What's the best car magazine out there?

Discussion in 'Cars in General' started by Stratosphere03, Sep 20, 2009.

  1. Stratosphere03

    Stratosphere03

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    First of all I wasn't sure where was the best place to post this thread, so I apologize in advance if this is in the wrong area.

    For a while now I have been wanting to subscribe to a car magazine to browse through on my free time on campus or at work. I am aware of the highly popular Car and Driver and Motor Trend magazines, but they seem to focus more on production consumer vehicles and not so much on super and concept cars. A friend of mine has a subscription to Car magazine, which seems pretty interesting, and was more up my alley of interest. Any advice for me gtplanet?
     
  2. homeforsummer

    homeforsummer Premium

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    Car magazine seems okay to me, and they seem to do interesting features. It used to lag behind Top Gear Magazine in the UK, but that one went the way of the TV program and now it's more like a car "comic", and I find it very difficult to read. It's also full of adverts, and I don't like the editor at all. So of those sort of monthlies, Car is definitely preferable.

    However, I swear by three magazines over here in the UK:
    - Autocar - by far and away the best weekly magazine, and probably nigh-on the best overall. Great features, very detailed road-tests of the most important releases, and some of the most experienced journalists in the business. As a journalism student, Autocar is the magazine I aspire to work on one day. Their Road Test Editor position is probably the pinnacle of motoring journalism.
    - EVO - A monthly all about "the joy of driving", and focuses mostly on performance cars. Absolutely exceptional photographs and words that really bring the articles to life - though most of us will never drive supercars, EVO really gives you the best impression of any magazine what it's actually like to drive the world's best cars. Probably the most enviable journalism positions in terms of motoring magazines.
    - Octane - A bit different and a bit more specialised, Octane covers classic motoring and motorsport, racing, and the occasional feature on a new car but with a story behind it, such as one I recall where they drove a Hertz rental Mustang alongside one of the old Hertz Mustangs that people used to rent for the weekend in the 60s and then race it! They also do great features on some classic non-motoring designs, like the Tag Heuer Monaco, or the Kalashnikov AK47. Contributors include Rowan Atkinson and Jay Leno.

    Those three magazines are all excellent and I enjoy reading them like no other. I'd be very happy indeed to work on any of them in the future. If you can get hold of any of those, I'd highly recommend it.
     
  3. hemisport15

    hemisport15

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    I'm a fan of both Automobile and Road & Track. You can always count on R&T having some type of super car comparison, at least that's what is in all the ones that I happen to pick up. Evo is also a great magazine, long articles, great pictures, and just a lot of info. The only problem is that the price is a little steep, but then again I only bought a few issues without a subscription.
    You can't go wrong with Motor Trend, it always has at least one interesting thing in it. Car and Driver is starting to bore me the more I read it. The overall feeling of the magazine is kind of boring. It's just white pages with blue, black, and red ink. But every once in awhile they have a great issue and everything in it is worth a read.
    I hope my sub par advice helped.
     
  4. Stratosphere03

    Stratosphere03

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    Thanks for the info, I am considering giving AutoCar a chance for now. The only thing is a year subscription of 51 issues costs $265.00! Thats pretty darn steep for me right now. Is there any way I can get a promotional code and get some sort of discount on the price?
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2009
  5. homeforsummer

    homeforsummer Premium

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    Not sure I'm afraid. I'm presuming that the States gets an imported version of the British Autocar magazine, rather than countries like India which actually get their own version - in which case, you're paying for the magazine plus all the fees for the copies which get imported from the UK. I'm not sure if there's a way around this. The same is probably true for Evo.
     
  6. Stratosphere03

    Stratosphere03

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    yeah I'm looking at this site that seems to distribute all three magazines you suggested: http://www.imsnews.com/home.php?page=magPage&pubid=3585.

    All of them are pretty steep, and I'm not sure if there's any other way to get them in the states. I guess I'll need to start looking into it.
     
  7. Strittan

    Strittan Premium

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    My favorite is Gasoline Magazine, which is a swedish hot rod mag. It's much about old school/retro hot rods, bikes, customs, drag racing and such.

    Examples:
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  8. Cano

    Cano Premium

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    I Dont think Hot Rod or Car Craft count as you seem to be focused on general interest magazines. Blergh. Grassroots Motorsports is also awesome.
     
  9. Jim Prower

    Jim Prower Premium

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    Hemmings Motor News: Great if you like old stuff...and I mean ANY old stuff, even stuff you've likely never heard of. I find a new discovery in every issue. Also fun to browse the classifieds and drool. ;3
     
  10. niky

    niky Moderator

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    Evo. Hands down.

    Some magazines review new cars... some (like Hemmings and Auto Afficionado... gorgeous pics in AA) focus mostly on period pieces. Evo deals with driving... period. It's not as obsessive about home-garage tuning as Grassroots Motorsports is, and it has better reviews... and it's not as focused on industry news as AutoCar, which is a given, since AutoCar is a weekly.

    The "big three" US mags, frankly, bore me. Motor Trend sometimes has interesting stuff... Car and Driver... after years and years of reading, I can't be bothered anymore. I pick up the occassional Road and Track when they do a good track article, but that's about it. You could buy any one of the three, in any given month, and the content will be 90% the same as the other two.

    Car is another interesting one... they do Evo-type stuff... but I prefer Evo.

    What's sad for me is that some of the Evo and Autocar staffers, the guys who made those mags great, moved on to Driver's Republic, an online-only magazine. It wasn't such a bad thing, at first, as they produced some good online articles... but now that the website's virtually dead... those articles are gone. Forever. I only have a smattering saved on my hard drive.

    Evo, though, still has some good people on board... and I've just picked up September's 100 Greatest Driver's Cars Issue. It's a good read... probably ought to be hardbound on heavy stock... :lol: ...some jaw-dropping pictures in there, and some good reading.

    Also try to find the Tenth year Anniversary issue... Ten Dream Drives. Some drives are so-so... others... well... driving a 962 at LeMans? Epic. Driving the Merlin-engined Beast? Mad.

    You can try out Evo online at http://evo.co.uk ...but the tiny pics online don't do the magazine justice.
     
  11. McLaren

    McLaren Premium

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    Hasn't Clarkson contributed to EVO magazine? Or am I thinking of Car or another publication?
     
  12. Stratosphere03

    Stratosphere03

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    I'm in the same situation with Evo as with AutoCar, seeing as I would have to import the mags to the US with all the fees that come attached to it. This site is providing a 1 year subscription for $99 USD, pretty steep. :crazy:
    http://www.imsnews.com/home.php?page=magPage&pubid=3573

    Is there anywhere else that I may be able to pick it up in the US for cheaper?
     
  13. Tornado

    Tornado

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    American? Automobile. Bar none. Road and Track is the closest, and even that is far away (keep in mind that I don't get Road and Track as often as Automobile). The rest of the former greats have fallen on hard times these past few years in the sad way that very many magazines have of late, what with the scary switch to style over any semblance of substance.

    For example, Motor Trend has recently celebrated its 60th anniversary, meaning its been 10 full years since it was worth reading. Car and Driver does still have a few great issues a year (last month's was quite good), but for the most part the publication is a shell of what it was a few years ago.
     
  14. buickgnx88

    buickgnx88 Premium

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    Meh, I'm going to go against the grain and say that I actually still enjoy reading Car and Driver. I do agree that some of the articles and tests are boring, but they usually are made up for in the writing. Not to mention, the Backfires section always at least elicits a chuckle from me.

    Edit: it's funny to think that I've been subscribed to them for 10 years now! Speaking of magazines...damn you MAD for going to quarterly! *shakes fist*

    ...Oh well, at least my subscription is now until 2014. :lol:
     
  15. YSSMAN

    YSSMAN Premium

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    Interesting question that I'm surprised we haven't discussed...

    Currently, I no longer subscribe to any automotive magazines. Given that I am at or near a computer most of the day, or have my internet-capable phone with me at most times, websites like Autoblog and Jalopnik make up most of my daily readings. But, the solid reporting of a magazine cannot be ignored. Especially when a lot of their staffers have been writing about cars and trucks (in some cases) for more than a half-century.

    Generally speaking, Car and Driver has been my magazine of choice. Their editors and journalists were otherwise the top-notch people I'd look to for any information on any car. As Toronado has pointed out, however, that has decreased significantly in the past year or so. Larry Webster is, generally speaking, the only reason why I still like to read that publication. With Csaba Csere gone, its just not the same thing. Patrick Bedard has left C&D as well, and I don't dig that. But, generally speaking, they tend to go into a greater amount of depth with their tests that I find more enjoyable. You know, the nuts and bolts, technology and other engineering bits. By comparison, I always thought its main rival, Motor Trend, was always too "touchy-feely" with their cars.

    The only other automotive magazine I read on a semi-consistent basis is Top Gear, which is otherwise the companion book to the show. In terms of actual automotive reviews, there aren't a whole lot, but the major pieces on different vehicles are fairly substantial. The only problem is that they charge $10.50 an issue here in the States, which is outrageous. I'll buy "special" issues, but I normally just end up reading them at the book store. Although, it is nice having Clarkson, Hammond and May's columns every month.

    I've never been a fan of Motor Trend or Road and Track to really recommend them. They're good for pictures and some crazy tests, and that's about it. I've dabbled in Automobile as well, but it seems to be really hit-and-miss. But I can't recall the last time I picked up an issue.
     
  16. Tornado

    Tornado

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    And the bias, good lord the bias.
     
  17. Keef

    Keef Premium

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    Between Automobile and Road & Track it's a tough decision for me. If I had to pick one or the other I'm not so sure I could. They both seem equally classy, with many european-car features, beautiful settings, photography, motorsports coverage, classic car features, etc. Car and Driver is one that will always be coming to my mailbox though because of its humor and lightheartedness, its fun features and comparisons, and for some reason I've just gotten more attached to their editors than of any other magazines.

    One of my favorites is no longer with us, Sport Compact Car. Highly detailed and thorough technical articles, well done tests and comparisons, project cars that are built to go, a staff that's generally very knowledgeable about all things automotive, and writing that gets the point across well, if not being the most artful in the business.

    Besides that, I hate Motor Trend. They've got too much money, and they seem to cater to dumb car-people like Edmunds. The occasional interesting and thorough analysis, but still, they're just annoying. I don't want to see a test of a concept car, thanks. All of the other tuner mags besides Sport Compact Car are all full of women and ricers. If I wanted girls I'd buy Playboy, thanks. And we don't get the Euro mags for anything resembling a reasonable price, so I can't say much about them.
     
  18. niky

    niky Moderator

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    And, unfortunately, Sport Compact Car is dead. As well as Turbo, which was the other intelligent tuner magazine.

    Top Gear. But all he does is editorials. His car reviews are on TV only... if you want written reviews from Clarkson, they're usually in the newspaper. Worth a chuckle, but not really meaty reading.

    Top Gear isn't as good as AutoCar or Evo... their reviews are so-so... but the special features are sometimes good.
     
  19. neanderthal

    neanderthal

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    Car
     
  20. Rykon Zero

    Rykon Zero Premium

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    Evo for me, but what is "Car"?
     
  21. Scaff

    Scaff Staff Emeritus

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    Well that saved me the bulk of my post, as I agree totaly with you.



    If you don't have it the 100th issue is also worth picking up (Jan 2007), while I normally give my copy of Evo to my dad (in return I get his copy of Octane) those two I still have on my bookcase (looking at them while I type this).


    He used to write for Performance Car, which died in the mid '90's, the staff of which then went on to form Evo.

    So while he don't write for it, he does have a relationship with some of the staff. Richard Porter who co-scripts Top Gear (and writes the Sniff Petrol website) has a column in Evo and also contributes in other articles.



    Regards

    Scaff
     
  22. homeforsummer

    homeforsummer Premium

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    Clarkson used to contribute to - I think - both Car, Performance Car and Auto Express at different points in his journalism career. But since Top Gear Magazine was first published in about 1994, he's always been associated with that magazine.

    Top Gear Mag is truly terrible compared to how it used to be. They've been steering it in the direction of the TV show for the last five or so years and every time I pick it up and have a flick through I wonder why I bothered. I used to subscribe to it from about 1997 until roughly 2003 maybe, and I cancelled my subscription for two main reasons - they got a new editor in about 2001/2002 and I pretty much consistantly disagreed with his column every week, and funnily enough also around this time the magazine started becoming absolutely overloaded with adverts - the first six or so pages in the mag would be adverts, then you'd get the contents page, and then there'd be four more adverts, which is almost as bad as womens' magazines.

    http://www.carmagazine.co.uk/

    There you go. It's just a good, solid monthly. They have some good journos, some of whom used to work on Top Gear mag when it was good, and like EVO they generally have pretty good focus, but their range is broader than just performance cars. It's not quite as good as EVO, but it's probably better than the rest of the monthlies.

    Performance Car is another very good monthly, actually. It's quite similar to EVO, they have some brilliant big tests, great photographs, and some impressive in-depth reviews of cars (like Autocar, they do a full road-test each month of probably ten pages or so) and they also do very good used-car tests - in the mags I've got, they've done in-depth used tests on the Ferrari 360, Porsche 996 and the Nissan R34 GTR, amongst others.

    EDIT: Actually, as Scaff mentions above, Performance Car died in the mid 90s, but it came back a few years ago and it's a very impressive magazine.
     
  23. niky

    niky Moderator

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    I'm of two minds about Clarkson. One is: He's wonderfully entertaining... even more so in print than on TV. Two is: some things he says are complete and utter rubbish. It's irritating how many people take his word as gospel, because it isn't. If it were, it'd be the Gospel of Judas. Interesting. Way left field. Worth reading if you're into that kind of stuff... but in no way canonical car knowledge.

    I'll have to find that one.

    As an interesting side note, Performance Car is back... I think. But since there's no local distributor, it's hard to find copies, and my Evo habit is already expensive enough.

    EDIT: I see HFS has posted this already... I have one or two issues, but it's a rare find out here on the Pacific Rim.

    The magazine isn't quite there... not yet... but at least it's there, and worth a look.
     
  24. Jim Prower

    Jim Prower Premium

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    Thoughts on Autoweek, anyone?
     
  25. Prince.M5

    Prince.M5

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    Hmmm for me, I like to read Top Gear Magazine and Autocar Asean... They both have a good review of cars I think and I enjoy reading them too ;)
     
  26. Boffin

    Boffin

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    EVO - Hands down. It is my ultimate dream in life to work there. Already got in contact with someone there about how to do so - as well as a big wig in the Australian circle who worked at CAR for a while.

    EVO's photography, literature and choice of stories is, quite frankly, unsurpassable. They are more into how a car drive than what it can do, so there is a diverse range of stories from taking supercars to the Nurbugring, to worshipping the cheap and cheerful Pug 205 GTi. The desciptions used make you really feel like you are there and I would definatly take an EVO writer's word over anyones when it comes to opinoins on how a car acts. For an EVO writer to like a car, it has to be good. To read 10 pages of EVO is too easy - and the stories are really well proportioned, not too short or long.
    Another thing I like about EVO is the lifers (y'know, the section at the back where each journo has a car for however-many months). Where CAR is reporting on an ABS light popping up on someones Mondeo, EVO writers are talking about tracking their DBS, or applying racing stipes to their Murcielago.

    I started off reading car magazines when I was a really small child, being drawn in at the age of two by the pictures. That was when I was into CAR. After reading articles later on, I found them to be a bit to tedious. I'm all for specs and technical talk, but the style just didn't evoke any emotion.

    Then I moved into Top Gear. I liked the writing style, and couldn't complain with the photography, but after the media explosion that is BBCTG, the mag commercialised too much and now it seems they use it to promote Jezza and friends a bit too much - or more annoyingly, one of their past TV stories.

    EVO is by far my favourite rag.

    If any EVO writers are reading this - MASSIVE props too all of you :tup:.
     
  27. YSSMAN

    YSSMAN Premium

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    Top Gear always reminds me of a better version of Motor Trend, but with articles that actually have some sort of relevance by the time you're done reading it. I totally agree that the special issues are what make it worth buying, but its not the best source for news and reviews on a consistent basis.


    Its kinda sad, really, that much of the internet has taken so much away from the print magazines. I often feel like the people at Autoblog and Jalopnik can offer more credible reviews of new products because by days end, they're not that different than I. Twenty and thirty-somethings with a technology addiction, who love cars, and love to just drive.
     
  28. Rue

    Rue Premium

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    What he said, plus Classic and Sports Car is a riveting read if you like your er classic sports cars. Also you can browse all the amazing cars for sale in order to play the tireless, what-would-I-buy-for-50k game.

    With regard to Top Gear, I love the show but I always feel that I've pretty well read everything interesting there is to read in the magazine after 20 minutes.
     
  29. KSaiyu

    KSaiyu (Banned)

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    It used to be Evo for me as well, but lately I've been picking up Performance Car. Purely a personal preference but I find the writing style more engaging and the pictures are second only to Octane.
     
  30. homeforsummer

    homeforsummer Premium

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    I certainly think that Evo, Performance Car and Octane have the best photography of any motoring magazines I've ever read (and I read a lot of different magazines), but Evo still tops it for me.

    I agree with Rue too, Classic & Sports Car is an excellent classic car mag, though it's a little light on content and quite heavy on adverts for priceless classic cars for sale. That said, an article in C&SC on the MX-5 versus the MGF was one of the articles that persuaded me to get an MX-5. Their "duals" are always entertaining and informative.

    I do have a very much vested interest in motoring magazines as it's basically what I'm investing a lot of money and time into to get into a career in the field.