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Which car mag subscription should I gift?

Hi, everybody.

I’m trying to figure out which car magazine subscription I should gift to my significant other, whose birthday is next month. He likes to read occasional car mags if he’s waiting at the library or in the mechanic’s waiting room, but I haven’t noticed a particular preference…and while I love The Atlantic, I’m not a big subscriber-to-things, and not at all knowledgeable about different car magazines.

If it helps, he’s late 20’s, and just had to say good-bye to his 2003 Dodge Stratus R/T (manual, low profile tires, tint, etc – and a blown head gasket, dead catalytic converter, oil leaks & burning, etc) and hello to my former car, a 1994 940 Volvo wagon that we refer to as a “crotchety old man.” While the wagon waits for a carrier bearing to become available (and allow my s.o. to drive over 40 mph again), he’s been slathering on the Bondo for the back passenger-side quarter panel crumple (put there by a previous owner, not me) and is planning on repainting.

He seems attached to the Volvo – his first car was a similar model – and excited about the body work and getting him up and running. On the other hand, obviously his previous car was a lot more sporty, and he also enjoys looking at pictures of beautiful, non-crotchety cars. He’s expressed interest in the BMW M3 (out of range), Mazdas (better), and he also loved his old car.

What does that sound like to you? Car and Driver? Motor Trend? Some other magazine I obviously haven’t heard of because I can only actually name the two that show up in new car commercials?

If anyone subscribes to any particular mags, and can tell me some general focus differences between them, and/or suggest which one he might like, that would be much appreciated. : )

Sounds like he might enjoy ‘European Car’ magazine (used to be called ‘VW and Porsche’). Not practical, but he might like reading about lots of BMWs, Porsches, etc.

Ooh. I’ll look that up…

In my opinion, Motor Trend is the least objective of the popular car mags.
They seem to love everything they test–at least if there is a full-page display ad in MT for that model on a regular basis.

Car & Driver and Road & Track are published by the same folks, and an alert reader can even detect that the exact same cars appear in these mags, separated by perhaps one month. That being said, both of these mags are more “enthusiast” oriented than Motor Trend, and Road & Track seems to be particularly interested in uber-expensive cars.

There isn’t a single car magazine worth subscribing to these days. It’s all on the internet. Get him something for his car – a car care kit (clay bar, detailer, wax) could be one idea. Or, just take him out for a nice dinner and dessert.

@VDCdriver – Thanks. As I read your comment, I heard the echoes of “Motor Trend’s CAR OF THE YEAR” from whatever commercials over the years…and I don’t even get to watch actual commercial TV since the digital switch. So I see what you mean. Maybe I’ll look over Car & Driver and Road & Track next time I’m at a drug/department store.

@twotone – That’s my fear…but while my s.o. does spend scads of time “checking out” cars and whatnot online, I thought it might be nice for him to have a physical magazine to leaf through whenever he needs to kill some time waiting (like for that carrier bearing to be repaired). The car care kit is a good idea, though. I’ll have to look into that…the thing is that he hates his birthday, so whatever gift I give to acknowledge that I’m glad he was born needs to NOT be associated with a certain day, which made me think a subscription might be the way to go.

As for the dinner and dessert, he’s a chef! We eat out often – way more than I (am) used to. : )

Broaden his horizons a little. Get him a copy of “Hemmings Classic Car” and see if he likes it. You don’t have to own a classic, or even be interested in having one yourself, to appreciate some of these fine older vehicles.

Dodge Stratus? Volvo 940 wagon? He sounds like a candidate for Consumer Reports!

If you boyfriend liked car mags he’d already be a subscriber. I think he just looks at them when they’re lying on the table and he needs something to pass the time.

I used to subscribe to AutoWeek because I liked getting something new to read every week, but I got tired of seeing articles about cigars and expensive watches and I dropped it. Apparently I’m not rich enough to live the AutoWeek lifestyle.

I’m currently getting Hemmings Sports & Exotics, Classic Motorsports, and Car and Driver. Your BF is probably too young for S&E or CM, but he might like the juvenile hijinks the C&D crowd come up with now and then.

Seriously, I think maybe you should save your money. If he wanted to read car magazines he’d have subscribed by now.

Here’s an idea: why not ask him which one he’d like?

twotone… There isn’t a single car magazine worth subscribing to these days…I totally agree except for Hemming Classic car. Every car mag article is so wordy and lengthy that it takes away from the car.

My vote is Hemmings classic car even though the articles as stated above are to lengthy. Your friend must enjoy history to appreciate the mag.

@mcparadise – Ha! Yeah, you’d think so, right? That if he wanted or would enjoy a subscription, he’d already have one…except that if he weren’t a chef, he’d honestly starve to death for lack of planning even for his next meal. I’m certainly not trying to dictate what he “will” or “should” enjoy in the future, but the idea of him actually signing HIMSELF up for a subscription he may enjoy simply never occurs to him. Honestly. I find it hard to believe myself, as I’m a planner, but I can only take it on faith that what I’ve observed and what he reports about himself is true.

He has actually bought individual copies of several car mags, and read them cover to cover (more than once), and I have also (of course) asked which one is his favorite, but his answer is always “I like them all.” Which makes @meaneyedcatz and @asemaster’s (and @mcparadise’s) suggestion of Hemmings all the more interesting. That’s one I haven’t heard him talk about, though we live in an area with a lot of classic cars.

At any rate, if I can find a good mag to subscribe to, it won’t go to waste – at the very least, I can look them over and then we can donate them to our mechanic! : )

I wonder when the last time C&D tested a Volvo…And if they did , it would be a limited production high-performance model few people want or could afford…Car Mags are mostly eye-candy dream books…

The typical consumer magazines are shills for advertisers or hoped for advertisers. It’s more difficult to get as you must be employed in an engineering or related function at a company that is directly related to the auto biz but I like Ward’s Auto World. They do have some content on the internet. Some libraries might carry it and you could possibly get their old copies before they trash them.

Hemmings Motor News is one of my favorites, but it specializes in classics and antiques. Still, it’s interesting to read about the history of cars. My uncle subscribes to Hemmings Motor News, and I remember reading an article about a particular model (don’t remember which one), that, when it first came out, had a problem with the brakes overheating, so they drilled large holes in the steel rims. That article convinced me to remove the wheel covers from my Honda Civic to see if it would solve a brake disk warping problem, and it did. There is a lot to learn about modern cars by studying automotive history.

Top Gear…if he likes a bit of sarcasm in his car reviews. It’s my favorite.

CAR magazine and EVO are my second and third selections.

Be careful…some here are mentioning Hemmings Motor News but that is driven more for buyers and restorers.
Hemmings Classic Car is more for the reader.

Much would depend on what facet of the automotive world he’s interested in the most.
If it’s new car reviews and things of that nature then magazines like Car and Driver or Motor Trend might be what he’s looking for. However, I’m in agreement with VDCdriver about the content of these magazines and I don’t personally care for them except now and then as a time kill feature.

If it’s things more technical in nature then my preference is Car Craft. I still subscribe to Mopar Muscle but they’ve disheartened me a bit over the last year or so with too many features on checkbook cars and a glut of ads.
I just don’t care to read about someone who buys a new Dodge Challenger sight unseen, has it shipped somewhere to be completely gutted and repainted, and then shipped somewhere else for countless 10s of thousands of dollars worth of mechanical modifications. This is all finished up when the car is shipped yet again to a car show where the owner flies in and sees it for the first time. Gag.

@mountainbike Oh, Top Gear! He loves that show. Didn’t know they had a magazine, but I’ll definitely look into that.

@ok – Ha! I don’t think I’d care much for either the magazine or the person who did that to pretty much any car…but I’ll look into Car Craft as well, since he does like to know stuff about how cars work. It’s only been recently that I’ve begun to listen to some of his mini lectures, since it’s only recently that I’ve had any idea at all what he’s talking about!

@mcparadise – As for him needing a subscription to CR, I’d agree if it were all cars all the time…he got the Stratus from a friend for less than half the KBB value, and it went 177K which seems pretty good to me, before it went through the multi-system failure that left it overheated on the side of the road – and then he got the Volvo from me for very little money the day after the Stratus died, which was convenient for both of us. It may not be the most awesome car ever (it didn’t suit me at all, as I have to drive a lot for work and need a very reliable car), but he loves it now, which makes it a good car for him. (He also drives it a lot less than I needed to, and it’s so nice to have a station wagon around when you need one…whenever it’s not in the shop!)

I believe his mother may be planning to get him a AAA Gold membership for his birthday, so that should go along very well with the Volvo. ; )

If he loves Top Gear now, he’d have really liked it “back in the day”, like 15-20 years ago. It was a much better show before Jeremy took over as main host, and they started making it for more markets. Back then it was a British only affair, and had lots of humor in it.

I remember one show where they used “caravans” (small trailers that litter the British roads) as konkers (remember the toy with the two balls you smashed together??). They didn’t get them up in the air and smashed, but they did smash them together. It was hilarious.

Guess this was sorta off topic, but memories…


The Caravan Conkers episode was from 2004 :slight_smile: Well after Clarkson retook his rightful place as the lead presenter on Top Gear.

If you want a more or less “informative” car show, try 5th Gear. Top Gear is more entertainment oriented.

Yes, what is now Top Gear is more entertainment oriented, I would agree. The show I’m talking about was from the 90’s, though. I watched it in England, while living there, and I left in 2000, so it was definitely before 2004 - a different one.