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CMC new towcar reviewer


barrysp
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Just reading CMC's January's magazine.

They introduce their new towcar reviewer, James Bachelor, who admits he has never towed!

But it's OK -  he has now done the clubs practical caravanning course.

Whilst everyone has to start somewhere  previous experience of towing would have been high on my list of skills required for the job.

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I'd take anything he CMAC say with a pinch of salt. I'm sure they only recommend the products of manufacturers that advertise in their magazine. As for tow car of the year - more like 'manufacturer who has spent the most on advertising'!! Having someone without towing experience making reviews of tow cars, well that says it all.

 

I keep meaning to opt out of receiving their magazine as it's complete trash on my opinion, but then I feel I want them to earn my subs :)

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10 hours ago, barrysp said:

Just reading CMC's January's magazine.

 

Good for you squire.  I'm afraid it's just nothing more than a flick through the pages for me.  Agree with @JCCD

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10 hours ago, JCCD said:

I keep meaning to opt out of receiving their magazine as it's complete trash on my opinion,

Agreed - Caravan Club used to claim the thing was worth something like £40 per annum to its members.  
 

At least C&CC have the option of a 'Digital' (paperless)  membership - reduced annual subscription with no pointless magazine.   

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Good post from JCCD. The new tow car reviewer is employed to do a good job for the club's paying advertisers, not the club members. We opted out of the magazine and all the advertising junk coming with it, some years ago, and we are digital members of the C&CC. 

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14 hours ago, barrysp said:

Just reading CMC's January's magazine.

They introduce their new towcar reviewer, James Bachelor, who admits he has never towed!

But it's OK -  he has now done the clubs practical caravanning course.

Whilst everyone has to start somewhere  previous experience of towing would have been high on my list of skills required for the job.

I have met James in person, my opinion is that he is a creditable motoring journalist. In our conversations he exhibited a good understanding of motoring issues and the issues facing caravanners.

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Creditable or not to pass judgement on towing ability surely you need to tow and understand the pitfalls that might be-journalism is one thing but-so I totally agree with the above-and as for taking any notice of them-read the CAMHC reviews and read the Caravan and Camping Club reviews and be prepared to be confused-they both tested the Sorento-one gave it tow car of the year and one said it was underwhelming-all most odd!

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I've never been much of a dancer - this makes me wonder if the BBC will be in touch to ask if I want to be a judge on Strictly next year!  Regardless of the chap's qualities as a motoring correspondent, if he has never towed, then you have to wonder what value, if any, his evaluations will have.

Agree with what has been said about the magazine - pretty much a waste of paper, takes about two minutes to read.

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There is certainly a lot of talk about an influx of new caravaners over the last few years so having someone who is able to represent those people doesn't seem completely illogical. Then again, if he spends the whole time reviewing top of the line outfits it's a bit pointless.

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But regardless of his previous motoring journalism if he has never towed up until now what can he possibly base his conclusions on? 

 

A bit like employing someone who holds a basic private pilots licence to be a test pilot for an airliner! How on Earth can you give a practical and/or worthwhile  review when you have no practical experience of what you are reviewing?? 

 

As for the magazine, what a waste of space. I am totally uninterested in the “The wardens at xxxxx site, Brian and Maureen, were simply marvellous when we lost our trusty Bic Biro pen somewhere on site last week. They were so kind in directing us to a nearby shop:”  Type of letter, and as for the “technical” advice section  :rolleyes:

 

I would happily forego the magazine for a reduction in my membership fee, especially when they are reviewing motorhomes that are way North of 70 or even 100,000 pounds. I wonder how many of their members can afford to spend that sort of money. I bet it’s a very small percentage indeed. Likewise with reviewing top of the range towcars such as Disco’s &  Range Rovers etc! Pointless for probably 95%+ of their members

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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52 minutes ago, Mr Plodd said:

But regardless of his previous motoring journalism if he has never towed up until now what can he possibly base his conclusions on? 

 

A bit like employing someone who holds a basic private pilots licence to be a test pilot for an airliner! How on Earth can you give a practical and/or worthwhile  review when you have no practical experience of what you are reviewing?? 

 

As for the magazine, what a waste of space. I am totally uninterested in the “The wardens at xxxxx site, Brian and Maureen, were simply marvellous when we lost our trusty Bic Biro pen somewhere on site last week. They were so kind in directing us to a nearby shop:”  Type of letter, and as for the “technical” advice section  :rolleyes:

 

I would happily forego the magazine for a reduction in my membership fee, especially when they are reviewing motorhomes that are way North of 70 or even 100,000 pounds. I wonder how many of their members can afford to spend that sort of money. I bet it’s a very small percentage indeed. Likewise with reviewing top of the range towcars such as Disco’s &  Range Rovers etc! Pointless for probably 95%+ of their members


 

I think they review the £100,000 + vehicles because where else would they get to drive such a thing  , at the reader’s expense , the fact that they are out of most peoples reach doesn’t matter to them , they have got the buzz of a few days free loan . I think the same principle applies to nearly all magazines , I have always been a CSMA member  , well since 1967  , ( it’s Civil Service Motoring Association ) , they used to put Aston Martin & the like road tests in their free magazine even though most people on Government salaries couldn’t even afford to put petrol in them . 
The thing that has always annoyed me about caravan magazines , purchased or free is that they would never find a fault or comment on build quality  , don’t bite the hand that feeds you , as others on here have said .

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4 hours ago, ChertseyMike said:

There is certainly a lot of talk about an influx of new caravaners over the last few years so having someone who is able to represent those people doesn't seem completely illogical. Then again, if he spends the whole time reviewing top of the line outfits it's a bit pointless.

Journalists often collate research from a wide background of sources prior to writing copy - as well as expressing their own opinions.

 

When I met him he was very receptive to listening to issues; one example  we discussed and he took on board was the suggestion that checking the fit of extension mirrors on various vehicle mirrors was an aspect worth exploring during a review. 

Edited by Fenester
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It'd fairly clear that a lot of the commentators here don't read the magazine. If they did, they would know that tow car reviews fairly often contain a fair few negatives, as well as positives.

 

I would prefer that reviewers were experienced towers, though I would think it will take only a few cars for them to get up to speed.  I've been caravaning for 9 years. I've only had three towcars (about to be four) and five different caravan combinations but I'm now fairly certain I could review a tow car's abilities pretty fairly.  

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55 minutes ago, Scarab said:

It'd fairly clear that a lot of the commentators here don't read the magazine. If they did, they would know that tow car reviews fairly often contain a fair few negatives, as well as positives.

 

I would prefer that reviewers were experienced towers, though I would think it will take only a few cars for them to get up to speed.  I've been caravaning for 9 years. I've only had three towcars (about to be four) and five different caravan combinations but I'm now fairly certain I could review a tow car's abilities pretty fairly.  

 

...but is it not a lot more than that?  Is it not the knowledge gained by experience that says this car with its weight and engine should be performing so much better in terms of traction, stability etc with the combination?  That taking that bend at that speed should probably not have lifted the outside wheel 4 feet off the tarmac or that gearing makes for hard work as a tow vehicle etc etc.

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17 minutes ago, SamD said:

 

...but is it not a lot more than that?  Is it not the knowledge gained by experience that says this car with its weight and engine should be performing so much better in terms of traction, stability etc with the combination?  That taking that bend at that speed should probably not have lifted the outside wheel 4 feet off the tarmac or that gearing makes for hard work as a tow vehicle etc etc.

:goodpost: and I agree with you 100%  

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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59 minutes ago, SamD said:

 

...but is it not a lot more than that?  Is it not the knowledge gained by experience that says this car with its weight and engine should be performing so much better in terms of traction, stability etc with the combination?  That taking that bend at that speed should probably not have lifted the outside wheel 4 feet off the tarmac or that gearing makes for hard work as a tow vehicle etc etc.

 

Not sure I understand what you are saying

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I read both mags tow car reviews cover to cover-like many car reviews in the press/motoring press-some of it is useful some of it-from cars I have owned is correct but a lot of it completely wrong and almost as if they've only driven the car for a few minutes!  Mind you many car salesmen can't get it right either! I always read the car manual so I can operate everything i then sit in the car with it and set it up-but some-ie the reviewed our Navara in one magazine and said the driving position was cramped-made me wonder if the driver was a 7 footer as the thing is huge and spacious-now if they'd said the rear seat floor was high and made you feel cramped if you have long legs-I'd totally agree. I read the mags like them but always make up my own mind. Many car mags criticise cars for having a soft ride-imo that may well be a bonus for many!

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Had that know it all (which means I really know nothing) from a Salesman on our last change to the Sorento in 2015.

However, my wife soon shut him up!

Salesman a few minutes into test drive says “if this car hasn’t got it you don’t need it”.

Wife looks all round the car two or three times.

Salesman says “what are you looking for”

Wife says “the coffee making machine”!!

Silence for the rest of the test run.

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I only subscribe to the magazine to make the club earn their money, it goes straight in the bin unopened.

 

If they reviewed 2nd hand caravans and 2nd hand tow cars in different budget categories, such as tow cars under £10k etc then that would be more realistic and relevant to me.

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I'm always struck by the way they all too often match the car with (what seems to me to be) a totally unsuitable caravan.

I understand that the vans they use are empty & hence at MRO, but how many people will read the review and assume that car X is an ideal match to van Y - because they did it?

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I think we need to reserve judgement until we see his reports, but I would agree I would have been looking for someone with more towing experience.  It may be he was the best of the applicants though, as we have no information as to who applied.

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On 29/12/2021 at 11:27, hp100425ev said:

Had that know it all (which means I really know nothing) from a Salesman on our last change to the Sorento in 2015.

However, my wife soon shut him up!

Salesman a few minutes into test drive says “if this car hasn’t got it you don’t need it”.

Wife looks all round the car two or three times.

Salesman says “what are you looking for”

Wife says “the coffee making machine”!!

Silence for the rest of the test run.

 I think we, too,  may have met him around that time :)

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