Autocar vs. Top Gear vs. Evo
I’ve subscribed to three car magazines for several years now. It’s excessive I know, but a habit that I just cannot seem to kick, even though I do get the odd withering look from my wife every time they happen to all arrive together through the letterbox on the same day.
It all started when we were looking for a family car. It had to be big, easy to get the kids into (along with accompanying baby seats) and on my wife’s wishes not an estate or a diesel.
So I started perusing the many car mags that you get in the local newsagent or the nearest W H Smiths. I was first drawn to Top Gear’s Test Drive Directory (which is different to the main mag, and possibly the best magazine there is for easily comparing real life car choices and making informed decisions on what you should get with your hard earned cash).
From there after buying that a few times it was a short jump to subscribing to the main Top Gear Mag. Especially with some of the good deals they often offer. 3 issues for £1 anyone? Top Gear is more general entertainment, much like the TV program – laugh at the funny bits but don’t take any of it too seriously.
Some of the articles from it’s regular writers can be a bit pointless and laddish (Tom Ford for instance) , but overall it’s an entertaining read, full of many different articles and interesting sections.
I then caught my sister’s husband reading the weekly magazine Autocar and was instantly hooked after reading it. Autocar is a more serious magazine covering the entire automotive world but with more focus on sports cars.
It has well written articles, several good columns and its news pages are good for keeping up to date. It does good group tests and the best road tests in the business. Aimed at the enthusiast the mag has lots of coverage of BMWs, Jags, Porsches etc but also superminis, MPVs, supercars etc all thrown into the mix.
So I just had to get that too. You soon get used to reading it every week and could at a push read the whole thing in an hour or so.
Soon after subscribing to that I was waiting for a colleague in a pub next to (my previous) work one day and spotted Evo at the bar. Turned out the landlord’s son subscribed to it and always left a stash of old mags at the bar. I started reading it and was immediately impressed with the overall quality of the photography and the mag’s layout. Delving a bit further in I realised just how good the articles were too.
Evo focuses mainly on the top end of the sports and super car market, on cars you’ll never be able to afford but have fun reading about none the less. It’s much more of a glossy magazine with good pictures, plus the occasionally brilliant technical article describing in good detail topics such as up and coming automotive technologies etc. It also has the best ‘Our cars’ section out of the three magazines.
So that was it. I soon started subscribing to that too, and to be fair it’s the magazine that I look forward to receiving the most as it’s such a good overall read.
Reading all three is actually quite good (and easy to do) as you get a fantastic overall consensus as to what the best cars are (such as the Jaguar XFR, Clio 192 Cup etc) and what’s downright crap (BMW X6 M, plus many others I cannot recall here).
It’s even more interesting though when they give completely different views on cars and don’t agree on their opinions (Audi A1 plus the RS5 drew varying reviews for instance). It just highlights the subjective nature of what defines a good car.
Get rid of one?
So which one would I get rid of if I was forced to only subscribe to two mags? It’s not as hard a decision as you might think.
It would have to be the Top Gear magazine as you could get away with just watching the TV program. The magazine is an extension of it really. That’s its problem, it’s all a bit laddish and silly and you could get away with not reading it if you just wanted to keep up with what’s going on.
However it gets harder if I had to choose between Autocar and Evo. I’d plump to keep Autocar simply because it’s fantastic, it’s weekly and its coverage of cars is so in depth. It’s the best read in the business for keeping up to date with news etc.
And what car did we opt for in the end? I was chomping at the bit for a Ford S-Max but we couldn’t afford it. So we went for a Vauxhall Zafira which was bought from Broadspeed. It has served us well over the last few years and we couldn’t fault it.
I’d like to think that it was an informed decision as to what we chose, and all down to reading car mags, but to be brutally honest the major factor is whatever deal is available at the time. It all comes down to money. That being said, I still wouldn’t give up any of my subscriptions for a while yet. Not until I get my second hand Jaguar XFR anyway (but that’s another story).