Car Research Made Easy
The Car Connection is an automotive property of Internet Brands, which owns and operates the largest network of car buying and financing resources in North America, including CarsDirect, Motor Authority, Green Car Reports, and Auto Credit Express.
How We Do It
Our full-time team of auto review experts deliver comprehensive, collaborative shopping advice you can use. We constantly drive and evaluate new cars, trucks, minivans and crossover SUVs to identify the best new vehicles, and to help you choose your next car. Our car-news experts break stories daily, whether it’s the latest on new vehicles or safety recalls.
What We Do
We make car research easier. We know there are lots of car shopping websites out there, so we’re committed to providing in-depth buying advice from true auto industry experts with proven credentials. If you’re shopping for a car, you can trust The Car Connection’s team of veteran experts to steer you in the right direction.
Our Team
We’re proud that our editorial team is made up exclusively of automotive industry veterans with more than 50 years of combined experience.
Martin Padgett
Editorial Director
Martin Padgett is Internet Brands Automotive Group’s Editorial Director. He oversees the words that skim across the Group’s portfolio of automotive destinations, which include The Car Connection, Motor Authority, Green Car Reports, and New Car Test Drive. Padgett is a native of Washington, D.C., an honors undergraduate of Duke University, and an MFA from the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications. Padgett is a 30-year veteran journalist, and a former editor at Car and Driver magazine, with other writing credits at AutoTrader, Edmunds, Automobile, Stuff, Outside and BusinessWeek. Padgett is a juror for the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards and is the author of three books. While you’re reading this, he’s on a computer or his iPhone to keep track of what’s going on in the car world.
Aaron Cole is Managing Editor of Internet Brands Automotive Group’s portfolio of car sites. Aaron has been an editor and columnist at several newspapers. He's a proud Colorado native and currently lives in Denver. When he's not writing about cars, he's driving them. And when he's not driving them, he's probably eating or sleeping because you need to do that too.
Aaron Cole
Managing Editor
Robert Duffer
Senior Editor
Robert Duffer is an award-winning writer, editor, teacher, automotive journalist and the Senior Editor for The Car Connection. As the former autos editor for the Chicago Tribune, Duffer reported on stories of national and local significance, and his syndicated auto review column appeared in hundreds of publications in print and online. He has written for Forbes.com, Cars.com, US News Autos and other publications, ranging from the New York Times to Canadian Builders Quarterly. A master’s graduate of Columbia College Chicago and Skip Barber Racing School, Duffer believes in the Oxford comma, electrified powertrains, and the minivan as the greatest utility vehicle. His most enduring automotive lesson was imparted by his father, who would speed up to nice cars and say, "Don't look. Don't give the jerk the satisfaction." The elder Duffer is the jerk driving the ‘68 Mustang convertible. Duffer is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association.
The Senior Editor in charge of Motor Authority, Kirk has oil in his blood. He grew up in the automotive culture, helping his father drag race a pair of Pontiacs, rather unsuccessfully, at Great Lakes Dragaway in Union Grove, Wisconsin. Kirk has been reviewing cars and writing about the automotive industry since 2001, when he joined Consumer Guide Automotive. At Consumer Guide, Kirk wrote and edited several books, including the award-winning Hot Rod & Custom Chronicle and NASCAR Chronicle. Most recently, he spent eight years as a freelance journalist, with such clients as the Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News, and MSN Autos. In 2014, Kirk was named to the North American Car and Truck/Utility of the year jury. Prior to his time in the automotive industry, Kirk was editor of Scale Auto Enthusiast magazine, the leading magazine about the model car hobby. In his spare time, Kirk imagines the Midwest has better roads on which to drive his 2006 Porsche 911 Carrera S.
Kirk Bell
Senior Editor
Bengt Halvorson
Senior Editor
Bengt is the Editor of Green Car Reports and is Internet Brands Automotive Group’s Senior Editor specializing in green vehicle coverage. He has been reporting on cars and the auto industry for more than 20 years, and efficiency concerns, policy, and electric-car enthusiasm from Portland for nearly as long. Bengt has written for many news, technology, and lifestyle outlets, consulted on powertrain tech, tracked collector-car prices, led panels about electric vehicles, and won awards for his coverage of consumer affairs. He holds degrees in Applied Physics and Philosophy from the University of Michigan and was, earlier in his career, a writer at the UK publication Autocar and an editor at Automobile Magazine. Bengt was most recently the environmental editor for Car and Driver, where he helped to nudge the gearhead/enthusiast publication toward greater EV awareness. Prior to that he was a part of this group’s predecessor, High Gear Media (and also of Green Car Reports’ inception). Bengt also serves as a juror for the North American Car and Truck of the Year accolades.
Joel Feder is Internet Brands Automotive Group’s Interactive Content Manager. He helps oversee the day-to-day operation of Motor Authority along with all things social, video, OEM relations, and manage syndication partnerships across The Car Connection, Motor Authority, and Green Car Reports. Feder is a Minnesota native and a graduate from Drake University’s school of business where he served as the university’s first car critic. Feder was born a car guy with a background in business and marketing. While you’re reading this, he’s on his computer or iPhone reporting the latest automotive news.
Joel Feder
Interactive Content Manager
Viknesh Vijayenthiran
Editor
Vik is an Editor at Internet Brands Automotive Group and contributor for a number of sites within the Internet Brands Automotive Group network. He is a co-founder of Motor Authority and is one of Internet Brands Automotive Group’s experts on performance and luxury cars. After studying in the field of software engineering, it was an unlikely move for him to dive into a career built on a passion for cars, but it was one that led to the formation of one of the most popular car sites on the Web. Vik covers around-the-clock news for Internet Brands Automotive Group, and is currently based in Germany.
How We Rate Cars—The Car Connection’s Ratings and Reviews Explained
Car research isn’t as easy as it should be. It can be complex, frustrating and time-consuming. We’re here to help. The Car Connection provides car ratings, reviews and shopping tools that simplify the car buying process—from any device.
Our Approach
Our reviews are the product of decades of experience from some of the most experienced automotive writers working today. Our experts drive nearly 200 new vehicles each year, including advance drives of new vehicles not yet available to the general public. We test drive vehicles that have been substantially updated with new styling, new safety gear and new engines and transmissions. Our team assigns numeric ratings for a set of categories most important to car shoppers to create an overall TCC Rating which compares to all other vehicles we review—so you know if a minivan’s fuel economy compares well with that of a pickup truck, for example.

Most mass-market brands and some luxury brands are included in our rating system, though ultra-luxury vehicles are omitted due to low sales volume, extreme pricing and a lack of safety data. The Car Connection accepts free travel and meals from automotive manufacturers to bring you this comprehensive, expert look at the new-car market.
What is the rating system?

We rate cars based on Style, Performance, Comfort and Quality, Safety, Features, and Green. Each category starts at a baseline score of 5, and goes up or down from there. Since the system weighs all categories equally, fuel economy (and electrification) presents itself strongly in the TCC Rating. Ratings are updated at least four times a year, as new data becomes available.

  • Styling: Points can be earned or lost based on above- or below-average interior and exterior style; excellent or poor interior or exterior style; and exceptional (or very poor) style.
  • Performance: Points can be earned or lost based on powertrain performance; ride and handling performance. Exceptionally quick (0-60 mph in less than 5 seconds) or exceptionally slow (0-60 mph in more than 10 seconds) can earn or lose an additional point. An additional point can be awarded (or lost) for exceptional circumstances, i.e. off-road prowess, or supercar credentials.
  • Comfort and Quality: Points can be earned or lost based on comfort in the front seats, back seats, or third-row seats (where applicable); good or bad interior storage and cargo capacity; and good fit and finish.
  • Safety: Cars with official crash data gain points for a five-star overall rating by the NHTSA, or Top Safety Pick/Top Safety Pick+ status by the IIHS. An additional point is awarded for cars that come standard with full-speed automatic emergency braking. We award points for excellent outward vision and for abundant safety features and options such as parking assistance, surround-view camera systems, or driver-assistance features. Cars with official crash data lose points for a four-star overall rating by NHTSA, any “Marginal” IIHS or three-star NHTSA ratings, for poor outward vision, and when they lack forward-collision warnings and automatic emergency braking. Cars without crash data aren’t given a rating at all. Cars with only partial ratings may be scored, generally when it improves their score.
  • Features: Cars with excellent base equipment earn a point above average. Extra points can be added for exceptional available features, good value, good infotainment systems with screens larger than 7.0 inches, and good warranty or service programs. Cars may lose points for substandard or expensive features; bad feature packages; poor relative value; or bad warranty or service availability.
  • Green (Fuel Economy): Cars are assigned a rating based on their EPA-estimated highway and combined mileage ratings. Plug-in and battery-electric vehicles start at 9. Electric-only cars with a range of more than 200 miles earn a score of 10. All other vehicles are sorted on a sliding scale based on EPA fuel economy.
So...what’s a good car? What’s the best car to buy?
We’ll tell you! For most models, we’ll identify our picks for powertrain and popular combinations we think are important to buy. Our ratings may not appear as "perfect 10s" as they will on other sites, but our carefully constructed system gives cars room to improve, puts safety and fuel economy on par with performance and styling, and gives you a set of numeric ratings that you can use to directly compare vehicles even outside segments. Pick a pickup truck and a family sedan—our rating system remains the same.
And make sure to catch up with our overall picks each year as we choose our Best Car To Buy award winners.
Contact Us

We’d love to hear your feedback, tips and ideas. You can reach us by email. Follow us on social media and subscribe to our daily email newsletter.

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