I subscribe to three car magazines. Road and Track, Car and Driver, since the 50's. Automobile replaced Road and Track as I my favorite from the first issue. It has the most color photographs and the best writing of the three.
The best (almost) - but definately the best read
Automobile magazine emerged from the creative mind of David E. Davis, Jr. who founded it in 1986 after leaving Car & Driver abruptly. Their moto: "No Boring Cars." This moto has largely succeeded. Davis left several years ago - he's in his 70's so he's entitled to slow down - and left the editorship to Ms. Jean Lindamood Jennings, also formerly of Car & Driver. Personally, I think she is brilliant, but Davis and the suits didn't agree. She assumed the position of "President," while Brit Gavin Conway joined as the new editor in chief. Jennings colum returned to it's traditional place on the back page. She is charming, sharp-witted, and just a share irreverant. Like I said, brilliant. Other notables include the incomparable Jamie Kitman and the newly discovered Ezra Dyer. Both write with a candor unmatched by any other automobile publication.
The downside: the magazine is a bit thin. They charge as much or more than other magazines for a subscription, but include less "stuff" each month. Their tech stats also pale in comparison to others. But if numbers are your thing, read Road & Track or Car & Driver. However, if you read to read, you'll love Automobile. Personally, I just subscribe to them all.
Best in the US
I've read them all. Automobile is the best US car magazine. If you want even better ones, EVO and CAR are superior, but your going to have to pay to have them imported from the Brits.
Best Automotive Magazine
I have subscribed to most of the automobile magazines and find Automobile to be the best. Some of its competitors are very overpriced but with Automobile you get a great magazine for a good price. I enjoy reading this magazine and the articles seem better than its competitors.
A bit cerebral and pretentious
I'm afraid I can't say much to recommend Automobile unless, like me, you're hopelessly addicted to cars and will read almost anything about them.
Since it's inception, Automobile has always struck me as a bit snobbish and self-satisfied. This, despite not being very interesting. Their mantra has been "No boring cars!," yet it's usually a somewhat boring magazine.
They have some really great (and funny) editorials, and tend to be more honestly critical of cars than other mags, so for that they get 2 stars. But if you want to read great car reviews, this isn't for you. They're always very short, and comparison tests are given woefully inadequate space.
In many ways that's another of Automobile's problems - it's too small.
My overall impression over the years is that they'd really like to be England's CAR magazine, and even share writers (mainly George Kacher), but just aren't that good.