Review: Automotive Websites

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Last June, I posted a ranking of my favorite automotive websites. I originally posted a ranking of this type in December 2011. My justification was that automotive websites rank and review cars, someone should rank and review them. I decided that the sites have had a year to implement my changes, so it is time to update the rankings.

There is not doubt you have come across all these sites at some point. The sites reviewed include: Car & Driver, Motor Trend, Top Gear, Edmunds, Jalopnik, Autoblog, Autoweek, and Road & Track. They are the biggest names in the work of automotive journalism. As a close follower of the auto industry, I visit these websites frequently and have my favorites.

These rankings are my opinion and do not take into account their print magazines (if they have one). The magazines are largely similar, and they typically review the same new cars in any given month. Instead, the rankings are based on how their websites are organized and the accessibility of their content.

8. Car & Driver

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Car & Driver has not fared well in my rankings. Their website is consistently one of the worst organized automotive websites. A stark white home page with columns of article titles is no way to get a visitor’s attention. When I am at work or quickly browsing the news, I do not want to only read headlines. Car & Driver has great articles and a fantastic magazine (I am a subscriber), but their website still needs a lot of work.

7. Edmunds

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I debated adding Edmunds to the list. It is not really a news website, but they are one of the best websites for car shoppers. A number of car shoppers read a review of the car of their choice in Car & Driver, Motor Trend, etc. then they go to Edmunds for the full details. Edmunds road tests cars and keeps an archive of all makes and models.  Users can view color choices, trim options, tech specs, and full reviews for new and used cars. The layout is user friendly, but the content is a bit stale. Edmunds is all business, but that is not a bad thing.

6. Autoweek

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Autoweek’s website looks pretty much the same as it did a year ago. Like Car & Driver, the website is just full of headlines, and there are not very many. It is a shame that their content is buried deep in the website because it is very high quality.

5. Motor Trend

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Motor Trend’s home page is too cluttered. There is a small content box with all the top stories, but that is about all. The rest of the page is full of ads and content boxes. They have buried the content in various blogs and webpages. Like Car & Driver, I am a subscriber to Motor Trend, and they have great reviews and features, but good luck finding anything on the site.

4. Top Gear

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Does this site ever change? Top Gear has the same layout as it had over a year ago, but there is no denying that the content has character. The arrangement of the content is not bad either, but reading one of their articles is painful. Scrolling through multiple pages to read a paragraph or two at a time is a pain. Top Gear’s magazine just received a redesign, let’s hope the website is next.

3. Road & Track

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Wow! This website has been completely overhauled since last June. Road & Track was purchased by the parent company of Car & Driver and there are rumors this magazine may not be around much longer or that it may remain as an online blog. The site now has a blog-like layout with the newest articles appearing at the top. This is why I like Autoblog so much. This new layout makes Road & Track a contender for #1, in fact, the top three websites have a similar layout and are great sites.

2. Jalopnik

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Jalopnik is an interesting website in that it is an automotive blog that allows anyone to contribute. While the top stories of the day from the auto industry may not be immediately covered, but Jalopnik has character and interesting side stories about classic cars and auto racing. Jalopnik is more than just the auto industry, it is a website for car enthusiasts. I check the site at least once a day.

1. Autoblog

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The reigning champion! Autoblog is still my favorite website. They cover the latest news in the auto world, have great car review, cover auto culture, and produce enjoyable special features. Autoblog has a great layout, beautiful photo galleries, and a great Podcast. If you want a quick way to keep up with the auto world, Autoblog is your one stop shop.

All the sites reviewed are quality sites. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be there. But when you begin to look at their websites, it is easy to determine which are the most useful to readers. As I mentioned, Autoblog, Jalopnik and Road & Track have a similar layout that makes them the best of the bunch. Sometime Jalopnik can be a bit out there, but that is what makes their site the so interesting. Autoblog has the whole package and that is not likely to change anytime soon.

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