Of course, each list is different, since the data is compiled differently and since, as anyone who remembers high school knows, popularity is subjective. Still, a few cars made all four lists, as well as others, and can therefore be reliably called the most popular vehicles. Here are the cars that made the cut:
Honda Accord Sedan
The Honda Accord made both moms’ and dads’ lists and has been among the top five best-selling cars in the US over the past few months. It has also been a regular on Yahoo! Autos’ list of the top ten sedans. Clearly, this family-friendly vehicle has a little something for everyone.
Moms love its safety features, which include Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) and six standard airbags, while dads appreciate the sleek exterior and the power provided by the 177-horsepower, 4-cylinder engine. Others are likely attracted by its comfortable, cockpit-like interior and features such as an in-dash 6-CD changer, USB connector, and hands-free Bluetooth wireless interface.
Honda scores again with its completely redesigned compact SUV, the CR-V. The 2012 model marked the debut of its Real Time All-Wheel Drive (AWD) intelligent control system, which provides better traction in wet, rainy, snowy, or other poor road conditions. No wonder moms, who tend to opt for safety over style, rated this vehicle number one. It also topped Yahoo! Autos’ economy top ten list, and it was the tenth best-selling car in May 2012, according to USA Today.
The stylish CR-V may be classified as an economy SUV, but its design is that of a luxury vehicle. The exterior has been redesigned with deeper lines and a more aggressive look, while the interior offers heated front seats, a navigation system, and hands-free communication options.
This sleek, roomy sedan was a favorite among moms and remains near the top of Yahoo! Autos’ list week after week. It lost out to trucks and minivans on the dads’ list, but for a family car that’s actually a car, this is one of the best. Busy moms surely appreciate its Intelligent Key system, which allows them to pop the trunk, unlock the door, and even start the ignition at a single touch. No more fumbling for keys while juggling kids, purses, groceries, briefcases, etc.
Moms probably most appreciate the Altima’s safety features, like six airbags and Active Headrest Restraints, which move up and forward to help cushion the neck and head in case of rear-end collision. The LATCH system makes installing child seats quick and easy, and a variety of steering and braking controls help keep the driver in full control of the vehicle no matter what the conditions.
Luxury touches like leather seats (heated in the front), Bluetooth connectivity, and dual zone temperature control make it comfortable as well as safe.
Yep, another Honda. Though not quite as popular as the Accord or the CR-V, the Honda Pilot also made both moms’ and dads’ lists of favorites and has ranked at or near the top of Yahoo! Autos’ top ten SUV and mid-range vehicle lists for several weeks. With seating for eight, plenty of storage space (4 feet with behind third-row seating), and a towing capacity of over 4,000 pounds, this vehicle can take just about anything or anyone just about anywhere.
Bevelled lines and body-colored handles and moldings make for a sleek exterior. You’ll ride high on standard 18” alloy rims, and the available power tailgate and moon roof offer easy accessibility.
Versatility and convenience are evident everywhere in the Honda Pilot’s design. No wonder it’s such a hit with parents! Both the second- and third-row seats offer a 60/40 split for additional storage space without total loss of passenger capacity. Zone temperature controls make sure everybody’s comfortable, and a 110-volt outlet allows passengers in the back to operate appliances such as laptops and game consoles to keep them entertained on the journey.
Rounding out our list of most popular cars is the Toyota Camry, a highly awarded sedan whose accolades include top safety pick of 2012 and best resale value (2012). According to Toyota’s website, the Camry is also the #1-selling car in America. USA Today ranks it number two, and Yahoo! Autos ranks it number three in the economy category and number four among sedans. The dads in TrueCar.com’s survey put the Camry at number seven, while the moms overlooked it in favor of sedans from Nissan, Honda, and Volkswagen. The rest of America, however, seems to prefer this Toyota.
Among the Camry’s selling points are a standard 10 airbags, which makes it the best in its class for this safety feature. It also offers a blind-spot monitor to help prevent accidents in the first place. A 60/40-split rear seat adds versatile extra storage capacity, and a standard USB port and hands-free communication system keep you (safely) connected while on the road.
There are almost as many ways to define popularity as there are types of cars to choose from. Even within a single category, and even with a single measure of popularity such as sales figures or viewer interest, the “most popular” car changes from day to day, week to week, month to month, and year to year. Just as with people, there is no magic formula for what makes a vehicle popular. Design, safety, and features all play a part, and certainly price has something to do with it (or at the very least, the perceived value for the price is important), but in the end, it’s all a sort of alchemy. Popularity is really just a form of mass judgment, and all that really matters when it comes to judgment and taste is your own.