Motor Trend Logo
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7 User Reviews
LAST UPDATED: March 1st, 2022

The first issue of Motor Trend magazine was released in September 1949 by Peterson Publishing Company of Los Angeles, California. Today, with over 12 million unique visitors per month, is one of the leading sources of expert car reviews for new automobiles through its internationally distributed magazine, nationally broadcast television program, syndicated radio show, popular Web site, auto shows and ride and drives. 

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The Good

  • Wide Range of Content
  • New Car Buyer's Guide
  • New Car Quote

Wide Range of Content

Motor Trend magazine's wide array of content consists of different segments or departments, each with its own function. The ones that stand out are mentioned below.

New Car Buyer's Guide

Motor Trend releases a special edition of their new car buyer's guide every September and October listing the latest new vehicles. In September the issue looks at the latest cars (sedans, coupes, etc.) for the next coming calendar year, while in October the magazine looks at off-roaders, MPVs and sport-utility vehicles (SUVs). The guide helps buyers narrow their selection down during the car buying process. All shoppers have to do is select a vehicle model to view the following:

  • complete car pricing,
  • current rebates and incentives
  • safety data
  • Miles per gallon(MPG) ranges
  • trim details and specs

New Car Quote

Also offered for new cars is a New Car Quote tool. By plugging in car make, model, year and zip code, customers can get up front pricing without having to go into the dealership and be "hassled" by salespeople. Motor Trend also has a huge listing of used cars to choose from. The magazine provides its readers with monthly written "road tests" of vehicles. These road tests are created to give readers information about the featured vehicle, certain aspects of the vehicle, and what the readers can expect if the featured vehicle is purchased. There are two main types of Motor Trend vehicle comparisons:

  • Regular comparisons. This usually compares two to three vehicles, and what each is like to own and drive.
  • "Big Test" comparisons. These typically feature anywhere from five to seven vehicles, all being compared against one another, similar to a large road test featuring many vehicles rather than just one.

These comparisons are listed in Motor Trend's Editor's Picks list, where they give reviews of vehicles after test driving, along with additional commentary. Not only does Motor Trend list dealerships pertinent to each zip code, it also has begun The Motor Trend Certified Vehicles program. This program partners with qualified local dealers across the United States to offer the magazine's Certified branded CPO vehicles on all makes and models. By leveraging the nationally recognized Motor Trend Certified brand, customers can be assured that their vehicles have been inspected to meet Motor Trend's national standards. Motor Trend Certified Vehicles include:

  • upgraded benefits from its partner EasyCare
  • including a minimum six month/7500 mile comprehensive warranty
  • key replacement and dent repair coverage
  • 72-Hour exchange policy
  • Best Value Guarantee

Motor Trend offers dealers in the program advanced digital technology that amplifies dealership reach and delivers a unique and relevant online consumer experience created to drive qualified leads to their showroom through Motor Trend's Certified digital platform, driven by PureCars™. Participation is made available only to an elite group of dealers across the country who have been thoroughly vetted, and whose sales and service teams have been trained by EasyCare in accordance with the requirements of the program. EasyCare provides vehicle service contracts (frequently referred to as extended warranties), paintless dent repair, key replacement coverage, maintenance and more. It is the only vehicle warranty to be named a Recommended Best Buy by Motor Trend. Before moving on, Motor Trend's auto lead generation program deserves a mention, offering a list of benefits for participating dealerships, including:

  • Leading customers directly to Dealer
  • Over 12 Million Unique Visitors
  • Top 5 Online Automotive Destination
  • Over 500,000 Vehicles on Display
  • Unlimited Inventory Advertising Packages
  • Other Lead Generation and Interactive Media Advertising Available
  • Only Targets Prospective Customers Who Said They Were Interested
  • Advertise to the Right People, at the Right Time, with the Right Message at a Discounted Price From the Website that Generated the Prospect

Dealerships interested in partnering with Motor Trend are able to fill out the online application form on the website. Motor Trend is probably best known for its industry awards, the darling being the Car of the Year Award. This award is said to be the most coveted in the industry, along with their Car of the Year award, Truck of the Year award, and Sport Utility of the Year award. Since the first car was awarded in December 1949, the award has become an auto industry standard. Although each part of the magazine has a different function, the overall goal is to provide authoritative automotive information and commentary to the widest demographic spectrum of buyers, enthusiasts and consumers.


The Bad

  • Slow Website
  • Search Function Needs Improvements
  • Lacking Basic Tools

Slow Website

Motor Trend's website is arguably the best online publication for auto information; however, one thing to improve would be site speed. The pages are slow to upload (at least on a PC). This can make looking up car listing information tedious.

Search Function Needs Improvements

Another site issue seems to be finding search items. The search bar only pulls up keywords from its blog section. This is not convenient when searching for a phrase such as "Payment Calculator".

Lacking Basic Tools

Finding basic tools also falls under the "tedious" umbrella. Surprisingly, the magazine website also lacks primary tools for car shoppers, particularly vehicle history, payment calculator and a trade-in value calculator. If these tools are on the website, they are neither visible nor easy to find, which is equally a minus. Like many of its competitors, Motor Trend's apps are average (with a 3-star rating), rife with technical glitches.


The Bottom Line

With almost a 65- year- history in the automotive publishing genre, Motor Trend has become the trend for all things cars. Although it provides used car listings galore, its main specialty is its biannual new car guide with new car recommendations, test drives and prestigious Car of the year awards. So if you're looking for a new car, this would be a go-to reference to utilize. (Just know there is no payment calculator, trade-in value app or vehicle history tool). The apps could use some work and the site a speed check, but the Motor Trend brand name does a great service for dealers and seems to standardize, legitimize and upgrade anything it touches.

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7 Reviews

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Shauna Horne American Fork, UT

I like the detail about the up and coming vehicles, especially their attention to detail and specifications. My favorite edition is the one that compared all the trucks and SUVs because they seem like a more All-American vehicle that is useful for families and nowadays models are both useful and fun to drive. One thing I liked was their long-term test vehicles, but I thought they should have a little more detail about how useful they are in everyday driving and their reliability. I also liked how they supported the International Auto Show, but I was disappointed this year, that they didn't include their subscription with admission this year.

2 years ago

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Stephen Higley Tucson, AZ

This magazine is for Hedge Fund jerks, Saudi Sheiks, and fantasizing teenagers. They don't care about real cars. The latest issue featured Hagani $3.5 million, a Larborghini Essenxa $2.5 million, and a Pininfarina Battista at $2.2 million. Should me renamed Autos for Rapacious Capitalists a the Uber Rich

4 months ago

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david maag Wesley Chapel, FL

I went to a motor trend certified dealer Wesley Chapel Nissan bought a car they had advertised for 9,988.00 only to have them finance it at over 13,000.00 plus addons that brought the total to 14,000 went back to ask for the 72 hour refund was told the car in advertisement had different benefits

4 years ago

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Juan Beaver, PA

I love motor trend. It's a great place to find new and used cars. There are always plenty to choose from and they even give reviews.

2 years ago


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David T Draper, UT

Motor Trend guides me in my buying decisions to compare different cars and see them side by side. They do the dirty work, saving me hours of time.

2 years ago


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Reckholdt Magna, UT

I always like to check the MotorTrend cars of the year. I definitely take this information into account when looking for a new car, especially the safety information.

2 years ago


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Tom Pleasant Grove, UT

Motor Trend is a good way to get a lot of information and look at a lot of cars in an easy fashion. They are for the person who knows a little more about cars.

4 years ago