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One Man’s Meat etc

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

The DriveWrite Archives

One Man’s Meat etc

Geoff Maxted
September 22, 2013

Car Show
There is a problem with reviews, no matter what for. The new movie ‘Diana’ is being hounded by the press every bit as much as the original subject was, only for different reasons. This time it is because it has been roundly criticised for being dreadful but, if you haven’t seen it, how would you know for sure?

Arguments rage throughout the drinking houses of Britain about this team or that or which Godfather or Star Trek film was the best. In short, everybody has an opinion and it is their own, alone.

Recently, DriveWrite drove the Jaguar XJL and it was great. What was not so great was the dashboard, which featured digital dials. I cannot tell you how much I disliked them although that was pretty much all I disliked about this magnificent car. The majority of buyers would probably have a different opinion and, like a dead owl as far as my views were concerned, couldn’t give a hoot.

So why do we need reviews at all? After all, as the old saying goes, one man’s meat is another man’s poison. What I, or anyone else, thinks is of no relevance when it comes down to it. However, when it comes to cars it is certainly handy to have someone else summarise the facts and figures, but you can get that from car manufacturers websites. You can select colour and options from brochures in the showroom. It is all a matter of personal preference. Who cares what anyone else thinks and, indeed, why is this bloke trying to talk himself out of a job?

I’ll tell you. Over time, some of you will read these pages and generally agree with much of what is written; others will be quietly planning to firebomb my mobile tool chest. What car reviewers give you, if they are hopefully good at their job, is a reasoned assessment based on experience and knowledge.

If a particular car is under consideration the potential buyer will possibly be ruled by the heart rather than by the head. It is the objective viewpoint that counts. It’s rather like taking along that otherwise irritating uncle who knows about cars to a used car viewing. It’s another pair of eyes.

Modern cars are very good. It is hard to find to a bad one. The budget end of the market will have cars that are lacking in the luxuries but that’s what a buyer will expect. Equally, the buyer of expensive cars will expect much more for the money. Where unbiased reviews come in is that they can tell you how a car performs, what is not so good and so on. The reviewer can say how a vehicle handles under different conditions and how easy it is to drive.

The reviewer should have an understanding of auto mechanics and, basically, know a lemon when he or she sees it. We drive the vehicle in a variety of conditions such as on the A Roads, the back roads, and in stop and go conditions. We take note of the acceleration, braking, handling, road noise, and blind spots. We try as many features as possible.

That’s why we’re here. We are your unbiased uncle. We are your eyes and ears. We hear and understand those tell-tale noises you don’t. We can help you decide between make or model. Sure, we get to drive some cool cars but sadly that’s a necessary part of the job. Someone’s got to do it.

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