Cars are a big part of Southern California life and culture. That’s stating the obvious. But how do we know the cars we buy and drive really match the performance promised by manufacturers and dealers in television commercials and showroom sales pitches?

Enter the automobile critic. It’s his or her job to get behind the wheel of new cars  and see if the vehicles match their marketing hype. Does the $200,000 sports car really go from 0 to 60 in under five seconds? How good are the brakes on that vehicle being advertised as family-friendly? And does a new-fangled hybrid car really get the tremendous miles-per-gallon promised by the manufacturer?

KCRW recently got some behind-the-wheel insights into the world of automotive journalism. We were invited by Ed Loh, the editor-in-chief of Motor Trend, to see new cars being driven and put through their paces by the magazine’s editors and drivers.

We met the Motor Trend team at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. That’s where they regularly, and rigorously, tests all kinds of cars, from sleek and snarling exotics that cost more than most people make in a year to easy on the budget economy cars promising practicality over performance.

Buckle up and listen to our story below. You can also see photos of our day with the guys from Motor Trend.




Motor Trend writers and drivers gather about once a week at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. The venue’s big and empty parking lots on weekday mornings offer the perfect place to safely test speed and handling.



A car during acceleration tests as a Motor Trend cameraman shoots the run for the magazine’s website.


The cars tested by Motor Trend get weighed and inspected  before they’re driven on the track.


Cars tested by Motor Trend are outfitted with GPS sensors to provide  precise information about speed and handling. Here Motor Trend staffers  review data from a test drive.


Motor Trend editor-in-chef Ed Loh walks us through the engine of an Aston Martin Vanquish. He says few magazines can afford to test cars the way Motor Trend does because of the expensive of equipment and driver training.


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  • Phillip said:

    Car is essential for every person for day to day transportation for which the demand for car is increasing rapidly. At the time of buying a car we give importance on its quality and performance because we have to use this car for long term purposes. Manufactures give proper attention on good performance of the car for which they check and test every components thoroughly. But after buying a car, we have to give proper attention on maintenance of the car for smooth running and proper functioning.

  • opaler said:

    I lived in California for a good part of my life, finally leaving in 1993, after reading about Infiniti. After I moved away, I finally realized what a beautifully messed up state it is. CA is a wonderful place to visit, but completely unable to manage itself.

  • mariusa said:

    I would love to own a sport car and do some car racing with my friends from time to time. I customized my current car with diesel performance parts bought from and now it's faster. It turned out to be awesome.

  • learn piano keyboard said:

    Manufactures give proper attention on good performance of the car for which they check and test every components thoroughly. But after buying a car, we have to give proper attention on maintenance of the car for smooth running and proper functioning.

  • andrespefta42 said:

    Really air-conditioned affection and reality of the nature and human work. Thanks guys!

  • Szybki Kredyt said:

    Great blog post. It’s useful information. Hope to see more posts soon!

  • timothy said:

    It is one thing to display a luxurious car just for a TV show or invest all your lifetime savings to buy one and keep it parked by your front door. The latter is lot more expensive and risky, to my view. Imagine that a beautiful car like that one will cost you a fortune only for the proper insurance you need to sign for it. Thank God I realized in time. I am so much better now with my Fords. The costs are reasonable.

  • Christ said:

    While buying a car we must be well aware about the model of the car, because what we usually see in TV doesn't seems to have the same feature as shown and also the price range generally varies, as the on- road price of the vehicle is never mentioned. Always the initial price of the vehicle is shown in order to promote the car. We should find out that whatever the dealer has shown to us actually exist or not. Its very difficult to choose the best car for you, as everyone has many expectations regarding their own car. So you can basically take the suggestion of your friends, relatives or may be the one who has knowledge about cars. Because the dealers main motto is just to sell the car by convincing you.
    Mercedes Brake Repair Houston, TX

  • ciaociao123 said:

    So basically Tendril will be the rally where both Ken and Higgins fight for the championship, too bad there's so much dust though, we'll see if Block doesn't fail and gives the win to Higgins. Well see if Van Way actually starts doing something with the new flag.

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