Car shopping research site Edmunds disclosed which vehicles consumers have researched most this year, and they are, perhaps unsurprisingly, mostly SUVs and Japanese-made.
The Honda CR-V mid-size SUV has been the most researched vehicle on the site for two years running. This year, it’s followed by the Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Toyota RAV-4, Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Mazda CX-5, Ford Mustang, Ford F-150, and Subaru Forester. Those are the same cars that topped last year’s list, albeit in a slightly different order.
Edmunds determined the ranking by tabulating monthly unique visitors to its new car research and inventory pages.
Honda’s domination of the list could “indicate that Honda buyers are loyal and searching within the brand, moving up from Civic to Accord or from Accord to CR-V, or perhaps downsizing from Pilot to CR-V,” said Scotty Reiss, founder of She Buys Cars, a car-buying site targeted at women.
As for sport utility vehicles, “customers also have shown a growing need for flexible cargo space (seats that fold flat) and for all wheel drive,” Reiss said. “Even in regions where drivers haven’t needed all wheel drive in the past, they are choosing it so they are capable and safe when unusual weather such as floods or snowstorms hit.”
Six cars that shoppers researched the most – the Honda Pilot, Toyota RAV4 and Highlander, Ford Mustang, Mazda CX-5, and Subaru Forester – didn’t make the list of vehicles Edmunds projects to be this year’s top-sellers.
However, the bestseller list, which includes the Toyota Camry and Corolla, Ford Escape, Nissan Altima, and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and RAM 1500 pickup trucks, doesn’t tell the whole story, according to Jeremy Acevedo, Edmunds senior analyst.
“While the 10 bestselling list is evenly split between cars and light trucks (pickups, SUVs, and vans), that doesn’t reflect the surging popularity of light trucks we have seen in 2016,” Acevedo said. “Pickups, SUVs, and vans will make up 60% of new car sales in 2016, an all-time high.”
Light trucks have been outselling passenger cars nationwide by a small margin in recent years, as consumers opt for extra space, a higher ride, and more power while gasoline remains relatively cheap.
Auto sales in the U.S. have remained flat for the first 11 months of the year, following a post-recession boom. Manufacturers will release their full-year sales numbers for 2016 on Tuesday.