Shopping for a new vehicle? Car reviews matter but not all are created equal. Here are the ones that I take seriously.
I’m not really a “car guy” but I like to keep up with the market. Especially so during those occasions when I am actually looking to replace a vehicle. We have been driving a 2005 Toyota Highlander for twelve years. It’s still going strong at 165,000 kms. The good news is that Toyota’s seem to last forever. That’s also the bad news. My wife is tired of driving the same old car, and wants some of the newer features. Fair enough.
My criteria for vehicles are reliability, value and performance – in that order. When checking things out, car reviews matter – especially Consumer Reports. While all reviewers and consumers have biases, I appreciate the law of large numbers as a useful filter. Consumer Reports does so much consumer surveying that I tend to have some confidence in their reliability ratings. I would not even consider a vehicle that can’t make the CR “above average” cut.
Cars are an expense first, a necessity second and a pleasure third. I tend to consider total cost of ownership, and buy vehicles that will last a long time. Since repairs become a factor over time, CR gives me a good indication of what other folks have experienced. In 12 years of driving the Highlander, I would say that all of our expenses fit into the “normal maintenance” category. Could not ask for much more.
Car Reviews Matter – Here Come the Videos
You Tube is full of video reviews for cars. There are a few reviewers that I take more seriously than the rest. Here in Canada, we are blessed with a domestic TV show called Motoring TV. These guys have been around for thirty years.
For pure fun, though, I really enjoy Tom Voelk’s Driven series. These used to be a weekly feature in the New York Times, but are now only available on You Tube. Tom takes all kinds of cars out for a spin.
Finally, there is Alex Dykes feature Alex on Autos. These are particularly useful for very detailed reviews and comparisons of mainstream cars.
Of course, while car reviews matter, they are just a starting point. These are a few of my favorite sources of information as I try to narrow down my options for replacing the 12 year old Highlander.