Sunday, November 20, 2011

Topgear India Magazine Review

I’m a subscriber for Topgear Magazine (India edition) since December 2010. This post is a review of the magazine, based on my personal experience. If this topic doesn’t interest you please check my October archives.
Topgear is a popular TV show on BBC and its magazine version attempts to be equally good. India edition seem to retain a part of its international content with some localized articles. Topgear focuses mainly on cars. Most of it high end and international models. Makes interesting read of the cars one may never be able to buy in a lifetime.  They write fairly honest reviews.

But the focus on everyday cars is less. Not much interaction with readers (Q&A), tips, tricks etc. They don't cover auto events (exhibitions, roadtrips, contests by car makers etc)

Couple of times when I cross checked, other auto magazines published better photos of the same event. To quote an example, when Audi arranged a desert drive in Q5 and Q7 for journalists, Topgear's pics were basic, while other magazines published more spectacular pics with Q7 emerging from sand dune and so on. This judgement can be very subjective though.

Topgear has tied up with Indiatimes group and their customer care attitude is poor. There is no email ID to write to and I've to make a STD call to Bangalore during business hours and couple of complaints were not addressed till date. For quite sometime topgear India didn't have its website in order. There was no response from their Social Media channels too. Purely because of this, I've almost decided not to renew my subscription.

What I like in Topgear India:
  • Buyers guide in every issue, detailing pricing for all models available in India
  • Fairly interesting stories
  • Occasional special editions, priced 50% more but subscribers needn’t pay anything extra
  • Section that talks about used vehicles
  • Abhinav Mishra’s column
What I didn’t like:
  • Tie up with Indiatimes and poor customer service
  • No email helpline for subscriber issues
  • Poor focus on bikes: Occasionally some high end bikes are featured. Everyday bikes don’t get much attention in topgear.
  • Not enough focus on everyday vehicles. Most of the content is about high end cars, which are nice to see and read for an auto enthusiast. But as a owner of a car or as a prospective buyer, if you’re looking for tips/guidance etc, topgear is not the best choice
  • Some content gets repetitive: For example, every time there’s a mention of SX4, they crib about A pillar obstructing the view, or every time there’s a mention of fiesta classic, its drivability is praised. The points are valid and genuine, but reading same thing again and again was getting boring.
  • No coverage on auto events-like vintage car rallies, road trips, automobile shows and other events which can be of use to automobile enthusiasts
Related: Tata Aria 4x4 Pride review * Scorpio Vls mHawak Review *