Better Car Coverage

I’ve been trying to read more publications and blogs the last couple of months (rather unsuccessfully I’ll admit) and it’s led me to a question about how articles are written. For articles on cars, would you rather read a short article, like a 1 pager, or a long one like a typical Automobile or Car & Driver type of format? What about more experience based, “feel” type of articles vs. ones that give a more technical description of what makes a particular car rock?

I definitely tend to gravitate towards the shorter, more experience based write-ups.  I suppose that is based on the fact that I always have way too much to read and want to consume whatever I’m reading as quickly as possible (translated: I have a short attention span). Probably one of the reasons why I love USA Today. It reads quickly with lots of perty color pictures.

I ran across a post of exactly what I find most pleasing when it comes to car reviews on the Chicago Tribune web site. It’s a pretty good article. You can read it here: Porsche 911 Carrera a guilty pleasure

The opening is great:

Tired of all the dreary news?

Then slip behind the wheel of a 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera for a little R&R.

We briefly felt guilty about enjoying a high-performance sports car at a time when some are losing sleep over conserving an ounce of fuel, until we pulled the ruby red Porsche into a mall lot as a bumblebee yellow Smart was pulling out.

It appeared the man piloting the Smart shed a tear while gazing fondly at the Porsche.

Exactly how I feel. I’ll skip straight to the punchline in case you don’t read the article:

But at $120,000, it gets more smiles per gallon than a yellow bumblebee.

Someone else just used “smiles per gallon”.  Maybe on this blog. Hmmm.


I’m curious what others think about car reviews, and if you were in the position to drive cars and report your thoughts for a living, how you’d go about it. Maybe I’m an atypical car guy by not being very (okay, not even the slightest bit) mechanical. I don’t really get into long discourse about brakes, engine displacement, mounting angles, etc. I’d rather read about what the experience was like.

Weigh in with what you think.


  1. LOL at “smiles per gallon”. Something a Prius driver would never understand. Back to the topic at hand; I prefer shorter, to the point articles. Spare me the fluff.

  2. Smiles per gallon. Aint that what life’s all about? Great phrase.

  3. I recently spent a week with a 2009 911 Carrera S (with PDK) and I’m vacillating on how to write up my review. At first I was thinking I would put everything in to one post. However, as time passes and I reflect more on the experience it seems more appropriate to do it in short, quick posts; bite size reviews if you will.

    IMHO, long posts are ok as long as they provide something of benefit or educational to the reader.

  4. KISS (keep it simple stupid)
    i agree with you ryan on the whole engine displacement and mounting angles thing. knowing that type of stuff won’t ever make me want the car more or less. when it comes to reviews for cars usually i watch the top gear guys do a review because i know jeremy knows his cars really well

  5. I would probably keep them simple and short also. Most people’s attention spans are short, so save the long reviews for an in depth magazine article that you are going to read on the plane or something.

  6. Post was too long – didn’t read.

    Just kidding. Short is always better. I definitely prefer short, succinct articles that have a good mix of feel and technical – like when an author talks about the senses they felt when piloting the 600hp Porsche from 0-60 in 3.8secs or whatever.

    And yes, I did write about how retarded (apologies for my political-incorrectness) “Smiles per Gallon” was in a craigslist Porsche ad that I had found.

  7. Wow, always either good or bad stuff to find on Craigslist. Seems almost any section can have something in it.

  8. I like short but concise. I get Car and Driver and find myself “speed reading” comparisons with my eye looking for the major points and the just important enough details.

  9. Phil Schneider says

    I stopped reading the articles. I look at the pictures,
    read the specs and make a decision. I’ve been reading
    car and motorcycle magazines for years and years. They
    say the same thing. I went with my gut a bought a
    MV Agusta. Guess what? I made the right choice.