The truth about "car of the year" awards

The truth about “car of the year” awards

Ever wonder how various magazines hand out “car of the year” awards and how sometimes the most undeserving cars win? These awards are a staple of regional rags, but the more transparent U.S. media pioneered such awards. And now, their dirty little secret has been exposed, although it has always been obvious to those who pay attention.

The respected Wall Street Journal newspaper has outed a U.S. magazine for accepting payments in return for awards. The story is further covered on Autoblog, and a quick look at their comments section reveals that various other magazines are involved in such dealings.

And now you know.

What do you think?



  1. Author

    P.S. I will be one of 12 judges in a “car of the year” award soon. However, it will be given out by an auto show, not a magazine, and I will not be paid.

  2. Not surprised to know this. It happens in any sector, be it doctors recommending medicines or travel mags writing about hotels.

    IMHO the best person to judge a car is the common taxi driver on the roads. He is the one who is spending nothing less than 10 hours behind the wheel. Ask him and he will give you a honest opinions which sets apart a Camry from a Altima and Sonata from a Mondeo.

  3. Corruption exists in every part of society. I am based in Doha, Qatar and every now and then I see that ‘Doha Bank’ is awarded the bank of the year whilst I am left to ponder why would anyone name the worst bank as the best bank of the year. This post of yours just reinforced my inherent belief that rigging is rampant across all sectors.



  4. Was looking through one of the local auto mags a few months ago and found they had awarded the Audi Q5 as the compact SUV of the year. I immediately got the feeling that this was a RIG coz

  5. A few local CAR mag here in the ‘middle east’ voted the Audi Q5 the compact SUV of the year, meanwhile a friend of mine has had transmission issues with his Q5 and has been kicking himself for choosing the model/brand. Hes lucky that vehicle was still under warranty but hes complaint about them not offering him a courtesy vehicle. It took them over 5 weeks to return the vehicle to him after the job was complete. Now he intends to sell the vehicle off quickly as he fears the worst is yet to come.

    So getting back to the point, it makes me wonder on what grounds are they claiming the Q5 to be the SUV of the year? Did they have a comparison done with any of the other MUCH MORE RELIABLE COMPACT SUV or has Audi quietly filled the pockets of the Auto mags?

    Disturbing accusation by me? Yes, I know.

  6. Author

    Here’s some more fun:
    CAR ME car of the year: BMW X6!
    Autocar ME car of the year: Audi A6 Wagon!
    Autocar ME compact SUV of the year: Toyota Fortuner!
    Autocar ME premium car of the year: Toyota Camry!
    And every magazine has to give something or the other to VW.

  7. ^ this is beginning to look as bad as the current ‘Recall’ fiasco 😉

    Toyota Fortuner .. a compact SUV? C’mon Autocar, you should know better than that?!! Even the other awarded titles dont exactly fit the bill… X6 is a coupe SUV, A6 wagon is a station wagon, Camry is a mid size or family car. It looks like these auto-mags put out a selection to the local dealers here and said .. ‘ok guys, these are the only titles (…. of the year) left for selection, which one do want us to tag your model with??’

  8. Camrys premium car is the Aurion…they mixed up the names but that’s not surprising seeing they both look so errr…similar….

  9. Depends on Autocar ME’s definition of ‘premium’. Avalon would’ve been more believable. Though I doubt how a Toyota could be considered as premium with Lexus, Infiniti, Audi, BMW & Mercedes available in this market. Unless they set the lower price limit as one of the deciding factors.

  10. aurion i can still understand, it is not bad car…

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