QOTD: Influenced by the Automotive Press?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

qotd influenced by the automotive press

After last week's story on how Consumer Reports slapped the "avoid" label on the popular Ford F-150, I was going to ask you how much CR shapes your purchase decisions. The magazine is popular, and I know a lot of people, both car enthusiasts and not, who trust it.

Yet sometimes CR says not to buy a car and it sells well. Or vice versa.

After some reflection, I figured opening this QOTD to the larger automotive press would generate a more robust discussion.

Of course, the automotive press has changed. Your local newspaper likely no longer has its own automotive critic -- and if it's publishing reviews at all, they're probably syndicated. That might affect how you, the consumer, do your research.

I'd hope you trust us -- you may not agree with us, or like my style or the style of others who write reviews here, but you should know we're honest. But I am not naive -- I suspect that when it comes time to shop for your next new car, we're just one stop on the dial, so to speak.

I'd bet my meager savings that you're looking at us, Jalopnik, the buff books, the car-shopping giants like Cars.com, and so forth and so on. And, of course, Consumer Reports.

So let's make this a multi-part QOTD. Does the automotive press factor into your car-buying decisions? If so, how, and how much? Which sites are you reading when shopping, and which are you reading just because you're daydreaming about a certain car? Which do you read just for fun? Do Consumer Reports recommendations matter to you? What about Cars.com, KBB, AutoTrader, Consumer Guide, et al? Are you reading the buff books for car-shopping advice, or more so because you want to see who wins the most recent comparison test?

Sound off below.

[Image: Ralf Liebhold/Shutterstock.com]

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4 of 58 comments
  • MaintenanceCosts MaintenanceCosts on Jun 21, 2023

    It's possible to learn things about cars by reading the automotive media, but you have to read way under the surface. On the surface, everything about every car is great, because automotive media may be the purest example of access journalism there is. But the reviewers who really care about their audiences will put in subtle tells. For instance, if you read "the car rode beautifully, with just a hint of undamped movement from the 20" wheels," you iknow that the car with the big wheels clomps harshly over the smallest bump and you should avoid it.

    But even with careful reading they are no substitute at all for a short test drive. I make my decisions mostly through driving experiences.

  • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on Jun 21, 2023

    I used to religiously purchase Lemon-Aid and Consumers Reports prior to acquiring a vehicle. And we purchased a vehicle based on the recommendation of a Toronto based automotive writer who publicly wrote about purchasing that make/model for his family. We were very pleased with it.

    Otherwise I believe that 'automotive journalism' is largely an oxymoron and they primarily shill for the manufacturers. Nearly every model is 'improved' over the previous one. Cars that were not competitive are suddenly 'competitive'. And they almost always test and recommend the 'fully dressed' version rather than the base version.

    That is one reason why I originally started reading/viewing TTAC. To get a different perspective.

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  • Thehyundaigarage Yes, Canadian market vehicles have had immobilizers mandated by transport Canada since around 2001.In the US market, some key start Toyotas and Nissans still don’t have immobilizers. The US doesn’t mandate immobilizers or daytime running lights, but they mandate TPMS, yet canada mandates both, but couldn’t care less about TPMS. You’d think we’d have universal standards in North America.
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