One of the goals that CarReview strives for is to collect as many viewpoints as possible. We understand that different cars have different purposes and strengths. One person is not enough to recognize the brilliance (and sometimes shortcomings) built into today's sophisticated vehicles. Thus, we assembled a group of people with a wide range of demographics. The call went out and I was able to assemble a team of enthusiastic individuals from different age groups, backgrounds, and most importantly -- gender.
We recognize that there are a shortage of women's opinions in the automotive world and CarReview.com wants to acknowledge all of the female vehicle owners/drivers across the world. Whenever possible there will be at least one woman's review included when I assemble a group of test drivers for a road test of an automobile. The one common thread among the test panel member's is their genuine enthusiasm towards cars and driving.
Thanks for letting us share our thoughts and opinions.
Derek Site Manager and Editor-in-Charge | CarReview.com
Name:Kirk Bell Age: 40 Height:5' 10" Location:Chicago, IL Currently drives: No personal vehicle. All test cars. Prefer manual or automatic transmission?Manual Prefer convertible or hardtop?Hardtopfor performance reasons Do it yourself (DIY) or professional mechanic to service your car?Full service Background: Kirk brings 18 years of automotive journalism experience to the table. He spent 12 years editing Scale Auto Enthusiast magazine, and was most recently associate publisher for Consumer Guide Automotive. Kirk’s knowledge of cars includes both the old and the new. He has edited several books on automotive history and driven more than 100 cars per year since 2001. Kirk grew up around cars. His father raced Pontiacs, rather unsuccessfully, at Great Lakes Dragaway in Union Grove, WI, and his mother’s daily driver was a 1969 Pontiac GTO Ram Air IV.
Name:Tony Borroz Age:48 Location:San Francisco, CA Currently drives: 1994 Mazda Miata R-Package; one of only 1100 made, this particular car was SCCA ProSolo national autocross champion in 1994 & 1995 (bought it from a friend I used to race against).
Prefer manual or automatic transmission? Generally manual ... but if you're stuck in traffic ...
Prefer convertible or hardtop? Convertible
Do it yourself (DIY) or professional mechanic to service your car? I use a mechanic ... I'm real good at taking things apart, but putting them back together? Well... Background:This is all my dad's fault. My father is a (now retired) tool & die maker. I grew up in a house full of sports and antique cars of one kind or another, but mainly British cars. Triumphs, MGs, Sunbeam Tigers, Kaiser Darrins, Jeepsters. Lucas electric jokes? Shoot I LIVED most of those punch lines. I've got car books by the ton (literally, I weighed them once) and car magazines stretching back into the 50s.
Racing? I've never missed watching and an Indy 500, and since they've been broadcast, the same goes for F1 racing as well. Shoot, if Le Mans is covered, I'll stay up all day and all night to watch that. I used to race myself, but I was pretty mediocre. I have a very understanding wife.
Name:Kevin Bowe Age:27 Height:6' 0" Location:Saratoga, CA Currently drives: 2004 Subaru WRX Background:I am twenty-six years old and used to be an avid triathlete. Now I am just an every other weekend "weekend warrior", but I am still looking for excitement, which is what brought me to carreview.com. I hope you enjoy my honest and light hearted reviews and have as much fun reading them as I did driving them!
Name: Becky Brain Age: 46 Height: 5' 3" Location:Pleasant Hill, CA Currently drives:2004 Subaru Outback Impreza Sport, 1998 Toyota Tacoma extended cab Prefer manual or automatic transmission? I have one of each. It doesn't really matter unless I'm in hellacious traffic. Prefer convertible or hardtop? Hardtop Do it yourself (DIY) or professional mechanic to service your car? Professional Mechanic Background: I have always loved cars, growing up my brothers loved the movies Grand Prix and LeMans and we were always guessing years of cool cars out on the road. My dad had a Buick with 3 on the tree that had gobs of power but I don't think he ever really revved it up with us kids in the car. For a time I owned a 68 Dodge Charger but it was built for quarter miles and that's about how far I ever took it. I still love looking at well built cars, well restored, and my all time favorite vehicle is a 1953 MG red convertible...someday...
Name: Francis Cebedo Age: 42 Height: 5' 8" Location:Saratoga, CA Currently drives: 2005 Mini Cooper S, 2002 VW Passat Prefer manual or automatic transmission?Manual Prefer convertible or hardtop?Hardtop Do it yourself (DIY) or professional mechanic to service your car?Yes to both Background: I appreciate cars that support my lifestyle as a family man and a cyclist. I like cars that are roomy, are well designed for my activities.
My passion is with sports cars. I like cars that exhibit great balance in terms of power and handling. Driving a great car on a curvy mountain road should be a religous experience. In addition, I like to tune and modify cars to optimize the performance for my driving preference.
Name: Gary Chan Age: 41 Height: 5' 7" Location:Mountain View, CA Background:I'm a self-professed car nut living in the SF Bay Area, and have loved cars (and now motorcycles) for almost 30 years now. In high school, my buddy and I would take off and go "performance driving" in the hills above Woodside. What a blast! Attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for college, I studied Mechanical Engineering, and loved every automotive-related course. To support my habits now, I'm an engineer at a wireless company in the Silicon Valley.
Name: Kurt Gensheimer Age: 30 Height: 6' 0" Location:Campbell, CA Currently drives:1997 Toyota 4runner Mallrunner, 1985 Toyota 4runner Rockcrawler, 2004 Mazda RX-8 Prefer manual or automatic transmission?Manual...always. Now I just have to convince my wife. Prefer convertible or hardtop?Depends upon the vehicle Do it yourself (DIY) or professional mechanic to service your car?Do it myself 99% of the time...unless its covered under warranty of course! Background: As a child, every morning when I woke up for grade school my mom would ask, "What did you dream about last night?" My answer was the same each day - "cars and trucks." I drew sketches of cars, built car models, had remote controlled cars, and my Hot Wheels collection? I'll spare you. Instead of reading Ranger Rick and Highlights magazines, I read Car and Driver and brochures from the local Porsche dealership. It was clearly evident that one day my profession would revolve around cars. I am now a freelance copywriter and journalist specializing in the automotive industry, and yes, I still dream about cars and trucks...every night.
Name: Adrienne Gruben Age: 40 Location:Los Angeles, CA Currently drives:2001 Volkswagen Jetta Prefer manual or automatic transmission? Depends on the car. Who needs a manual tranny in a rented Previa? Prefer convertible or hardtop? Both? Several years ago, I was in a convertible going to a Radiohead concert with the fella I'd later marry. He had no idea we'd end up together, but I'd finally found the right moment to tell him. Our hair was blowing, the sky was starry and the AM station crackled with 40's crooners. Then he started telling me how great his new girlfriend was. Come to think of it, I prefer the hardtop Do it yourself (DIY) or professional mechanic to service your car? While I did adjust my Honda Accord's valves when I was in college, I go to a mechanic.
He is a Buddhist and closes his eyes while I tell him what is wrong. Background: I have worked in the film business for my entire professional career. But the same thing you get from a movie - escape, thrills, tears, joy - you get from a car. When my Mom went into labor with me, my Dad fixed them both daiquiris to drink in their 1967 Bronze Mustang Coupe on route to the hospital. It was the first car I fell in love with. My first car was a Honda Accord, which I drove back and forth from college in California to my home in Texas. It broke down on the Golden Gate Bridge once and they towed me to this hidden city underneath. The next was a tiny Izuzu pickup - the only zippy one of its kind. Too many people wanted to borrow it, so I got a Miata. It was a chick car, but I sped around like a roadrunner and parked anywhere. My Miata saw me through hovering bosses, drunken landlords and boyfriends who wore 50/50. I cried when I sold it. I bought my Jetta recently, so our relationship is new. The seller accidentally left a few playing cards in the side pocket-including the queen of hearts and a joker. I think we're off to a good start.
Name: John G. Age: mid-30's Height: 6' 1" Location:east bay, CA Currently drives:compact pickup Prefer manual or automatic transmission?Manual, unless I'm working or stuck in traffic Prefer convertible or hardtop?Hardtop Do it yourself (DIY) or professional mechanic to service your car?I leave it to the professionals Background: At various times in my life I have been an engineer, designer, project manager, entrepreneur, and burger flipper. I have driven everything from a BMW M6 to a Geo Metro to a Defender 90 to a 25 foot box truck, and have toured the country both on a motorcycle and in a car. I judge cars by their intended use, and appreciate good engineering, solid construction, and functional ergonomics in any vehicle...but there's nothing like dropping the clutch on something low and fast.
Name: Alex Kramer Age: 30 Height: 5' 10" Location:Sunnyvale, CA Currently drives:2006 Ford Escape Hybrid Prefer manual or automatic transmission?Depends on the car. Sporty/Compact car = manual tranny, Minivan/SUV/Luxury Sedan = Auto tranny Prefer convertible or hardtop?Hardtop Do it yourself (DIY) or professional mechanic to service your car?Used to be DIY, now mechanic (darn hybrids!) Background: Ever since I learned to drive stick in my parent's 1980 Honda Civic Wagon (which has to be one of the least performance oriented cars in history!), I've been fascinated by cars, both in terms of how they drive and how they work. My first car, bought through hard earned money from an after school job, was a used 1987 Honda CRX Si. That car taught me so much, including how to spin a 360 on highway 9 (scary!!) and how to drill-out a stripped bolt on the exhaust manifold (oops!!). After going through several more fun little compacts, I've grown up a bit and placed my faith in the engineers with a hybrid SUV, and so far I'm impressed. Sure, it's more practical than fun, but with gas at $3.50 a gallon, squeezing out every mile has become it's own reward!
Name:Natasha M. Age:32 Height: 5' 1" Location:San Bruno, CA Currently drives:2003 GMC Yukon Denali Background:Growing up with an appreciation for cool cars and an enjoyment for driving, I'm excited writing reviews for CarREVIEW.com. From the days driving an old '64 Ford Mustang without power steering and A/C to now driving a large SUV packed with goodies, I've come to truly appreciate all the minor and major features and conveniences a car has to offer. As a busy working mother of 2, I find myself constantly running errands and relying heavily on my car working with me and without question. I even enjoy quiet, relaxing drives because they become an escape from the bustle of life. My husband is also a huge auto enthusiast and has exposed me to races, car shows and since he subscribes at least two auto magazines I am constantly hearing about the newest cars and latest updates. I am slowly learning more about cars in general, but certainly love beautiful and powerful cars.
Name:Derek Mau Age:45 Height: 5' 5" Location:Sunnyvale, CA Currently drives:2002 Acura RSX Type-S Prefer manual or automatic transmission?Manual, as long as I'm not stuck in traffic Do it yourself (DIY) or professional mechanic to service your car?DIY whenever possible. Although, sometimes there are some jobs that are best left to professionals Background: My passion for cars began back in high school. I remember many hours spent working on big block Chevys and helping my best friend modify his Camaro for street racing. The phrase "we can make it better" has always been a long standing motto and has been applied to every car I ever owned. From suspension and engine modifications to custom car audio installations, I've consistently found ways to improve upon the factory setup. Now I get to apply my experience and enthusiasm towards telling you my thoughts and opinions of the cars that get reviewed.
Name:Twain Mein Age:41 Height: 5' 11" Location:Redwood City, CA Currently drives:2000 Audi A6 4.2, 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Background: I’ve been a car nut since high school and, until recently, kept every Car and Driver since 1982. My first car was an ’84 Honda CRX; wonderful handling and so fun to drive. Have also owned ’86 Audi GT coupe, ’89 Audi 200 Turbo Quattro Wagon, ’98 Audi A4 Avant 2.8 Tip/Quattro, ’90 Jeep Wrangler, ’95 Jeep Grand Cherokee, ’64 Toyota FJ-45 land cruiser, ’00 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and ’98 Toyota UZ100 Land Cruiser.
Name: Peter Newton Age: 38 Height: 6'0"" Location:San Jose, CA Currently drives:2002 Acura MDX Prefer manual or automatic transmission? Automatic for everyday commuting, but manual for weekend driving Prefer convertible or hardtop? Hardtop Do it yourself (DIY) or professional mechanic to service your car?Let the pros deal with the dirty work Background: Like any red-blooded American boy, I loved the thrill of speed. Growing up, that was fed by roller-coaster rides and downhill skiing. Once I earned that teenager ticket to freedom (a driver's license), driving was added to the list. It probably saved my skin that my first car was a Volkswagon Beetle older than I was. Zero-to-60 was measured in minutes. Over the years, I have matured and drive a bit more safely, evaluating cars from a more practical, toddler-in-the-back point of view. That said, I still enjoy the adrenaline rush from tight corning or acceleration that sinks you into the seat.
Name: Tamir Orbach Age: 35 Height: 5' 8" Location:Gaithersburg, MD (outside Washington D.C.) Currently drives: 2007 Infiniti G35x and 2007 Acura MDX (wife's car but I drive it a lot) Prefer manual or automatic transmission?Generally manual, but with traffic being what it is in Washington, I finally gave in and got an auto this time around with the G Prefer convertible or hardtop? hardtop because of better performance, but I like convertibles too Do it yourself (DIY) or professional mechanic to service your car?Professional mechanic Background: I learned to drive in a friend's VW Rabbit with a 1.8l carb fed engine and a 5 speed stick shift in 1990. Ever since then I've been hooked on cars. I love the feeling of rowing through the gears and the steering feedback you get from a (good) sporty car. A test drive of a '97 M3 got me hooked on rear wheel drive and I've been driving either rear or all wheel drive cars since then. I love driving and particularly enjoy winding country roads and the feeling of accelerating out of curves. I often go on afternoon drives just for the sake of driving. I'm subscribed to 4 car magazines and read every article in each one. My friends and family contact me for advice on what car to get any time they need to get a car including advice on how to get the best price and which dealers to buy from.
Name:Edsel Rollin Age: 50 Location:San Francisco, CA Currently drives: 2006 Infiniti M35 Prefer manual or automatic transmission? I am a manual transmission guy, especially because I live in San Francisco with all these hills. Prefer convertible or hardtop?I love a convertible top (who doesn't) Do it yourself (DIY) or professional mechanic to service your car?I hire a mechanic, except for basic stuff like oil changes, which I will do myself if I have the time. Background: Edsel is a 50-year-old automotive journalist with 30 years experience. He lives in San Francisco with his lovely fiancée and two dogs. His love of cars began in the mid-‘70s, when he was lucky enough to own a 1968 Mustang, a 1976 Corvette Sting Ray and a 1974 VW bug. One of the biggest thrills of his life happened earlier this year when he got to drive the original Batmobile.
Name:Holly R. Age:43 Height: 5' 6" Location:Redwood City, CA Currently drives:2008 Volvo Cross Country Prefer manual or automatic transmission? Yes! No preference. Do it yourself (DIY) or professional mechanic to service your car? Professional mechanics only Prefer convertible or hardtop? Hardtop Background:Washington State native (till I moved here), lifelong competitive athlete, and odd duck amongst my work peers. Apparently a socially adept, healthy, athletic computer geek is a rare occurrence in nature. Go figure.
I've been pretty car knowledgeable for as long as I can remember, even giving a demonstration speech in college on: How to change a flat tire. I got an "A". When I was little, my step-dad owned a service station. I later babysat for the owners of the local Nissan (then Datsun) dealership. They'd always let me drive back to their house (I was 14!). I learned to drive when I was about 13, driving up and down our driveway in the country. Since I couldn't "legally" drive onto the road, I'd have to back up all the way back up the driveway, so I became a pretty stellar driver in the reverse direction. The only fatality was a sawhorse than I ran over and killed (I had to dismantle and then bury it in the woodpile) when trying to learn how to park. My first car was a '69 Dodge Polara, 4-door. That car was a tank. I could fit 9 of my friends in there and we'd drive around after football games or track meets, blaring the AM radio (ha)! Since then, I've driven a tractor (not recommended), a Honda Civic, Ford Mustang (SVO), Toyota Tercel, Mitsubishi Eclipse, Nissan 300-ZX and now my second Cross Country. The 300-ZX was still my favorite car, by far, but I feel much safer now, especially in the SF Bay Area!
Name:Tony Souza Age:42 Height: 5' 9" Location:Castro Valley, CA Currently drives:2008 BMW 335i, 1995 BMW M3 (track only) Background: I’ve loved fast cars as far back as I can remember. My dad tells me that I used to yell, “Faster, faster!” whenever he would get into the throttle of whatever car we happened to own at the time (all “lightly” modified with go-fast parts)….and this was before I started kindergarten! I cut my teeth on American-built V-8 muscle cars, building and drag-racing them on the back-roads of Oklahoma during the 1980’s. I’ve also owned more than my fair share of performance-oriented motorcycles. I’ve since moved on to high performance driving events at local raceways and now own a 1995 BMW M3 modified for track use.