof#%k #yourself

  • avatar
    JimZ

    sounds like your average car reviewer for pretty much any mainstream newspaper.

  • avatar
    threeer

    This was a really iconic post! (And three minutes of time I’ll never get back).

    Really.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    So, not a fan, then?

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    No one worse than that Saabkyle guy, worst car reviewer ever. Boring human being and feels like he knows nothing about cars and is just basically reading you the owner’s manual and the press release and spec sheet they give him. He is the Ben Stein of automotive reviewers. BTSR on the other hand may be a lot of things but his reviews are pretty honest and entertaining.

    90% of the car reviews out there are worthless to be honest, the professional guys are at the mercy of the manufacturers and like the access they get and the nice places to stay at. The minute you say you can’t release your review until the manufacturer tells you that you can and you heed an embargo, your reviews can’t be trusted. Alex Dykes in my opinion is probably one of the most thorough and best reviewers out there and covers all the points.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      +1 for Alex Dykes.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Nice of Jack to remind us how spoiled we’ve been at TTAC with the quality and integrity of reviewers.

        • 0 avatar

          GODDAMNIT IT’S ME NOT JACK

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Oh, crap, I confused the brothers. Sorry! Please take it as a complement – your brother’s a helluva writer.

            Also. Because you are a great writer too. And, you are a really special person, and unique in your own iconic way and a wonderful guy with your whole future ahead of you.

            Why? Because you’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and Gosh darn it! people like you.

          • 0 avatar

            #iconic

          • 0 avatar
            JustPassinThru

            #VoGo

            OMFG! I literally LOL’d! That’s like really, really iconic!

          • 0 avatar
            dukeisduke

            Lol.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Tyme for a really really Iconic Group Huggg.

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            Bark, I can’t decide if some are just too oblivious to the fact that you are not one and the same, or if perhaps some of them do it in feigned ignorance, as a way to push your buttons.

            And while I am in full agreement with DeadWeight when he opines about Cadillac, I totally disagree with his assessment of your experience in the auto business. I found it interesting, and in a couple of places genuinely informative.

            Non illegitimi carborundum, Bark.

            But please, are you ever going to let us in on why one day you were transformed from Mark B. to Bark M.? I am sure that there is an interesting story in there, if only you are willing to share it.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        +2 for Alex Dykes.

        There are different ways to be a good car reviewer. The extremely informative style of Alex is great. The glib style of Jack is intended to be one part information and two parts entertainment, and that’s fine too. There’s room for a spectrum of styles. What’s not okay is whoring yourself out, which was Farago’s founding principle for this site. Bark is obviously shooting slow, fat fish in a barrel here for cheap laughs, but at least he gets them (literally!) and in service of a legitimate point.

      • 0 avatar
        kuman

        +1 for Alex Dykes too. He is good.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I think Saabkyle has gone downhill as his fame has headed uphill. His best was when he was telling you about old, out of production cars. You could tell he was most excited not by a Lambo, but by a Roadmaster Limited.

    • 0 avatar

      THANK YOU

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      Dykes’ commercial van reviews in particular were awesome.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I really want to do some sort of report of my findings in the destructive testing environment that is rural Siberia, I think folks here might get a big kick out of it, and might start appreciating just how much awesome infrastructure and roads we have here in the States! My bizarre obsession with suspension durability, ride comfort, and ground clearance might start to make a whole lot more sense :)

        Plus who doesn’t want to see mountains of photos of cool JDM Land Cruisers, Patrols, and Pajeros, mixed in with rough and tumble Russian cars, set to the backdrop of Rust-Belt-itis and untamed wilderness of unimaginable scale?

        Re: reviews

        Dykes is one of my favorites, Jack’s rental reviews are up there too. Really, any review of an ‘every day’ car seem to get the most interesting debate among the B&B, as well as reviews of people’s daily drivers and such.

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          Gtemnykh, I’d like to see some of those Siberian road tests.

          Also, do you know if it is a widespread thing to fill car doors with used motor oil, as a way to insulate the vehicle from extreme cold.

          It was reported by the Tappet Brothers, aka Click and Clack, aka Tom and Ray Magliozzi of Cambridge MA, that they used to have a do it yourself garage, and that a Russian car owner brought in his sedan, a sixties vintage GM “lead sled”, and that the car dripped motor oil from the frame.

          When they inquired, they found out that he did it to insulate the vehicle.

          Sounded strange, but might make sense in sub zero Fahrenheit temperatures.

          Is that common, or was that one guy just doing some personal creative engineering?4

    • 0 avatar
      Paragon

      I very much agree that our friend Alex Dykes is one of the most thorough and best reviewers out there. Definitely. If I really want to know just about everything possible to know about a certain vehicle, I have to get Alex’s review of said vehicle. I still appreciate and get value from most all other reviews, too, because I am willing to get other folks perspectives, in order to weigh the pro and cons of a vehicle. But I know I can count on Alex to provide adequate info about most every aspect of a vehicle you might want to know about. Because not everybody is that thorough.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    I wonder if he actually drives the cars he reviews? Any hack could write those “reviews” starting with nothing more than the mfg. website.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “Who still says ‘peppy?’ ”

    My mom. Which is likely his target audience. He is the Buick North America of car reviewing.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Does he not have an editor? I mean, he’s got no writing talent whatsoever, but any editor worth his salt would choke on his own horror over the repeated use of “really” in a sentence.

  • avatar
    maserchist

    I had a pet goose when I was little, wait for it…His name was…. Jeep !

  • avatar
    greenbrierdriver

    Yikes! A product of typing things on social media I suppose. No proof-reading, no sentence structure and no actual content. Oh, no photo skills, either. Even with a phone-cam, one should realize that you take a picture that uses the light to show the subject. I don’t want to see the side of the JEEP!!!! that is in the shadows and shows me nothing. That Nissan photo was even worse. Ugh. Really, Really bad. Seriously.

  • avatar
    FOG

    Writers like Tim give me hope. If he gets paid for what just made my eyes bleed, the TTAC peeps should get raises. How do I get my own column? I have some really, really, really iconic things to say (and could use the extra cash).

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    This is my favorite Bark article. Far too many garbage automotive writers out there who use words like “really” and “literally” without a thought to grammar/context/relevance. And they manage this while maintaining integrity equal to an Enron accountant.

    But even on this very site, sometimes such reviews slip through the filter and make it to the front page. And in those moments, it’s definitely not amazeballs.

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      I see what you did there.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      I searched for that review after reading your comment and it is nowhere to be found on TTAC anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Wow, closed to new comment AND deleted. Now that’s a first (I think). But it’s still posted here.

        https://www.auto123.com/en/car-reviews/2016-mini-cooper-s-clubman/62066/

        Her other articles include “Three Reasons To Use Your Turn Signal,” and “Will Your Car Get You Laid?”

        http://www.automoblog.net/author/mirandal/

        • 0 avatar
          JuniperBug

          She’s local to me, and another one appeared in the local paper and its attendant Facebook feed about how she took a (single-day, in-town) “road trip” in a Mercedes and discovered that single mothers should join the “lifestyle” of owning overpriced 4 cylinder Mercedes crossovers. Her praise included swooning over the fact that it easily climbed a hilly street. Because, apparently, the average car can’t do that.

  • avatar
    BlueEr03

    I really enjoyed this article. It was really really iconic and had much more pep than the prior version from 1950. Although it was two long it was like a completely different article. It did a lot of things pretty well, so I want too thank you for your hard work and isn’t that what we all really really want in a car review?

  • avatar
    SomeGuy

    I don’t support this junk reviewing at all. Listen to The Smoking Tire where RegularCar Reviews was on there for the first time, they talk about how press events from the eyes of someone who was an average joe. It makes these sort of reviews less surprising; however, to be fair, this mediocre reviewer will never garner a following like Matt Farah. Farah is legit as a writer and reviewer. OEMs will go to where the eyeballs will.

    I’ll be honest Mark, I don’t like these style of articles. This stuff is below you guys and this site to be honest.

  • avatar
    Dingleberrypiez_Returns

    This guy is obviously a shill and a pretty poor writer, but I don’t see the point of ripping his review line by line. Seems pretty childish to me, and really not very interesting or entertaining after the first few paragraphs. But I’m sure it’ll generate page views and comments, so nice work there Bark.
    Also, does anyone else remember that mini cooper review here on TTAC a few weeks back? That was at least as bad.

    • 0 avatar
      koreancowboy

      Instead of wasting time writing articles about your opinion of a fellow writer, Bark could have used that time to send him an email with some pointers.

      You don’t think that he’s a good writer? Awesome, go and help him out.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        This. Because everyone I know is just sitting around waiting for a stranger to send them an email telling them how to improve their shoddy work. I know I do.

        If only someone would tell me what a hack I am at my job, I would immediately use all their advice and improve myself. That’s exactly how performance improvement works.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “Bark could have used that time to send him an email with some pointers.”

        it is illegal to tell someone to remove themselves from the Gene pool.

      • 0 avatar
        jpolicke

        There are these places called college that used to specialize in that sort of assistance. For that matter, high schools with academic standards.

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        I think that with the density of errors, and the mindless confusion of things like allude/elude, the writer is beyond help.

        Help is what you do when someone is doing OK, but could do better.

        Ridicule is what comes naturally when someone is in way over his head, but is clueless about that fact.

        That review couldn’t have gotten a D in a seventh grade English class in an American school in an economically disadvantaged school district.

        An F is an F is an F…

  • avatar
    JustPassinThru

    Okay…let’s see. The guy’s impaired with vocabulary – even with really liberal use of an iconic tool like a thesaurus, he really can’t, like, get past the airhead social-media dialect. OMFG.

    And the imbecile likewise advertises himself FOR SALE – like a girl on the corner of Jones & Geary. This surprises us?

    He’s an idiot. I give him props for trying, in this day and age where the jobs open to his ilk, assembly-line or maintenance, are hard to come by…but he really needs to keep on applying to Ford, Honda, Acme Widget…Goodwill Industries…Alaska salmon canneries…

    Writing car reviews is not going to be his bailiwick.

  • avatar

    Isn’t it iconic? Don’t you think?

  • avatar
    Rhiadon

    “Let’s talk about the voluminous list of features I keep eluding too.”

    I think he meant

    “Let’s talk about the voluminous list of features I keep avoiding as well”

    Maybe not. :)

  • avatar
    Steve Lynch

    He ranks right down there with G. Chambers Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the King of Rewriting the Press Releases.

    But get this: Williams is actually syndicated and has his wife and daughter writing car reviews in his style.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    A coworker and I nearly got into a shouting match over use of the Oxford Comma.

    People who don’t use it are as bad as people who don’t use their turn signals. Sure, we can all figure out what you’re saying/doing but it makes life easier for everyone else if you just friggin’ use it!

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      The Oxford Comma was discouraged by journalism professors, at least in the mid-1980s; and was vetoed in many newspaper stylebooks at the same time. Me, I learned to write without it – unless, of course, it changes the meaning or flow of the sentence.

      The good writer (and some not-so-good keyboard hacks, like moi) develops an ear. He can read back what he wrote; listen with his mind’s ear and understand if it flows, plods or grates (Look! No Oxford Comma!)

      This guy can’t understand that his prose is doing an amateur break-dance and crashing into the backdrop wall…

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      Paralleling the Oxford comma is the ongoing debate amongst coders and programmers over whether to use the Tab key or fixed spaces to indent code.

      Whole divisions will argue over this, when all they have to do is agree to use a standard tabwidth setting, preserving intended appearance, while eliminating the need for extra keystrokes.

      Easy to see which side I was on.

      But really, what happens when your code goes to four or five indent levels? Suppose your indent standard is just four spaces…you end up fat fingering sixteen or twenty keystrokes per line, instead of four or five.

      Still the battle raged on.

      I suspect J-school profs deprecate the Oxford comma is because that is what the AP stylebook dictates.

      I seem to recall college English professors mostly accepting either style, but demanding consistency.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Bark is shooting fish in a barrel with this posting, literally!

    In reality prior to the internet, in the popular media there was probably no such thing as automotive journalism.

    Every new model of a vehicle was a quantum improvement over the previous model.

    Consumers were always better off buying the loaded version, regardless of the make or type.

    And no autos from big advertisers were ever flagged as dogs or lemons or losers.

    And if I stay on the right side of the media people from the auto manufacturer then I will keep receiving free drives, trips to exotic destinations and loads of swag.

    Thankfully, instead of the drivel that was previously foisted on us, we can now actually read ‘the truth about cars’ (nice tag line, eh?).

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      “Bark is shooting fish in a barrel with this posting, literally!”

      Yeah.

      Ain’t it great? Nothing brings the commentariat together like a good lynching bee…

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        Crap, now we need a new barrel, because this one’s got bullet holes in it, and the fish are a mess. What idiot decided shooting fish would be a good idea, anyway?

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I wonder how he got to become Associate Editor Tim Esterdahl at tundraheadquarters dot com ?

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Here’s an interview:

      AYH – So you replied to a Craigslist ad and got a job as a full fledged auto writer?

      AYH What’s been the most memorable fun experience you’ve had in your career?

      TE – I had an especially memorable experience last month in fact. Through my automotive contacts I was able to get my father, a long-time GM employee, a special life-time achievement award.

      http://www.carnewscafe.com/2014/08/auto-writer-truck-snob-interview-tim-esterdahl/

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        So they ask what his family does in the auto industry.

        He says, “I don’t want to tell and name names.”

        Later, “I was able to get my father, a long time GM employee… we had lunch with #name# and #name#.”

        Errrr. And lifetime is not a hyphenated word. I think he fabricated this interview on his own.

        “…private lunch”

        In the main dining room of a restaurant, where there’s a table with people being served -literally- two tables away. That’s not private.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @mcs –

        DAMN.

        I thought you were making sh!t up.

        He has a Journalism Degree.

  • avatar
    319583076

    This is the second “Three Amigos” reference I’ve come across this morning. I watched that movie last night.

    Miller was right, plate of shrimp!

  • avatar
    NotFast

    I can write better than that, and like cars. Where do I sign up to get free press cars?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I good writin’ and shiz, where iz ma wheels?

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        You’ll find if you really apply yourself to making interesting and comparative evaluations of cars, too good skills to have then literally the OEM will contact you to write for them. You will be really an iconic writer in no times.

        On the flipside, you could write even better to, and find more OEM wants to share your Tweets literally constantly.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I call shenanigans, these people are marketing wolves in the vein of Glengarry Glen Ross and they are interested in average level writers to whore for them.

          Coffee’s for closers.

  • avatar
    nsk

    I think this hit piece is well deserved. There are “Tim Esterdahl” types writing about all sorts of industries. The guy should be relegated to writing for hotel lifestyle magazines.

    That said, you missed a couple gems in the excerpt starting, “On the road, the Citadel really…” 1. The regular spelling is sprightly, so I’m guessing the writer wanted us to think of the car as fizzy and redolent of lemons and limes. 2. Damping is what happens when noise is suppressed. Dampening is what happens when you wet your pants.

    • 0 avatar

      There’s so much to talk about that I couldn’t fit it all in under 1500 words. Trust me, there’s a plethora of errors that I could have mentioned.

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      “The guy should be relegated to writing for hotel lifestyle magazines.”

      The guy should be relegated to swamping out trendy bars, mornings.

      He has zero talent, zero integrity and he got the job off Craigslist – obviously picked by someone who’s nearly as talent-deprived and tin-eared as is Timmy.

      Twenty years ago I couldn’t break into the field and this cretin falls right in, about twelve levels beyond his competence.

      Life ain’t fair – you know that?

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        Yeah life isn’t fair.

        Just consider what the last contract was for Ted Williams, the last .400 hitter in baseball, vs. for example A-Rod’s last contract, or the ones even more egregious that have come since.

        Ditto for old school football players. And basketball.

        And computer scientists who just missed the first wave, but later were superceded by new grads with less knowledge.

        That’s life.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      nsk – That mid corner frost heave unsettled the chassis due to poor damping and the addition of neophytic lifting of the accelerator caused a roll over which resulted in dampening of one’s pants.

  • avatar
    mtmmo

    The ONLY car reviews I have ever found to have merit were done by one of the Baruth brothers or a guy I recently came across on youtube named Steve Hammes. I would also add BTSR but I’ve only seen a handful of his video’s to date. I do like that just like the others he doesn’t pull any punches. If he thinks a car is disappointing/sucks he says it loud and clear. No tip toeing around manufacturer’s feelings for any of these guys. A rarity in today’s environment.

  • avatar
    daviel

    I stop reading at the words “ubiquitous” , appears a lot in the NYT, and “iconic.” After watching TV this week, I stop reading, and change channels at “terribly wrong.”

  • avatar

    I found this article to be pretty pretty pretty good.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Wow, I think that Tim belongs at Motor Trend. Really.

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      Yup.

      What was it David E. Davis used to say when he was snarky? Point to your head and say the initials of Motor Trend.

      • 0 avatar

        In regards to the late great Mr. Davis and Motor Trend…

        I wonder what ever happened to Ron Grable? DED held him in high regard. If he’s not doing anything maybe he could do a few tech articles around here.

        • 0 avatar
          JustPassinThru

          The old crowd is gone.

          DED is gone; Jean Lindamood turned into a backstabbing c**t; Pat Bedard is retired. Brock Yates is a vegetable in an Alzheimer’s ward. Rich Ceppos has become a flaming uber-liberal. Larry Griffith suffered mental problems and died of unstated illnesses – alone in a charity ward of a public hospital.

          It’s depressing, really. Especially since I really developed an interest in creative writing when, as a teen, I started getting C/D…about the time Davis came back to it as editor.

          • 0 avatar
            dukeisduke

            It’s sad, really. The late, great Jean Shepherd wrote a column there in the early ’70s, that always had me laughing out loud.

          • 0 avatar
            baconator

            Didn’t know that about Griffith – sad. He wrote some great things back in the day.

        • 0 avatar
          dukeisduke

          Someone at C/D once made a snarky remark about the brains of the writers at Motor Trend. He said something like, “Repeat the initials, MT, MT, MT…” Anyway, you get it.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Did anyone at Motor Trend reply by noting the morals of the guys at CD?

          • 0 avatar
            JustPassinThru

            IIRC, someone at Motor Trend did respond once. In a Letter to the Editor in C/D…he wrote to Davis:

            “…when you’re right, you’re right, but when you’re seedy, you’re really C/D!”

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        The Peter Principle: You rise to your highest level of incompetency.

  • avatar
    shaker

    “There are moronic vehicles out there and then there are Jeep vehicles. You literally can’t say the word moronic without referencing a Jeep. In fact, describing what an moronic vehicle is to someone who doesn’t know immediately brings up the example of a Jeep. And what happens when an moronic vehicle reaches a milestone like 75 years in production. Well then, you fill it with Jeep moronic badging, offer it in green, accent the exterior with bronze and orange and challenge people to find some open-air, dirt and a smile. The 75th Anniversary Jeep Cherokee hits all those marks.”

    Couldn’t help doing a “Find/Replace” on that.

    (No intended offense to the “Jeepsters” out there.)

  • avatar
    Troggie42

    There are only three places I go for car reviews. Here, the aforementioned Farah, and Regular Car Reivews. Ol’ Timmy here is gonna have to work mighty hard to break in to my inner circle of automotive educational entertainment. He can start by learning how to lambast crap vehicles like Nissan’s entire lineup.

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatist

      I wish this guy would do some new reviews, I find them very entertaining.

      https://drivingontheright.com

      (Can’t be sure if he’s satirizing conservatives or tweaking liberals –but the reviewd are great.)

  • avatar
    don1967

    Talk about killing a fly with a hammer. Compared to this, the New York Times goes easy on Donald Trump.

    Now I’m thinking that this Esterdahl guy, who I’d never heard of before today, must really be onto something.

  • avatar
    Rick T.

    I guess after writing ‘Showgirls’ he had to find another line of work. What’s that? It’s Esterdahl, not Eszterhas? Ok, never mind.

    Is no one else picking up on the elude vs. allude?

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    Hey, now. In Minnesota, “pretty good” is just about the highest honor we can bestow on a car, right above “not too bad a deal.” The hierarchy is thus:

    Pretty good
    Not too bad a deal
    Fine
    Not too good a deal
    Well, it beats walking

  • avatar
    pb35

    This dude is the John Davis of print!

    “Well hello again and welcome to Motorweek! We’re glad to have you with us.”

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      That poor old man. He’s so tired of doing that show these past thirty five odd years. I wonder if it will just be cancelled when he retires / passes away.

      • 0 avatar
        philadlj

        As someone who grew up watching MotorWeek alongside Vila, Abrams, Ross, Rogers and Child, I take exception to this comparison! He’s a Maryland Public Television institution.

        Davis & Co.’s factual (if usually criticism-free) car reviews fueled my enthusiasm for cars, to the point I now have the thoroughly useless skill of naming every make and model on the road when called upon to do so (which is rarely).

        If Davis IS sick of it, he’s doing a better job of hiding it than Pat Sajak. That guy’s contempt seeps through the screen like Sadako in The Ring.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          “naming every make and model on the road”

          I remember being proudly able to do that when I was around 8 or 9. My older brothers’ pals thought I was pretty cool.

          But if I were that age today… no way without seeing badges or a front view of the stand-out uglies.

          So many manufacturers making so many CAFE’d blobmobiles.

        • 0 avatar
          Rick T.

          Heard him say the other night: “Have a nice trip over to the letter board, Vanna!”

          My wife has it on and I can’t unhear it.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Take it back!!!

      John Davis is a legend.

      My favorite was the UAZ review back in 1994 when a crazy person was scheming of importing them to the States, and installing Our Lord and Savior (GM 3800 OHV) in the engine bay!!

      linkhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFJ-3evD2XM

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      Nah, John Davis is just so upbeat in his delivery that even when he dings a car, it sounds like a compliment –

      Dr. John Davis: “YOU have CANCER!”

      Patient: “Gee, thanks, I guess.”

    • 0 avatar
      Paragon

      Yeah, I know he’s been around, like, forever. But he seems like a likeable guy. Not quick to bash a vehicle for some relatively minor infraction. He’s just a basic information kind of guy.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s not anywhere near fair to John Davis. He may not be the most critical reviewer on the planet, but he’s old-school and knows how to write a grammatically correct sentence. He also gave a job to Joe Ligo, a very talented young guy who made a great documentary about the AMC Pacer. I’ve met John a few times at auto shows and he’s always friendly and gracious.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I don’t think he’s actually writing the articles. This may just be an experiment (probably by Google) to see if an SEO fodder generating script can generate more clicks and revenue than a flesh n blood human journalist meat bag. Given the crapload of hits Bark M. just gave them I’m gonna say their plan is working :)

    I can LITERALLY count the number of auto reviewers I really trust on one hand…. which is much bigger and dexterous than the iteration of that hand I had 20 years ago.

  • avatar

    How about all the “journalists” that are invited regularly on new model launch junkets by the manufacturers and paid by the manufacturers.

    How about the manufacturers that have an iron clad control on who has access to their press vehicles?

    Some cars are downright miserable, and sell a ton. Does the average consumer really care about reviews? Or does the average consumer care more about the “deal”.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      The “average consumer” just wants affirmation that the POS they purchased is not a complete POS.
      Smile and wave boys. Smile and wave.

      I learned that one the hard way. People ask me my opinion on a vehicle then they walk away all butt hurt because I pointed out to them that the one they want is sh!tty.

      What I do now is do the research and send cut and paste/links and tell them to look it over and make up their own minds.
      Even that backfires. My wife’s best friend asked my opinion on SUV’s. I sent her all of the information. Her husband is a Chevy guy but all of the literature I dug up showed what he wanted wasn’t even top 3 in any test. She goes and tells him, “I’m not buying that one since Lou says this one is the best.”

      just can’t f^ckin’ win.

  • avatar

    I would like to think I put more contextual effort into a 2000-character Seller’s Notes on a ’95 Volvo than this guy does. Really.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      You always put effort into your product, but in the case of a certain MY95 Volvo I’m not seeing much of a text description ;)

      Additional: How did you get a police car still with a lightbar and cow catcher up front? Did someone restore this before you bought it?

      • 0 avatar

        Ha. Forgot to write that one. Shows how smart I am…

        The patrol car was at Greater Tampa Bay. I couldn’t believe it was all dressed up like that. It was owned by NextGear Capital, a floorplan company, who seized it from some little dirt lot in Tampa that lost its floorplan. I don’t know why THEY had it, but obviously I had to buy it.

        Without all the kit, its a $2200 car maybe. With it? I stood there with my hand up and paid $3250 just because.

        I’ve seen (and bought) a few before with spotlights and pushbars, even had a former Brooksville PD unit with the cage in the back, but never with the lightbar, control, box, plastic rear seat, etc. still inside.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      That F-150 you’ve got in stock is sweet.

      You park it next to the bro-dozer Super Duty?

      • 0 avatar

        6″ ROUGH COUNTRY LIFT, 36.5 TOYO RTs, 20 FUEL WHLS, BUSHMASTER BOLT-ON STYLE FLARES, AMP RESEARCH POWER BOARDS, CUSTOM DP GRILLE BLACKOUT, READY TO ROLL COAL, BROTHA’!

        Not for nothing, but that’s the owner’s truck – he bought it new and he is the stereotypical F-250 buyer – middle-aged, never takes it off-road, but we do use it constantly to tow boats since we have a boat dealership now along with travel trailers, etc., whatever floorplan paperweights we take in trade.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          2013 Buick Regal w/eAssist

          Premium American Motorcar w/European Flair! HYBRID = 37MPG! Under Warranty! Leather, Sonar, B-Tooth

          That’s my favorite right there. Buick should have let you right their ad copy.

  • avatar

    I’m going to leave aside the bulk of the critique, mean-spirited or not, and just look at “he has never said a negative thing about a car in his life”. I saw that charge leveled against Alex Dykes before, and it was poorly substantiated too.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    How do these guys get clicks anyway? Whenever I google “$make $model review” I get the C&Ds and Motor Trends of the world, maybe with a Jalopnik or TTAC article, or at least something like Autoblog or Autoweek. Are there really enough clicks coming out of Google page 4 to sustain them?

  • avatar
    Snavehtrebor

    “Supposably this Jeep is Trail Raided, which memes it can transverse terrine in snow ice and, mud. Driving it you literally feel the decades of Jeep DNAs corking threw it’s vains. I cannot wait until Jeeps corporal parents, whom also posses Alpha Romelo, Mazdarati, and others, car manufacturing, decide to bring us a hottened up Abarth edition to these shores since most Jeep loyalties go really far back to Operation Snowslide way on back in the Second War of the Worlds.”

  • avatar
    FerrariLaFerrariFace

    How long before all car reviews are written by robots?

    http://gizmodo.com/can-you-tell-which-one-of-these-baseball-stories-was-wr-1782892240

    In fact, can we be 100% certain Tim Esterdahl is a human being?

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    The saddest thing about the Nissan pic is that it has 132 likes.

    I wish he had reviewed the 75th Anniversary Jeep Patriot. That would have been analingus of epic proportions for Fiat/Chrysler.

  • avatar
    christophervalle

    “quite literally doesn’t share any of the ride characteristics of its 1941 brethren trading the bumpy ride for a very smooth one.”

    Grammatical atrocities aside, is he implying that he both literally and actually compared the ride of a 1941 Jeep with the magical new one?

  • avatar
    05lgt

    This comes off a bit like beating up a … differently abled kid. Then again, he’s a liar, a cheat and a thief; why give him a free pass just because he’s defenseless?

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      “differently abled”

      Seriously… is that a piece of official Newspeak?

      So now I need to refer to the drunken retard usurper of his dead Dad’s really nice house on my block as a “differently abled” drunken, license-lost, jobless piece of wife-supported sh1t?

  • avatar
    brn

    “Bark’s Bites: Meet The Worst Car Reviewer Of All Time”

    Pot, meet kettle.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      You know, brn, TTAC is always on the lookout for new talent. If you can write so much better than Bark, have at it.

      • 0 avatar
        brn

        VoGo, when did I say I could write so much better than Bark? I just stated (implied) that he is [also] a terrible car reviewer. But now that you ask, if I decided it was something I wanted to spend my time on, I don’t doubt I could do a better job.

        However, I think I’ll stick to my current profession and let the likes of Alex Dykes perform quality automotive reviews. He has developed a repeatable process for evaluating and reporting on autos. I don’t always agree with him, but I respect his abilities.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Makes sense. I’m sure you could outplay LeBron and outpass TB12 if you wanted, but it’s probably best that you stick your knitting while they stick to theirs.

          As a Renaissance man, you don’t want to go around embarrassing everyone, do you? It would break down our society if the rest of us didn’t have at least some self respect from not being constantly out-shown at work. Thanks for that.

          “Nobody does it better. Makes me feel sad for the rest…”

  • avatar
    rpn453

    This seemed unnecessarily mean at first glance, but I laughed multiple times while reading the comments so I guess I will literally clarify this article as really iconic.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I’m glad the Miranda Lightstone Mini Clubman review featured on TTAC was taken down before this article landed, or it could have been awkward. On the flip side, I can still find Jablansky.

    This quote from Esterdahl was funny because it has been used by C&D to describe why they love the Accord:

    “It won’t blow you away with any one feature versus the competition, yet it simply does everything fairly well. Isn’t that what we are really looking for anyway?”

  • avatar
    creamy

    Does the rise of Tim Esterdahl befuddle you? You might live in a(n automotive journal) bubble.

  • avatar
    RyleyinSTL

    I applaud Bark for his PSA about this review slut. He should be called out for his actions. TTAC does things a bit against the grain (likely why we’re all here), who better to be the arbiter of such things.

  • avatar
    Paragon

    So, he gets his money for (doing essentially) nothing, but does he get his chicks for free??? Inquiring minds will want to know…

  • avatar

    Heck, I won’t even use a proper noun like Chrysler twice in the same sentence if I can avoid it. I don’t use superlatives unless things are, well, superlative and I only use iconic and legendary for things that are deeply symbolic and the stuff of lore.

    I disagree that he’s a substandard writer. He has much improvement to go before he even attains substandard quality. Mediocrity might be beyond his reach.

  • avatar
    otaku

    “Again, Tim has some rather vague comments celebrating the Altima (also known as the most bland and boring of all mid-sized sedans)”

    Could’ve sworn that dubious honor still belonged to the Camry.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I have had dealing with Tim on the net at PUTC. He writes short articles on pickups, he also was the Editor at Tundra Headquarters.

    His style has left many in doubt regarding his ability as a writer. It isn’t his writing ability, but his integrity I doubt as a writer.

    He writes for money and not truth as is evident in this article. This leads me to believe he is a selfish person in real life.

  • avatar
    doughboy52

    Maybe double-check that all of your grammar is correct in a post that’s blasting someone else’s writing. Definitely a difference between it’s and its.

    “Despite all the Jeepiness of this Jeep, I’m fairly certain that it’s Jeepy little heart is based on the same platform as the Dodge Dart. Oh, Jeep.”

  • avatar
    merkidemis

    First you blast the guy for likely using a thesaurus (I’m assuming because he used the word “plethora”) and then criticize him later for NOT using it with too many uses of “really.” Please, tell me what the correct number of word variances per paragraph is correct.

  • avatar
    mkeenly

    A review of the Dodge Journey being a great vehicle can only happen in an alternate universe.

    Here’s some real-world proof:

    http://www.autoblog.com/2016/06/30/dodge-journey-tank-crushed-video/

  • avatar
    the passenger

    I know I’m late to commenting, so apologies if others have expressed this sentiment: not everyone is a highly skilled writer, and many of those people are not good at editing themselves either. So much of what passes for “journalism” these days never gets any sort of edit or review before being posted online. This guy might benefit from consistent editing, but probably not, as he seems to be a mediocre writer at best.

  • avatar
    baconator

    Does Car Revs Daily have more visitors per month than TTAC? Because I have never heard of it.

  • avatar
    Sid SB

    I agree though that the content is not good, does not matter if money was involved or not, just not informative. On the grammar side, I cannot gripe, I am crap as well (despite being an expat Brit).

    I was looking at Charger reviews on You Tube (just day dreaming about having a V8 daily, when in Rome do as the Romans, drive a great big V8 saloon, I mean sedan). I happened to come across Car Revs Daily Charger video and I thought, what the heck…. wow, was it bad on so many levels. The camera work was awful, a single camera in the car, Tim would lean forward and turn and look at the camera thereby not looking where he was going. The content was more guesses than facts. The driving was hilarious, he was burning rubber, taking both hands off the wheel and just wrecking this press car for the next journalist. I thought this maybe a one off video and decided to look at another, the Chevy Volt video….even worse, knee steering controls, camera in the same position as before and so he was always taking his eyes off the road. Worst of all though, he was clueless about the new Volt, absolutely no prep, no background knowledge and do not think he had even read the window sticker. I would say that the videos are worth watching because they are so bad, it makes it interesting to watch.

  • avatar
    baconpope

    “Use of the Oxford comma is stylistic, meaning that some style guides demand its use while others don’t. AP Style—the style guide that newspaper reporters adhere to—does not require the use of the Oxford comma.” Also, Bark and the Oxford comma have yet to be introduced.

  • avatar
    chris2.0

    UGH…that was pretty bad. I hope he didn’t get paid for that?

    –>more importantly, was the guy on the horse in that PLETHORA clip the same guy who was the sword master in Game of Thrones, who was training Arya?

    Sure looked like him

  • avatar
    chris2.0

    nope. similar mannerisms though?

  • avatar
    Silvermink

    The Nissan Altima: it’s literally pretty good (TM).

  • avatar
    Chicanery

    Wish I had time to read all these #iconic posts. Really. But time eludes me. *sigh*

  • avatar

    OMG, that crappy Maxima picture he took has me in tears! And the fact that Nissan retweeted it speaks volumes..


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