Sunday

Does the world need another website that reviews cars?


That's a good question, isn't it? After all, there are plenty of websites to get car reviews from, and plenty of self-proclaimed 'experts' who will happily spew their half-informed opinions to anyone who will listen. So again, does the world need another website that reviews cars?

The answer is a resounding yes. Yes a thousand times. And the reason boils down to just one word:

HONESTY

Honesty in the reviews. Honesty that comes from real experience. Honesty that comes into play when there are no paying advertisers to upset. Honesty that comes from not having to worry about pacifying shareholders who are afraid to rock the boat. Honesty that comes from not being chained to a corporate conglomerate.

In other words, the honesty that people need to cut through so much of the garbage and corporate-speak that is out there.

I've grown up and lived around metro Detroit - home of the (used to be) Big 3. I've watched the automotive landscape change over the past few decades - sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. Over the past several years, I've gotten fed up with most automotive 'journalism'. By and large, the reviews have become a joke. Comparison tests routinely end with the thought "Well they're all good in their own right and there is something here for everyone......." Or the review will spend 4 pages and 20 minutes of your life making excuses for the negative points of a weak offering (usually a Chrysler) and will end the review with "overall it's a good value in it's class...." That's wrong, it's irresponsible, and it's lazy. As my best friend would say, they just need to "stop sucking". Unfortunately it doesn't appear that they'll stop sucking anytime soon. So I've taken it upon myself to take the path that they have chosen not to.

In car reviews, just like in any other area of life, there are winners and losers. That's just how it is. Some products are better than others. Sometimes an automaker hits a home run. And sometimes the auto companies blow it BIG. Paper specs are worth the paper they're written on. I'm sure in some other planet or universe, the sun always shines, every car sounds like a Ferrari, looks like an Aston Martin, has the cargo capacity of a Suburban, handles like a BMW, has the interior richness of a Rolls Royce, has the offroad capability of a Jeep, and gets the gas mileage twice that of a Prius. But folks, that's not the world we live in. We have to deal in compromises. We have to decide what factors are most important to us, and then figure out which of the hundreds of models of cars available to us will fit the bill. It's not easy. And modern automotive 'journalism' is not helping make the decision any easier.

What finally set me over the edge was reading an online car magazine attempt to review a Maserati Quattroporte. Out of five editor comments, three mainly complained about the interior switchgear and the navigation system. Now come on. Who buys a Maserati for the buttons on the dash? More to the point, who wants to be entertained by reading about the Maserati's ergonomics? Who dreams about pushing the buttons on the nav system if they're in a fortunate enough position to be in a car like this? The only thing you should be concerned about pushing in a Maserati is the loud pedal. So which critical points did they leave out of their 'review'? Well, you'll see soon because that is one of the cars that will be reviewed here.

The premise for this site is very simple. It's about getting back to honest, concise car reviews and commentary. I don't beat around the bush. Cars cost too much money these days and time is too valuable to waste trying to wade through corporate marketing puppets, or wasting time on reviews that won't get down to business and give a truly honest portrait of the vehicle being reviewed. While many view their cars as an appliance, they don't have to be. There are some real gems out there; I'll help you discover them. I'll also give firsthand accounts about cars that many people never get to experience and help answer the question "Are expensive cars all they're cracked up to be?" Just because it's expensive or has a flashy hood ornament won't give it a free pass around here. It needs to deliver on all the promises that its badge makes.

Since there is only one good way to review cars, (and that is of course from behind the wheel), that's what you'll see here. The cars that get reviewed have been driven by me, from the basic to the exotic. In the off chance there is a review of a car that I have not had adequate seat time in (but believe me, there are not that many) then I'll have a guest contributor who also believes in the same honesty that I do write the driving impressions. Also, they've been driven on the same roads that you drive on - real ones. Not racetracks, not Antarctica, but real city streets and highways. The reviews will focus on what you could realistically expect out of them and how they fit into the automotive landscape. More importantly, because your time is important, the articles will be straight to the point and entertaining.

Enjoy this site. Feel free to share your opinions as well. Community involvement and lively debate is half the fun of the Web. Be sure to bookmark this site as reviews will be added constantly. And of course, drive harder. See you on the road.

Chris Horner

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I miss your car reviews, please post more often.

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