Mat Watson (CarBuyer) Review

This is the review of a car reviewer, Mat Watson from CarBuyer.

No, we’re not going to review a human being, just make some comments on one of his reviews.

Mat Watson has reviewed the Mercedes M-Class at the end of March 2012. You can find his video here: http://youtu.be/Nosd5t4Xj10 (link opens in new window).

Looking at many car reviews from different sources, we often came across some common pitfalls:

  • All you learn from the review might have been learned from the official adverts and marketing material. This usually happen when the reviewer does not actually drive the car or has not enough time to assess its qualities. Mat seems to have looked at the car quite in-depth and mentioned a few things you would not necessarily learn from Mercedes. I doubt they tell you the steering is very slow and there is quite a bit of travel before brakes engage.
  • The review is biased by need to keep manufacturers happy, because they send the cars to test and they buy advertising space on the magazine (either online or on any paper version). Without having tried the car ourselves, it’s impossible for us to know whether the review is biased. However, there are some non-obvious negative remarks that usually are avoided in biased reviews.
  • The (video) review is too short to cover all the main factors. In this case, the review lasts between 5 and 10 minutes (6:05). Many short reviews are 2 minutes or shorter, but the most comprehensive are longer than 10 minutes. Time, however, is used wisely and not wasted in pointless scenes. In fact, Mat uses nice tricks to save time (see clapping hands). This means there are some aspects that haven’t been covered thoroughly and we must hope any serious issues would have been pointed out (which is probably the case). For example Mat shows the boot size, but also the lack of lip and the flat surface when seats are folded. Many reviews overlook some of these aspects. He doesn’t mention volumes, though, as he just states the boot is massive. Same thoroughness when he shows space in the back seats. With such a short review, you have to do a bit of guesswork. For example, the car is driven on some very mild off-road track and Mat says the car can cope with tougher scenarios. Not showing it, I guess it’s not a pro off-road car and you have to be careful if you attempt nasty tracks.
  • Some key information is missing. Mat has covered most aspects; however, you may argue some extra details would not hurt. For example, Mat mentions the 4-cylinder diesel version returning 45 MPG, but he states this is an official figure. What about a test? Mat is actually driving the 6-cylinder diesel, but he did not state MPG for that version (though it may be a bit less critical, due to the typical customer of such an engine). When Mat mentions the optional suspension system, he states it is needed as the standard one is a bit firm, but he does not state how good is the car with the air suspensions. Again, we can guess it would be fairly good.
  • The review is boring. This is personal taste, but we find Mat’s reviews, including this, among the very best in the UK. Entertaining, informative, professional and fun. They don’t sound like parodies, but are engaging and anything but boring.

As far as the review style is concerned, we enter subjective judgement, again. Mat is our favourite reviewer on YouTube and no-one comes close.

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