Test Drive launches with fan fare for common driver

Boost: A magazine on normal cars

Dennis Publishing this week launched its new monthly car magazine backed by a £4.5m advertising campaign.

Test Drive, a 268-page glossy, aims to rival Top Gear and What Car? but promises a more “down-to-earth” approach.

Editor Mike Askew claims that despite all the car magazines on the market, Test Drive fills a void for the everyday motorist.

He told Press Gazette: “There was a need for a breath of fresh air. None of the magazines speak to people on their level. There are titles with lots of data but no personality, and on the other side there are lots of gloss and lifestyle pieces. But there is no in between for normal cars – for people like you and me. We want to deal with these cars while making them look and sound desirable.”

There will also be plenty of interactive content involving readers in road tests and getting their opinions.

Askew added: “There are so many magazines that like to offer their own opinions. But we will involve our readers with vox pops in our news pages so they have a forum. This will be even better when the website comes out.

Our readers will feel that this is as much their magazine as it is ours.”

Where weekly titles such as Auto Express and Autocar can provide news coverage, Test Drive aims to be more consumer-focused looking closely at products incorporating in-depth reviews and group car tests.

Including Askew, who was formerly associate editor at Dennis Publishing’s Auto Express, there are 11 editorial staff on the magazine including a number of journalists poached from rival publications.

The Sunday Telegraph’s former motoring editor Paul Hudson joins as managing editor, along with executive editor James Mills, formerly Top Gear’s deputy editor and Angus Frazer, ex-Top Gear motoring editor, is road test editor with Sarah-Ellen Brown as his deputy.

The initial print run is over 200,000 and there is an introductory price of £1.85 which will go up to £3.70. The first issue went on sale on Tuesday 5 October.

By Sarah Lagan

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