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Old 09-18-2004, 06:42 PM   #1
DFW_VUE
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Default Magazine Bias?!?!?!?!?!

You know I have heard this repeadtly that for some reason car magazines dont like Saturns, "Car and Driver" hates Saturn, "Consumer Reports" hates Saturns, they are biased...etc etc etc etc.

Can anyone give me any Factual (Not based on opinion) information as to why this is? You know cause I remember about 94 or 95 that Saturns scored Very High on Consumer Reports.

I can believe a bias in a political magazine like Time, Us News and World Report etc etc. They have a political agenda. And its very clear what side of the aisle they may lean towards.

I have been reading car magazines since I was a little kid and havent seen any bias in them, unless we are talking about Import or mini truck or magazines like that...I am talking about the big three...Car And Driver, Motor Trend, and Road & Track.

Is it not fair to point out an automakers shortcomings? Is there an ANTI AMERICAN Bias? If so, why would Car & Driver praise (FOR EXAMPLE) the Chevy Equinox and not the VUE? Doesnt seem consistent?

Im just trying to figure out what you guys are talking about when you bash the press for Saturns woes.....If you noticed, The MINI doesnt score well on Reliablity in Consumer Reports or the big three....but seems to sell well.


I dunno
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Old 09-18-2004, 07:12 PM   #2
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DFW_VUE,

I agree with you 100%. I too have been reading the car mags for many years and have found them to be very accurate and unbiased in their reviews. I actually based many of my car buying decisions on the performance tests and overall driving experience that they reported, and have never regretted doing so.

I also don't see the big bash on Consumer Reports that others have made on this forum. They provide a valuable service for me and are probably the most unbiased group of consumer advocates that I have access to. They have saved me much money over the years by leading me to the best products to purchase. I trust them, they haven't given me bad advice yet. It is possible to buy a highly rated product and have problems with it, nothing is perfect. I do believe they try to test and report as honestly as possibe.

To the car mag haters all I can say is just beacuse they don't write what you want to read, doesn't mean they are biased toward your vehicle. If you like your vehicle, that's all that matters.
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Old 09-18-2004, 07:33 PM   #3
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Pop on over to the VUE forum and you will see what I am talking about
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Old 09-19-2004, 04:20 PM   #4
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i wouldn't make a blanket statement that mags are biased. however there are some editors in some magazines that don't like some model saturns. read the late 1990 and early 1991 issues and see that they liked the sc coupe and sl2 sedan when they arrived. however they didn't seem to care for the ion when it arrived in late 2002/early 2003. it's all about the product. consumer reports treats cars as appliances not unlike a toaster. they don't have ads so they don't have to care what automakers think.
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Old 09-19-2004, 05:37 PM   #5
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I gave up on car and driver in the 1980s when they were into the Porsche thing .(They still are I believe).Then I heard that much of the staff owned them.Then they fell in love with Audi and Volkswagen.I always believed these cars were overated and over priced. The ION review last year speaks for itself.They gave little credit to Chevrolets Corvette through the years even though many of the import sports cars they raved about today lay in peoples driveways with premature rust and you can buy all you want for under $1,000.Try purchasing any corvette in any condition for that kind of money.Yea I think they are bias toward American cars although they are improving.I think Motor trend is much better reading material.
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Old 09-19-2004, 09:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by eRic 96sc2
i wouldn't make a blanket statement that mags are biased. however there are some editors in some magazines that don't like some model saturns. read the late 1990 and early 1991 issues and see that they liked the sc coupe and sl2 sedan when they arrived. however they didn't seem to care for the ion when it arrived in late 2002/early 2003. it's all about the product. consumer reports treats cars as appliances not unlike a toaster. they don't have ads so they don't have to care what automakers think.
well, sometimes some of the cars they recommend ARE equivalent to appliances lol!

i am giving up on trying to defend car and driver. they liked the L in the preview, they liked the VUE in the road test, they liked the redline ion in the short take.

noone ever mentions how motorweek likes saturns, both the first S's and first L's won awards from them.
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Old 09-20-2004, 12:18 PM   #7
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With regards to consumer reports, it's not that they are biased or not, as much as they are totally incompetatnt.
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Old 09-20-2004, 06:56 PM   #8
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I've seen no evidence of bias against Saturn. People just don't like what they are hearing. I mostly read Car and Driver and Consumer Reports and find them both to be reliable sources of information. They do have have some bias-- Car and Driver is biased towards fun-to-drive sports cars and Consumer Reports loves quiet, comfortable, trouble-free vehicles.

The problem is, in my opinion, that the current Saturns cannot compete with the competition. The Ion might be an ok car to some people, but drive it back-to-back with a Mazda 3 or even a Corolla and it seems like a cheap piece of crap---hence the poor reviews (yes, I've driven them all). Saturn's vehicles are unspectacular, but their prices are low and they are backed up by the best dealers in the business. That's the special sauce that is not reflected in road tests or Consumer Report's reliability ratings.

I think that back in 93 (when S-Series cars were getting good reviews), the cars were very competitive. I owned a 94 SL2, and it was a good vehicle. Compared very well to its competition at the time. The problem with Saturn (and maybe GM in general) is that they did not keep up with the competition. There were 2 complete redesigns of the civic and corolla between when I bought my SL2 and when the Ion came out. I think the competition just passed Saturn up in those 9 years.
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Old 09-21-2004, 04:58 PM   #9
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in a 2000 comparo, the LW2 was in a car and driver comparo:
4th-Subaru Outback Wagon
3rd-Ford Taurus SE Wagon
2nd-SATURN LW2
1st-Volkswagen Passat GLX Wagon

they only didn't like the LW2's noisy engine (it was very powerful though), the placement of one rear speaker (on the cargo floor?) and i think the body panel gaps. that was it.
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Old 09-22-2004, 12:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by haypops
With regards to consumer reports, it's not that they are biased or not, as much as they are totally incompetatnt.
What's that word again?
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Old 09-23-2004, 11:11 PM   #11
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I dont think they are biased, their reviews are accurate.

Saturns have their own unique character and appeal, but they are not the best cars on the market from several perspectives.

If they were, they would be a lot more expensive and I probabally wouldnt own own.

I dont worry about what someone else thinks of my vehicle - I bought it, Im paying for it, I drive it

and I like it. Nothing else mattters to me.

in fact, if the mags did praise the cars they would be harder to get- I got an excellent year end deal on my new '04 Vue

im not complaining :^)
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Old 09-25-2004, 03:26 AM   #12
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CR has lost all credibility. For years they never recommended first year cars, instead waiting for proof of their reliablility. They weighted reliability, safety, and function first, creature comforts and styling last. Not so anymore. They recommended the Focus and the Passat which both had reliability issues soon after. There are few good car mags anymore. Reviews are full of opinions, but few facts. Often the facts are completely wrong or out of date. Read the boards and check it if you dont believe it.
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Old 09-28-2004, 11:07 AM   #13
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I think it's telling that no one even MENTIONS "Automobile Magazine" perhaps the worst rag of the lot. Those writers only write for each other, not for the reader. They're so full of pretense, they're almost unreadable [and mostly irrelevant].
There's sort of a built in bias toward any traditionally North American brands, something that I first noticed from one of the very first car magazines I read as a 10 year old.
I get the sense though that there IS a bias towards Saturn, as if the industry HOPES it will fail. Anything the "unwashed" embrace is always held in contempt by the elites. The PUBLIC loves it's Saturns, something the snobs and even GM do not understand.
Maybe it's because of the extraordinary attempt Saturn made at making it's customers full participants in the buying and owning of the cars, as if the buyer was there from the minute "thier" car left the factory that makes the modern equivalent of the "people's car", the under dog, the beloved folk hero.
This will never be relflected in automotive journalism becuase the writers have no real ability to comprehend beyond buzz words like "build quality" and "refinement" and "panel gaps" and the ever popular "cheap plasticky interiors".
If Saturn DID make the best car in the world, or even in it's segment, the rags wouldn't admit it.
It's been well documented both in the Fans forums and since the beginning the animosity the press has had toward Saturn. It's even mentioned in the book " In The Rings Of Saturn", so to suggest that it doesn't exist among the automotive press is not only untrue but to deny reality.
BTW here's a quote from the generally unquotable "Automobile" re: the Cobalt: "Remember the Saturn ION? GM hopes you don't, because it's widely regarded as the General's nastiest product since the Aztek. The Delta platform introduced with the ION received a deep theraputic massage in anticipation for it's use under Chevrolet's new Cobalt." Sept. 2004 "50 Great New Cars".
Any chance to get a slam in toward Saturn , they'll take it.
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Old 09-29-2004, 02:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Citation84
This will never be relflected in automotive journalism becuase the writers have no real ability to comprehend beyond buzz words like "build quality" and "refinement"
Build quality and refinement are not buzz words. They are expected of a world class manufacturer. I don't care if my car cost 16,000 or 60,000. It should impart a feeling of quality when I drive it. Saturn makes decent cars, but with some apparent cheapness in interior bits and pieces, which is plainly visible to anyone that drives it.
Some people accept it and some don't.

Journalists are in the enviable position of driving all of Saturns competitors. Through this "bias" they compare Saturn to the rest of the automotive world. It is not surprising if these journalist point out deficiencies in , for example, the Ion versus the Corolla, Mazda3, Civic, Sentra Etc.

I have owned Nissan's, Honda's and Saturn's. My mother-in-law owns a Ion Quad Coupe 3. Just from comparing in my own experiences, the Ion has terrible seats, cheap looking/functioning switch gear and a really noisy agricultural sounding engine. On the good side, the Ion feels stable, handles well and is spacious for it's class.

Most of what I mentioned is what the journalists point out. It is not because they hate Saturn. That is paranoid silliness. Saturn has just not kept up in all areas and most everyone including myself expected a huge breakthrough after waiting 12 years for the S-series replacement.

Also, why would a car mag praise a Chevy Cobalt over the Saturn if they were snobbish elitists? The Chevrolet is the consumate car for the "unwashed" masses. The answer is: The Cobalt has addressed all the issues that held the Ion from greatness. Better build, better materials, (some say better looks) etc.

The perfect current example of a car company getting a new car right is Mazda's new Mazda3.
It has looks, quality, handling...and it transcends the econocar barrier. I know many people who have looked at $30,000 cars only to buy the Mazda3 because it just looked and felt right for $10,000 less. This is what Saturn needs to do!
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Old 09-29-2004, 03:18 PM   #15
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but quality isn't always the most important, the ford focus has cheap materials (i've heard) and it's been a car and driver 10Best since its introduction.

i don't care to terribly much about quality, as long as the car is safe, reliable, has an engine, and looks nice, i'm happy.
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Old 09-29-2004, 06:56 PM   #16
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When the 2003 ION first appeared, friends of mine remarked that they felt it looked 'incomplete'. Naturally, I thought they were being sarcastic, and they clarified their comment.
"It doesn't look like a finished car. It's as if the design folks just gave up midway through, slapping parts together to create an automotive Frankenstein - very un-Saturn like." They like the 2005 version, but wonder why Saturn and GM couldn't get it right the first time, something the new Cobalt will certainly benefit from.

BTW, CR recommends five model years of SL sedans as used car values: 1996, 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2002. Where's the bias in that?

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Old 09-29-2004, 08:41 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by GR898SL2
When the 2003 ION first appeared, friends of mine remarked that they felt it looked 'incomplete'. Naturally, I thought they were being sarcastic, and they clarified their comment.
"It doesn't look like a finished car. It's as if the design folks just gave up midway through, slapping parts together to create an automotive Frankenstein - very un-Saturn like." They like the 2005 version, but wonder why Saturn and GM couldn't get it right the first time, something the new Cobalt will certainly benefit from.

BTW, CR recommends five model years of SL sedans as used car values: 1996, 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2002. Where's the bias in that?

Exactly!
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Old 09-30-2004, 06:46 AM   #18
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CR had to rate the early S series best buys. They were probable the finest American cars ever built made solely in America by Americans.They can match or exceed the life of any Toyoto,Honda or Nissian and CR service records show it.Much of CR ratings on new models is based on PREVIOUS history of other cars built by the company.
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Old 09-30-2004, 08:51 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by atomicshark
Build quality and refinement are not buzz words. They are expected of a world class manufacturer. I don't care if my car cost 16,000 or 60,000. It should impart a feeling of quality when I drive it. Saturn makes decent cars, but with some apparent cheapness in interior bits and pieces, which is plainly visible to anyone that drives it.
Some people accept it and some don't.

Journalists are in the enviable position of driving all of Saturns competitors. Through this "bias" they compare Saturn to the rest of the automotive world. It is not surprising if these journalist point out deficiencies in , for example, the Ion versus the Corolla, Mazda3, Civic, Sentra Etc.

I have owned Nissan's, Honda's and Saturn's. My mother-in-law owns a Ion Quad Coupe 3. Just from comparing in my own experiences, the Ion has terrible seats, cheap looking/functioning switch gear and a really noisy agricultural sounding engine. On the good side, the Ion feels stable, handles well and is spacious for it's class.

Most of what I mentioned is what the journalists point out. It is not because they hate Saturn. That is paranoid silliness. Saturn has just not kept up in all areas and most everyone including myself expected a huge breakthrough after waiting 12 years for the S-series replacement.

Also, why would a car mag praise a Chevy Cobalt over the Saturn if they were snobbish elitists? The Chevrolet is the consumate car for the "unwashed" masses. The answer is: The Cobalt has addressed all the issues that held the Ion from greatness. Better build, better materials, (some say better looks) etc.

The perfect current example of a car company getting a new car right is Mazda's new Mazda3.
It has looks, quality, handling...and it transcends the econocar barrier. I know many people who have looked at $30,000 cars only to buy the Mazda3 because it just looked and felt right for $10,000 less. This is what Saturn needs to do!
I couldn't agree more! I want a quality car for less than 20,000. Saturns just aren't there right now. Everything about the current Saturn vehicles says bargain-basement, from the uncomfortable seats, rough engine, to the clunky sound when you shut the doors.

I also think the Mazda3 is an incredible car. I can't wait to dump my 2003 Vue and get one.
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Old 10-01-2004, 01:12 PM   #20
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I do most of my readings online but there is one thing that mags have that you have to consider in judging whether or not they're fair in their assesments: they have sponsors/advertisers. THEY come first. I mean who the heck would want to PAY some magazine all those advertising $$ when all they do is bash one of their own cars, hello! For sure they will 'shmooze' their advertisers and portray their cars in a favorite light.
Consumer Reports, although not my favorite, has the advantage in that i accepts no $$ from ads, so in that respect, it's unbiased. My suggestion: read all you can from all sources, find a dealer and go for a couple of test drives. Then judge for yourself if that's the car you want.
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