MotorTrend is an American automobile magazine. It first appeared in September 1949,[3] and designated the first Car of the Year, also in 1949.[4][5]

MotorTrend, February 2010
Editor-in-ChiefEdward Loh[1]
CategoriesAutomobile magazine
FrequencyQuarterly- print Monthly - Digital
PublisherMotor Trend Group
Total circulation
(June 2022)
553,838 [2]
First issueSeptember 1949; 74 years ago (1949-09)
CountryUnited States
Based inEl Segundo, California, U.S.

Petersen Publishing Company in Los Angeles published MotorTrend until 1998, when it was sold to British publisher EMAP, who then sold the former Petersen magazines to Primedia in 2001. MotorTrend bears the tagline "The Magazine for a Motoring World". As of 2019 it is published by Motor Trend Group. It has a monthly circulation of over one million.[6]

Publication was monthly but changed to quarterly in 2024.[7]

Contents and sections


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

Road tests


MotorTrend magazine provides its readers with written "road tests" of vehicles. These road tests are published in each issue 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.

Vehicle comparisons


There are two main types of MotorTrend vehicle comparisons. Regular comparisons usually compare two to three vehicles, looking at what each is like to own, drive, etc. On MotorTrend's YouTube channel (titled "MotorTrend Channel"), MotorTrend puts up their best comparison of the month on a series called "Head 2 Head," featuring MotorTrend editors comparing cars on YouTube.

"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.

MotorTrend Garage


MotorTrend keeps a fleet of long-term test cars at their headquarters in Los Angeles, California. The majority of the MotorTrend 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 MotorTrend magazine. There is typically one special feature per month. For example, in one issue of the magazine, there may be a special feature about MotorTrend's "Real MPG" testing. For these tests, MotorTrend 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.

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 1949,[4][5] 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 its COTY wins in publicity materials.[8][9] 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.

New car guides


The magazine releases a special edition every September and October listing the latest new vehicles. The September 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


Truck Trend magazine presented features and the latest news about the truck, SUV, and crossover segments. Additionally, the Readers' Rides section allowed readers to post images and information about their own vehicles.[10] Truck Trend began in 1995 as "Truck Trends," a section of Motor Trend itself. It became the stand-alone publication Truck Trend in 1997. Truck Trend magazine ceased production in December 2019, as one of the nineteen magazines that Motor Trend Group ceased publication during that month.[11]

Motor Trend Classic


Motor Trend Classic included articles about significant classic cars from around the world made during the last 60 years. A total of 23 issues were produced. The first run was eight issues: two undated issues in 2005, and six additional bimonthly issues in 2006. Several years later the title was relaunched, and that second run was fifteen issues: quarterly from Spring 2010 through Spring 2013, then a combined Spring/Fall 2013 issue, with the final Summer 2014 issue appearing a year later.

Motor Trend On Demand


Motor Trend On Demand is an online television service. It features television series from Motor Trend, Automobile Magazine, Hot Rod, Super Street and Four Wheeler, such as Roadkill. In 2015, TEN bought Torque.TV and integrated it into the service, adding coverage of motorsports competitions such as Blancpain GT Series, Pirelli World Challenge, Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters, V8 Supercars, British Touring Car Championship, TCR International Series, FIA European Formula 3 Championship, European Le Mans Series, Australasian Safari, Motoamerica, Endurance FIM World Championship, Motocross World Championship, AMA EnduroCross Championship, and FIM SuperEnduro World Championship.

Motor Trend Network


In April 2018, following the acquisition of a majority stake in TEN by Discovery Communications, it was announced that its U.S. cable channel Velocity would rebrand as Motor Trend Network later in the year.[12][13][14]



In Italy, the channel Motor Trend began broadcasting on April 29, 2018 at 6:00 am with the Car Crash TV in place of Focus, whose brand has meanwhile passed into the hands of Mediaset.[15]

Used car warranty


In 2009, Motor Trend introduced a certified used car program,[16] beginning with dealers in Atlanta, Georgia and Cincinnati, Ohio. As explained in their press release, the program is powered by EasyCare.


  1. ^ "Motor Trend Names New Editor-in-Chief". 17 November 2011.
  2. ^ "AAM: Total Circ for Consumer Magazines". Audit Bureau of Circulations. Archived from the original on 2022-09-19. Retrieved 2022-09-19.
  3. ^ David N. Lucsko (2008-10-07). The Business of Speed: The Hot Rod Industry in America, 1915–1990. JHU Press. p. 247. ISBN 978-0-8018-8990-5. Retrieved 2015-07-24.
  4. ^ a b Jil McIntosh (2009-11-18). "Ford Fusion: It's tops with MotorTrend". Retrieved 2020-02-09.
  5. ^ a b "The World's Best Car Magazines". Essel Group - Daily News Analysis India. 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2020-02-09.
  6. ^ "MotorTrend". Echo Media. Retrieved 2017-02-10.
  7. ^ "Motor Trend to Suspend Monthly Publication 1Q24; Will Go" (Press release). 19 November 2023. Retrieved 2024-06-01 – via GM Inside News.
  8. ^ Flory, J. "Kelly" Jr. (2008). American Cars 1946-1959. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Coy. p. 190.
  9. ^ "Cadillac CTS Scores Second Motor Trend Car of the Year® Award" (Press release). Cadillac. 2013-11-07. Retrieved 2015-07-25.
  10. ^ "Reader's Rides | Rate My Ride, Car Photo Galleries". Truck Trend. Archived from the original on 2013-06-06.
  11. ^ Greg Dool (2019-12-06). "TEN Publishing Is Shuttering 19 Car Magazines". Folio. Retrieved 2020-03-22.
  12. ^ Evans, Greg (2017-08-03). "Discovery Communications Partners With TEN Network For Auto Portfolio". Deadline. Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  13. ^ Petski, Denise (2018-04-10). "Discovery Rebrands Velocity As Motor Trend Network". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-04-20.
  14. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (2018-04-10). "Discovery Rebrands Velocity as Motor Trend Network (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2018-04-20.
  15. ^ "Dal 29 aprile arriva Motor Trend sul canale 56 del digitale terrestre. Focus sul 35 dal 17 maggio" (in Italian).
  16. ^ Ramsey, Jonathon (2009-01-24). "Motor Trend getting into the used car business". Autoblog". Retrieved 2009-01-24.