Car and Driver Logo
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5 User Reviews
LAST UPDATED: February 25th, 2020

Sports Car Illustrated was the name of Car and Driver magazine when it was first launched in 1955. The original intent was to publish content centered on foreign sports cars. In 1961 the focus shifted to a more general automotive agenda along with the current name, Car and Driver. Today, the magazine is published by Hearst Communications Inc. With a total audience of 10 million readers, it is the world's largest automotive magazine brand.

Keep reading for pros and cons, plus Car and Driver reviews from real consumers.

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The Good

  • Review Features
  • Comparison Tests
  • Long-Term Testing

Review Features

Car and Driver is on par with similar websites and publications in the car niche concerning the free industry standard tools, such as comparison and recommendation tools, but it has something that stands out from the crowd—a full bodied list of review features. Two of the more unique review tests performed are an instrumented test and long-term tests.

The instrumented test is one component of a thorough test drive process done with new cars and then reviewed for car seekers on the website. The comprehensive list of testing tools includes:

  • First Drives
  • Instrumented tests
  • Comparison tests
  • Long term tests

The First Drive test describes the reviewer's first-time experience in a particular vehicle. Valuable and useful information includes:

  • Is the Car Economical?
  • Is the Car engine loud or quiet when operating?
  • Uniform Capability

The highlighted Instrumented tests examine the more technical components of a vehicle, such as battery and engine performance.

Comparison Tests

Comparison tests are done to decide the "reigning champ" of a category of similar vehicles. Features compared depend on genre. For example, when comparing minivans, compared features include:

  • comfort
  • entertainment value
  • safety performance
  • sales price
  • electronic systems that mitigate the loss of traction or stability
  • tech package, i.e. lane-departure and forward-collision warnings, adaptive cruise, and surround-view system

Long-Term Testing

Another unique feature is the Long-Term testing. New selected vehicles are taken on road trips of 20,000 miles or more to see how the car performs over longer distances. Test drivers report on car ride quality, silent interior, and sprawl-out space.

Although the reviews can come across a bit salesy at moments, the feedback is poignantly honest and holds no punches. Each review has objective data with both pros and cons—valuable and useful information throughout the review that one can use to determine if they'd want to try the car out for themselves.

What's cool is the way Car and Driver displays new (or the most recent) cars in their car research feature. All that is needed is the make and model of the vehicle and clicking the Research button. What pulls up is nothing short of a fully comprehensive report on the vehicle, all in one place instead of having to click through several website pages to compile the information yourself. The list is comprised of:

  • Car photo (front, side, and back)
  • Vehicle highs and lows
  • Transmission details
  • Dimensions (Wheelbase, length, width, height, curb weight, passenger and cargo volume)
  • C/D Test Results (zero to 60 mph, zero to 100 mph, Top Gear, Breaking, etc.)
  • Fuel economy (EPA city/highway driving)
  • News and Reviews (i.e. instrumented test review, first drive review, commercials for the car, etc)

Car recommendations come in the form of the reviews mentioned above (i.e. instrumented tests and as Editor's Picks) and annual Editor's Choice Awards-where Car and Driver editors publish a list of vehicles they consider to be the best cars, pickup trucks, crossovers, and SUVs for that year.

Another recommendation list is their annual "10 Best Cars". The Editor's lists are broken down into model year, car/truck make, genre and model. A few additional likable Car and Driver features include the Free Dealer Quote tool and the Auto Show page, where car enthusiasts can get the latest announcements and detail information on upcoming auto shows.

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The Bad

  • Missing Tools

Missing Tools

Granted, Car and Driver's designated purpose is to review cars and provide auto industry information for auto lovers, but it does have a buyer's guide. This guide seems to be missing a few basic research tools-vehicle history, payment calculators and trade-in value assessment tools to be more specific.

One would think that if you have a used car listing totaling in the millions, you would also feel the need to include free tools that other car search websites offer to help buyers assess the trade-in value of their vehicle and calculate how much the true cost of their vehicle will be beyond the sticker price. Hopefully, Car and Driver will have a change of mind.

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The Bottom Line

Car and Driver's main focus is test driving cars and providing reviews. For car enthusiasts, this site is a gem, with information on auto shows and trends in the car industry. For car buyers, the website is a great supplement to other sites like Edmunds.com or CarSoup.com where you can buy or sell new and used cars.

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Star Rating

4.6

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5 Reviews

Review Breakdown

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4 grade

40%

3 grade

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Review Source

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Shauna Horne American Fork, UT

I felt like reading the magazine was informative because they had descriptions where they evaluate every car and they talk about changes made to each model in the year. They included descriptions of price and reliability. Their ten best for each year was helpful because they were more affordable vehicles that an average person like me could purchase.

1 year ago

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Eric San Diego, CA

I use this Car and Driver for information on prospective vehicles. It is always smart to research any large purchase such as a vehicle. I use this site and sites like it to make sure I am not simply throwing away large sums of money on what will turn out to be a lemon. So far Car and Driver has helped out a few times.

2 years ago

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Review Source

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Cam McClellan Magna, UT

I trust car and driver when they do the reviews on their cars which ones are best. I definitely take their opinion into account when looking for a new car. Thank you for providing a great service.

1 year ago

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Review Source

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Tom Pleasant Grove, UT

Car and Driver give you an unbiased opinion on cars and gives great information that can be used to compare cars and prepare the car buyer. I also like all of the other information that they provide.

3 years ago

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Review Source

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Reckholdt Magna, UT

I appreciate companies like Car and Driver who do in depths reviews of cars and compares them so that I don’t have to take the time to do it myself.

1 year ago

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