The term “Google” has become synonymous with the Internet. The simple-looking web portal is often the first point of contact with the virtual world, the source for everything from the latest shitty pop songs to encyclopedia entries. People research houses, term papers and dissertations, obscure bands, foreign policy, and cars — and everything in between. And since we’re “Autos Cheat Sheet” (it says so on the banner above, see?) we’re going to focus on the latter.
Each year, Google reveals its top trends for the year — the culmination of what millions of people are searching for through its portal. Curious web enthusiasts and multinational companies alike are eager for this data, as it offers one of the best and easily-obtained representations for cultural purchasing trends.
If you’ve been aware of the automotive trends of late, you’d know that the compact crossover — that is, car-based SUV-type vehicles — has experienced a rapid surge in growth, which has come at the expense of compact and even midsize sedans. The latest Google results for 2015 indicate that this isn’t going to be slowing down, either: Half the vehicles listed in the pages following are CUVs.
Read on to see the 10 most commonly searched for vehicles in the United States for 2015. All ranking information courtesy of Google.
10. Hyundai Tucson
Illustrating 2015’s theme of the continued dominance of the compact crossover, the Hyundai Tucson edged into the top 10 list of Google searches. Redesigned for 2015, the Tucson is a solid, attractive utility vehicle that we found does almost everything well, but nothing particularly outstanding. True to Hyundai tradition, it offers exceptional value for the money, and the Korean company’s quality is as good as Honda, Toyota, or any other bulwark of reliability these days.
9. Lexus NX
New on the market this year, Lexus grabbed headlines — and Google searchers’ attention — with the radical, bold NX crossover. The unique exterior carries through inside, and with available flavors of hybrid, turbo, and your friendly neighborhood natural aspiration, there’s an NX for almost every breed of driver. “Lexus didn’t design this car to be overly spacious or insanely powerful, they have plenty of other cars that meet those requirements. What they wanted to do was create a sporty crossover that could appeal to younger drivers who want more than just a luxurious interior,” we said in our review.
8. Chevrolet Colorado
Fresh off winning Motor Trend’s truck of the year award, Chevrolet’s Colorado came in to steal the No. 8 spot on Google’s list of most-searched vehicles. Though it’s not that much smaller than the larger Silverado, the Colorado provides a lower barrier to entry — just over $20,000 — and more importantly, a torquey diesel engine option.
7. Jeep Renegade
The smallest Jeep on the market was built to respond to the exploding subcompact crossover segment, and did so in the most Jeep way possible. You can still get the base two-wheel drive models that are really little more than boxy Fiat cars, but Jeep was thoughtful enough to infuse its off-roading DNA into the higher echelons of the Renegade kingdom — resulting in a fun, small, compact CUV that’s as cute as it is capable.
6. Fiat 500X
Built on the same platform as the Renegade, the Fiat 500X is a similar package but for those who wish to eschew the masculine cues of the Jeep for something a bit more Italian and fashionable. Its relation to the tiny 500 coupe is undeniable, but that’s where the similarities end — the 500X can fit a full family and has all-wheel drive available as an option. We’re just waiting on an Abarth model.
5. Honda HR-V
Honda’s CR-V is among the most popular in its segment, and retains a spot on the monthly best-seller list regularly. Honda’s hoping to recreate the magic with the HR-V, a subcompact crossover built on Fit underpinnings. The buzz is there it seems, as the HR-V managed the No. 5 spot of Google’s most-searched-for cars.
4. Chevrolet Camaro
The Ford Mustang had its hour in the sun at the end of 2014, when the new model was released. For this year, the Camaro got its turn as the redesigned 2016 model rolled out. It’s now underpinned by the same platform that holds up the Cadillac ATS, and with a new potent turbo-four, it has more appeal to a wider variety of people. “In short, the Camaro is the kid in school with an arsenal of big brothers who have his back when the going gets rough, while the only-child Mustang scrappily fends for himself on the playground. The advantage has paid dividends — the Camaro was made MotorTrend’s Car of the Year for 2016,” we said in our review.
3. Toyota Tacoma
With the Colorado and GMC Canyon twins new on the scene for 2015, there was a lot riding on Toyota’s overhaul of its bulwark midsize pickup. Toyota delivered — mostly — and the new truck has largely improved where the older model faltered. Consumers have responded, putting the Tacoma in the bronze slot for Google’s most Googled cars of 2015. “Equipped as it is with a bevy of off-road-oriented tech – and a built-in GoPro mount on its windshield – the Tacoma is without a doubt the ultimate go-anywhere vehicle you can buy new today,” we said.
2. Chevrolet Silverado
Not to be showed up by its little brother, the Chevrolet Silverado snagged the silver medal per Google’s search metrics — a place the truck is seemingly used to. A more aggressive new face might have been the spur for the truck, as it got a fairly aggressive mid-cycle refresh for its face. Whether those search queries will translate into stronger sales will play out over the next few months, but we can say this for sure: It’s not a bad thing.
1. Chevrolet Malibu
Chevrolet’s relatively minor player in the midsize sedan space got a major overhaul for 2016, and the Google-sphere lit up as a result — the Malibu was Google’s most-searched car in 2015. This trumped the Camry, Accord, and Fusion, all of which outsell the modest Malibu, sometimes by multiple factors. This bodes well for the car moving into 2016, which for the first time in recent memory isn’t aimed at maximizing fleet sales.
Like classics? It’s always Throwback Thursday somewhere.