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Ok, I love AutoWeek(I know some hate it, but it was the first car mag I ever got)- my subscription just ran out, and I'm going to resubscribe- but I want something else too- I was thinking Car and Driver or Road and Track. Do you guys have any suggestions on which is more entertaining (and easier to read- I don't always understand car stuff)? Are there any others you'd suggest instead? I'm leaning towards Road and Track, but that's only because I like their layout better than Car and Driver. Opinions appreciated!
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Road & Track. More "mature". Either is fine though. Just stay away from Motor trend! Car and Driver does tend to test more cars that us mere mortals can afford.
I suggest visiting roadandtrack.com and caranddriver.com and reading some of their articles. They are identical to what they print in the magazines. That'll give you a better idea of their writing styles.
"There are only three true sports: bull-fighting, mountain climbing, and motor racing; the rest are merely games."
- E. Hemingway
My fav is Automobile. I do get R&T C&D, MotorTrend, and Cycle World. MT is crap. But it is car reading, which I can never get enough of.
Automobile does very few head to head tests with definite points and winners, etc. However, their style of writing is leagues ahead of the others. The way they write makes me feel like I'm driving the car.
R&T is my second favorite. They have the best photos by far and they do a fair amount of testing with ratings and such. C&D is pretty good, the quality of writing and photography is below R&T, but they do a really good job of doing huge comparison tests. A lot of the ratings are based on many subjective things, so I take them with a grain of salt, but they're a good projection of what you'd get in such and such a car.
I'd say if you're more into figures, solid writing, testing and reporting get R&T. If you want to read into cars more as art, then Automobile is hands down the winner.
I get Autoweek and R&T. I agree with Grimace that R&T is more "mature", or dare I say, European. Nothing against American cars or publications, but I am partial to many European quirks, like soccer and F1, and also appreciate that they look for more in a car than power. My vote goes to R&T.
Road and Track, and Car and Driver are the same publication (Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., Inc). Occasionally they'll have the same writters too. That said they are written for different people. If you notice in R&T you'll rarely see a road test for an SUV, or Mini Van. Car and Driver is more "mass market" as far as car tests and opinions (sedans, vans, trucks etc) test. Road and Track is for enthusiasts. I like Road and Track especially the Ampersand section.
Just get them all! I've have discovered over the years the grass is always greener, if you don't get one that is where the next test you want to see is. By the time you buy a couple issues from the grocery store you could have a years sub. so just set aside the $75 a year and have them all when you want them.
You can't go wrong with either. C&D is a little more mainstream (they'll test more "normal" cars along with SUV's and such), but there is a lot of overlap with R&T (ie, you'll probably see a comparo of $30K luxury sedans in both, as well as a comparo of exotics).
I'm a bit partial to R&T (started subscribing in 1986!), since they have a few features that C&D doesn't have (I haven't read C&D regularly in a while, so maybe this has changed). Anyhow, R&T has a regular "Salon" article where they review an old car (usually a racecar with some historic significance). They also feature more F1 coverage. Unfortunately, they're a lot more brief than in the past, but my interest in F1 has declined a bit over the years, so that doesn't bother me too much.
I get them all (Automobile, Motor Trend, Car & Driver, Road & Track, just re-subscribed to Autoweek after a one year break). For quality of writing Automobile is the best, for a fun read probably R&T.
However these all pale in comparison to CAR and Top Gear from the UK - incredible writing and wit, no punches pulled when describing a lousy vehicle - well worth the $8 per magazine at Borders (I really should get an international subscription). When people like Jeremy Clarkson (nutcase), Tiff Needell (racing driver) and Quentin Wilson (graduated from Oxford in English, became used car salesman) used to write/argue regularly in Top Gear I would be enthralled or rolling on the floor in stitches no matter what the article was about. Fond memories of Clarkson's 2-page article on the 1970's Batmobile toy car...
I find all American car mags are so dull in comparison.
Current cars: '12 BMW X5 xDrive35i Sport Activity, '10 BMW 535i, '99 Mazda Miata
Previous cars: '08 BMW X5 3.0si, '07 Lexus IS350, '06 Lexus GX470, '04 Infiniti G35 Sedan 6MT, '04 Mazda RX-8, '02 Acura MDX, '01 Lexus IS300, '99 Lexus RX300
I like Road and Track the best also. I think Motor Trend is pretty good, or at least better than Car and Driver.
Of less circulated magazines, I like Grassroots Motorsports and Sport Compact Car (SCC). I haven't seen many Grassroots editions, but I always find them covering races like 24 of Daytona, or SCCA competitions.
SCC is generally good, but sometimes they rely a little too much on the Honda crowd for my tastes. Their articles seem to be fair, and they have gone as far as claiming the FD RX-7 to be the best Sports car ever. And that suits me better than any of the other magazines.
i think SCC concentrates faaar too much on japanese "imports", and doesn't give european or "domestic" cars a chance very often.
besides, what the hell is a "sports" compact anyways?? i mean, a civic?? :P no thanks.
Of course SCC concentrates on the Asian market, the magazine was designed specifically to cater to it. I get a bit annoyed with it sometimes, but I still think for a fixed market magazine it is very fair. An issue of Hot Rod magazine is not nearly as level in giving respect to the European or Asian markets.