What could be more straightforward than driving a car and telling the reader if it’s any good? Like sandwich making or manning a telephone at a call centre, road testing is one of those vocations that can be reduced to a handful of words without actually losing the essence of it. Thing is, when you start looking at it in more detail, testing cars does become somewhat more involved.
Engineering, value and practicality: those are the qualities Skoda believes to be behind its success. Successful it is too, with recent record sales driven by the launch of its pair of SUVs, the Kodiaq and smaller Karoq. A full electrification strategy is around the corner too, with four plug-in hybrid and six fully electric cars due to join the range between 2020 and 2025. However, none of that is to say Skoda has forgotten the role that’s to be played by its smaller, more conventional cars – which is precisely how we find ourselves behind the wheel of the freshly revised Fabia.
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?
There are no falcon doors, there is no Ludicrous Mode, and the company isn’t run by a man fashioning himself after Tony Stark. The center console isn’t comprised of a mega-iPad, and there are no rear-facing jump seats in the trunk. The Nissan Leaf is no Tesla Model S—a brilliant car, made by a fascinating company, and the first image to come to mind when one thinks of electric cars. But in the end, the Leaf may be more likely to succeed.
I’m not exactly sure why this is news, but NBC News has posted a story on the astonishing fact that young people shop for cars online, not in showrooms.
The story is full of facts and figures and percentages confirming that those belonging to Generation Y don’t begin at dealers when they shop for cars. Well obviously at CarGurus we know that, considering it’s what we do. Vehicle research, new or used, absolutely must begin online these days.
The opinions of others are just as much a part of vehicle research these days as checking spec sheets and reading professional reviews. Who has a better opinion to trust than someone who owns, or has owned, the same car?