Some Work Days Are Better Than Others: Why We Ramble

2016 NEMPA Ragtop Ramble

Like employees of any outlet in the business of reviewing cars, one of the questions we hear often revolves around where we get the cars we review. Are they supplied by dealerships? Does CarGurus buy the cars? Or do manufacturers actually set aside brand new vehicles specifically to send them off to automotive journalists, knowing that doing so opens them up to potential criticism?

It’s an interesting dynamic, to be sure, but since the automobile’s earliest days, automakers have relied heavily on the press to review and promote their products. This relationship is often facilitated through press events, where a press fleet or an individual manufacturer will invite a group of writers to test-drive a batch of new cars. Each summer, the New England Motor Press Association (NEMPA) hosts its own event, inviting automakers to bring their best cars for a sun-kissed drive up the New England coast to Kennebunkport, Maine. NEMPA works with the Automotion garage to manage a fleet of press vehicles for auto journalists in New England year-round, including a number of CarGurus contributors you’ll see in the video below, and conducts winter vehicle evaluations in the colder months.

Please note that while we enjoy the heck out of the Ramble, we don’t consider a half-day drive enough to write a car review. Sure, anyone can enjoy driving a convertible on a sunny day, but you can’t really judge whether that convertible is worth the money or not until you drive it in less-than-ideal conditions and have a clear sense of how it stacks up against its competition.

The journalists who review cars for CarGurus generally base their reviews on a full week’s experience with a new car, and they make sure to drive that new car in as wide a variety of conditions as possible. They then turn that week’s worth of experience into a review and video that evaluate the car’s performance, features, and cost and compare it to other cars in its segment.

Events like the Ragtop Ramble and Crustacean Crawl let us get a look at and taste of a variety of new cars and compare notes on them with other journalists and manufacturers’ representatives, and they also help strengthen our and NEMPA’s relationships with manufacturers, so we can continue building a catalog of new-car reviews that will be helpful to car shoppers of all kinds. Please feel free to visit and subscribe to the CarGurus YouTube channel after watching the following video.

-Matt Smith and Steve Halloran

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