Review: Automotive News Sites

You’ve seen them all. Car & Driver, Motor Trend, Top Gear, Autoblog, Auto Week, and Road & Track. They review cars and rank them, but no one ranks them. That is about to change.

I follow the auto industry closely and peruse the websites of all the major auto magazines. The rankings listed here are my opinion and do not take into account their print magazines, but only to the accessibility of their websites. The magazines are largely similar as they typically review the same new cars in any give month. The rankings are instead based on how their websites are organized and the accessibility of their content. This is how I rank them:

6. Car & Driver

If you are looking for a clean layout, rich with images and easy to navigate, avoid Car & Driver. Their website was much easier to navigate before the recent refresh. The layout is bland and extremely wordy. Readers like to be guided by images, but Car & Driver fails to deliver on that front. It is a shame because they have very good articles, but they are buried in the wordy layout.

5. Auto Week

Where Car & Driver is too wordy, Auto Week is not wordy enough. There home page is full of images and links, but it does not feature a great number of articles, just the headlines. For more articles, you have left with the navigation bar to take you places. Again, Auto Week has really good articles, but they are buried within the website.

4. Motor Trend

Motor Trend is probrably the most popular auto magazine and there is good reason for this. Their articles are usually well written and their beginning of the year rankings and “Car of Year” and “Truck of the Year” segments are always touted by automakers. Their website is not bad. Their headlines scroll across the front page, but it is surrounded by ads. The image above, for example, has four different ads which bury the content on the page. The navigation menu is not the greatest either. Auto Week‘s is better, but you do not get a nice streamlined place to read the news.

3. Road & Track

Although the magazine Road & Track is not the most popular, but their website is pretty easy to navigate. You can find most everything you need on the home page. The headlines scroll across the top and there is a listing of the most recent articles below the headlines area. While this is helpful, it is just a list of titles of articles. Like the others, their articles are well written, but there should be a better way to feature articles.

2. Top Gear

Top Gear is not just a great TV show from the United Kingdom (the History Channel’s version SUCKS), but it is also a great auto magazine. In the US a subscription to Top Gear costs $90 or you can pay $9.95 at the newsstand. Their magazine would be largely unfamiliar to Americans because it is very different from our auto magazines. While a typical issue of Car & Driver is somewhere around 100 pages, an issue of Top Gear is closer to 300. The articles are more extensive and there are more articles on historic cars as well. Top Gear‘s website is like that as well. You do not only get new car reviews, but commentary on car culture as well. If you have watched Top Gear on the BBC, you know that the hosts are all about fun, but there is a large staff in addition to the three hosts that put together Top Gear, the website and magazine. The only reason the Top Gear is not number one on my ranking is because it focuses on European cars and does not cover a number of cars only available o the American Market. Nevertheless, Top Gear is a great place to read about great cars and learn about cars that we only wish we could get in the US.

1. Autoblog

THE WINNER: Autoblog. I chose Autoblog as the best auto website because it is unlike any other website on this list. They do not publish a magazine and only deliver their news on via the Internet. Autoblog reviews cars, has the latest news, covers car culture, and even incorporates news from the other magazines (such as Motor Trend and Top Gear). This makes the website the best place to gain quick access to the latest automotive news. The website is organized much like a blog, so you can read the posts in the reverse order they were released. It is, therefore, easy to stay caught up with the latest news.

OVERALL

All the website presented here produce quality content, as I would not have included a website that did not. While Car & Driver and Motor Trend are the top two magazines, their websites are not as accessible as Autoblog. This ranking, after all, was about the quickest way to access the latest car information online. And for that, Autoblog easily wins.

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