‘Today’s generation do not get to read proper consumer tests’

In the 90s, when I was a child, Internet was something new and computers were not prevalent like they are now. So, the work of the multitude of car portals today was done by magazines back then. I used to spend countless hours pondering on the pictures, memorising the specs and re-read it for I do not know how many times. Having a car magazine back then was like having a new phone now. People, boys especially, used to get excited about that at all times.

I have a bunch of such magazines even now, stashed away somewhere. Many would have the same as well, for they are a treasure trove of car exotica that somehow the portals of today cannot beat. What’s more, because not everybody could write in a magazine, the language was good and it seemed professional as well, so much so that it was okay to pay the enormous asking price with a sense of satisfaction.

But today, magazines are actually a sidekick to websites. No matter how big a brand is, they need to have websites to survive the wave of Internet.

Along with the rise of Internet came the possibility for people to compare one production to another and that was where the problems started.

You see, somehow car reviewers in the country miss the objective by a country mile. All people want to know in a review was how easy it was for people to get in and out of a vehicle and how big the boot is and how economical a vehicle is, especially mainstream cars for the masses.

But somehow people of today miss the point altogether. While reviewing a small hatchback, a reviewer was talking about how fast it was and how well it corners. But for the old person who buys that car, none of that matters. All that matters to them is if the speedo is legible, if it will break their back when driven over a pothole and if it will burn a massive hole through their wallet when they take the car for their annual service.

I feel sad that today’s generation do not get to read proper consumer tests. Speaking about how 0.2 bhp more will make a bike faster and fighting against one another on the Internet in typical keyboard warrior fashion has no relevance or significance to anybody.

People in the know should speak about how safe the car is, how practical it is, how durable it is and what tricks there are up the sleeve of a car that many would find interesting. For instance, there are at least five shortcuts in a Mercedes Benz using its keyfob. Know about it? Or did you know that there is a small shop at the end of the town that will get a person any old car part within days? These are useful information that people do not share nowadays. Instead all that is filled up is needless twaddle that makes no case for itself.

The car community was one that would give away nice information, like the location and contact of mechanics who don’t cheat and stay true to their profession, about car wash bays that do not make one’s car look like a zebra after a wash, or like the fact that a police officer cannot take the key off of a person when caught for breaking some rules.
That is why old car magazines are still considered treasure troves. The amount of work done to make articles sound crisp yet be full of information beggars belief. But they did make it work and that is what the Internet must learn. Unless that is, fanboys (yes, there is a thing) will keep writing some stuff online that the five-year-old of today will think of as great. But when that child grows, s/he would not have the same amount of respect that my generation people have for car reviews and reviewers and that makes me sad.

Praveen Kumar S