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Motor Trend

Motor Trend
Motor Trend, February 2010
Editor-in-Chief Edward Loh[1]
Categories Automobile magazine
Frequency Monthly
Publisher TEN: The Enthusiast Network
Total circulation
(June 2012)
First issue September 1949
Country  United States
Based in Los Angeles
Language English
Website .com.motortrendwww
ISSN 0027-2094

Motor Trend is an American automobile magazine. It first appeared in September 1949,[3] issued by Petersen Publishing Company in Los Angeles, and bearing the tagline "The Magazine for a Motoring World". Petersen Publishing was sold to British publisher EMAP in 1998, who sold the former Petersen magazines to Primedia in 2001. As of 2007, it is published by TEN: The Enthusiast Network (formerly Source Interlink Media). It has a monthly circulation of over one million readers.[4]


  • Contents and Sections 1
    • Road Tests 1.1
    • Vehicle Comparisons 1.2
    • The Trend 1.3
    • Motor Trend Garage 1.4
    • Other Features 1.5
  • Car of the Year (COTY) 2
  • New Car Guides 3
  • Offshoots 4
  • Used car warranty 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Contents and Sections

The contents of Motor Trend magazines are divided up into sections, or departments.

Road Tests

Motor Trend magazine provides its readers with written "road tests" of vehicles. These road tests are published monthly, and are meant to give readers information about the featured vehicle, certain aspects of the vehicle, and what the readers can expect if the featured vehicle is purchased. For example, if Motor Trend road-tested the Cadillac Escalade, the road test article would provide its readers with information about the Cadillac Escalade, and what they could expect if they bought one for themselves.

Vehicle Comparisons

There are two main types of Motor Trend vehicle comparisons. Regular comparisons usually compare two to three vehicles, and what each is like to own, drive, etc. "Big Test" comparisons typically feature anywhere from five to seven vehicles, all being compared against each other. In a way, a vehicle comparison is like a large road test featuring many vehicles, rather than just one.

The Trend

The Trend provides readers with the latest what's happening in the automotive industry. This section may feature news about manufacturers, recalls, etc. "Newcomers" (recently redesigned or all-new models), along with short informative articles about them, can also be found in this section.

Motor Trend Garage

Motor Trend keeps a fleet of long-term test cars at their headquarters in Los Angeles, California. The majority of the Motor Trend editors are each assigned a car, and their duty is to drive that car on a daily basis and report on what's happening. Each month, one to two new vehicles are added to the fleet, to replace the one to two vehicles leaving the fleet. Each long-term test lasts approximately one calendar year. Not every vehicle receives a printed update each month, though the vehicles are still there. This section is typically located towards the end of the magazine.

Other Features

Other types of articles are sometimes featured in the Motor Trend magazine. There is typically one special feature per month. For example, in one issue of the magazine, there may be a special feature about Motor Trend‍ '​s "Real MPG" testing. For these tests, Motor Trend measures the "real-world" fuel economy of a vehicle in a number of conditions, and then compares their results to the EPA estimated fuel economy that manufacturers provide dealerships, who then provide it to their customers.

Car of the Year (COTY)

See also Motor Trend Car of the Year

The Chevrolet Volt won the COTY award in 2011.

One of the earliest and most enduring of the magazine's creations was its Car of the Year award, given almost continuously since its inception, although the phrase itself would not become entrenched until well into the 1950s. It predates the European Car of the Year award begun in 1964.

The first winner was the 1949 Cadillac, which featured an innovative overhead valve V8 engine; while the company initially turned down the award from the brand new magazine, it now proudly references it's COTY wins in publicity materials.[5][6] The award has gone through several splits and permutations over the years, being called the Golden Wheels Award for a while in the 1970s and having given rise to Truck of the Year and Import Car of the Year as well as SUV of the Year. Nevertheless, it is still coveted by manufacturers and is usually covered by the mainstream press as the most important distinction awarded in the American auto industry.

Some recent COTY award winners include the Chevrolet Volt (2011), Volkswagen Passat (2012), Tesla Model S (2013), Cadillac CTS (2014), and Volkswagen Golf (2015).

New Car Guides

The magazine releases a special edition every September and October listing the latest new vehicles. In September the issue looks at the latest cars (sedans, coupes, etc.) for the next coming calendar year, whilst in October the magazine looks at off-roaders, MPVs and sport-utility vehicles (SUVs).


Truck Trend and Motor Trend Classic are two offshoots of Motor Trend magazine.

Truck Trend magazine presents features and the latest news about the truck, SUV, and crossover segments. Additionally, the Readers' Rides section allows readers to post images and information about their own vehicles. Truck Trend began in 1995 as "Truck Trends," a section of Motor Trend itself. It became the stand alone publication Truck Trend in 1997.

Motor Trend Classic, which took a break from publishing in the late 2000s, was restarted in 2010. It includes articles about significant classic cars from around the world made during the last 60 years. As of 2014, Motor Trend Classic is no longer being published.

Used car warranty

In 2009, Motor Trend introduced a certified used car program,[7] beginning with dealers in Cincinnati, Ohio. As explained in their press release, the program is powered by EasyCare.


  1. ^ "Motor Trend Names New Editor-in-Chief". 
  2. ^ "eCirc for Consumer Magazines".  
  3. ^ David N. Lucsko (2008-10-07). The Business of Speed: The Hot Rod Industry in America, 1915–1990. JHU Press. p. 247.  
  4. ^ "Motor Trend". Echo Media. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  5. ^ Flory,, J. "Kelly", Jr. (2008). American Cars 1946-1959. Jefferson, NC:: McFarland & Coy. p. 190. 
  6. ^ "Cadillac CTS Scores Second Motor Trend Car of the Year® Award" (Press release). Cadillac. 2013-11-07. Retrieved 2015-07-25. 
  7. ^ Ramsey, Jonathon (2009-01-24). "Motor Trend getting into the used car business".  

External links

  • Official websiteMotor Trend
  • home pageTruck Trend
  • Automotive News BlogWide Open Throttle
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