The Car Connection Ratings and Reviews Explained


The process of sorting through car reviews and deciding on the best vehicle to buy is often complex, frustrating and time consuming. Car research is not as easy as it should be.

Our goal is to make your car research experience easier. The Car Connection provides car ratings, reviews and shopping tools that simplify the car buying process and empower you to make car buying decisions more quickly and with more confidence -- from any device.

The Car Connection’s experts create easy to understand car ratings that combine a numeric 10-part score with 3 simple color-coded messages: “Stop” (red), “Caution” (orange), or “Go” (green).

You can save more time by scanning The Car Connection’s bite-size "Quick Takes", likes, dislikes, and "other choices", or go in-depth and read detailed 6-part reviews of any car.

Our Approach

Our reviews are the product of decades of experience from some of the most experienced automotive writers working today.

Our automotive experts have over 50 years of collective automotive journalism experience writing for outlets such as Automobile, Car and Driver,, The Economist, Popular Mechanics, and more. Now we have harnessed their talents to create a unique type of review that brings the best of the Web together in a single opinion that readers can act on.

Our team of experts drives nearly 200 new vehicles each year between them, including advance drives of new vehicles not available to the general public. The Car Connection's experts also travel to the world’s auto shows to learn firsthand about vehicles nearing production.

But readers want more than one opinion when they research a car, so we've created our "Decison Guide" feature allowing users to quickly scan a vehicle's rating by sub-category, price by style, and see opinions from around the Web. Instead of providing just a single opinion about a car, we're giving you our expert take plus summary quotes from other sources--creating a one-stop shopping research experience. When sources from the Web have different perspectives, our experts editors use their experience to help you decide which information to trust by giving you the best possible data and sources.

The Car Connection's experts consult these professional review sources when writing our reviews:

  • Autoblog
  • Automobile
  • Car and Driver
  • Consumer Reports
  • Edmunds
  • Motor Trend
  • CNet
  • Road & Track
  • Popular Mechanics
  • Jalopnik
  • USA Today
  • Kelley Blue Book

Our experts also revisit our reviews on a regular basis to update ratings and information based on changes in the cars and their competition and to include more review sources, all to provide you with the best consensus opinion from around the Web at all times.

How we test cars

What we test-drive

The Car Connection's experts test-drive completely new models as well as cars that have been substantially updated with new styling, new safety gear, and new engines and transmissions. The team also drives some models that haven’t seen major changes as needed to refresh their opinions of the car. In nearly all cases, our experts have driven the vehicle in question in its current form, for the hands-on experience needed to bring you the best advice.

How we review cars that aren’t available to us

There are a few vehicles that have not been driven by our experts due to availability. In those cases, The Car Connection's reviews bring you the highlights from the most respected sources around the Web. In the rare cases where The Car Connection's team of experts has not recently driven a car, we will still bring together the consensus opinion from around the Web and update the review when they get some “seat time” in the car.

How we rate cars

We examine six different areas when rating a vehicle: styling, performance, comfort and quality, safety, features, and fuel economy. The rating for each of these areas is based on the real-world experience of our experts, combined with the consensus of reviews from around the Web. Our ratings and opinion for each car are expressed relative to competing vehicles first and foremost, to all vehicles as a secondary consideration.

Within each rating area, The Car Connection experts consider the following:


  • How well the shape complements the vehicle's mission (i.e., spacious for minivans and sedans; "sexy" for two-doors).
  • How the styling themes fit within the segment
  • How well the car is differentiated within its model lineup, from base cars to premium editions
  • How the interior is styled, and how that affects its functionality
  • How the materials, finishes, and controls of the interior are affected by styling


  • The strength of the engine's output
  • The quickness and smoothness of the transmission and the ease of shifting
  • The car's response to the usual driver inputs
  • The feel and quality of control of the body motions
  • The effectiveness of the brakes
  • The fuel economy of similar cars with similar powertrains
  • The operation and effectiveness of other systems and of new technologies

Comfort and Quality

  • The efficiency of its use of interior space, against its exterior size
  • The comfort of the front seats, across the lineup where applicable
  • The comfort of all rear seats, across the lineup where applicable
  • The amount and usefulness of interior storage
  • The utility of its doors/top/bed, where noteworthy
  • The flexibility of the interior space and cargo space, and ease of use
  • The fit and finish of its exterior and interior components
  • The sounds emitted by the car and permitted to reach the cabin


  • Performance on government and insurance-industry crash and rollover tests
  • Standard and available safety equipment
  • Effectiveness and value of safety technology and options


  • Equipment and specifications of the model range, including body styles and trim levels
  • Available and standard features, compared to others in the class
  • Available and optional features, compared to others in the class
  • Noteworthy pricing and packaging information
  • Function and usefulness of infotainment features
  • Value of model lineup, from base to premium models

We're happy to answer any questions you may have about our car reviews. You can reach our team from our "Contact Us" page.