Research is, without question, one of the most important parts of car shopping.
Not too long ago, you might have made a couple of trips to the dealership, test-driven a few models, and then struck a deal with the sales manager in a smoke-filled room.
Today, sites like ours aim to clear the air, giving smart shoppers a series of advantages, every step of the way.
You might have started by browsing a wide range of vehicles as a casual shopper, narrowed down your list of prospects to a few specific vehicles, model years, and must-have features—and then started getting into the fine details of each.
When you're finished, you want to have found the model that has all the features, the fuel-efficiency, and the safety you want—all at the right price. And in our full reviews we aim to provide you with as much information as possible to help you be informed in the process and sound in the decision.
We’ve taken a look back at the year’s most-visited vehicle pages, in terms of model year, make, and model, and it’s no shock that the list we compiled includes many of the market’s best-selling vehicles.
It’s worth keeping in mind that model years change over at an odd cadence; the 2016 model year arrived last January for some models on the market, while others have just changed over in the past month. For that reason, you’ll find a mix of 2015 and 2016 model-year vehicles.
So here they are—the ten most-visited, most researched models of 2015:
2015 Toyota RAV4
The Toyota RAV4 has consistently ranked as one of our most researched vehicles, and it rings through no matter what the model year. We’re including the 2015 Toyota RAV4 in this because they’re first and third respectively on this year’s list. The 2016 Toyota RAV4 gets a new Hybrid version that is the quickest of the lineup and earns 33 mpg in combined driving; and the rest of the RAV4 lineup gets upgraded safety features and some cosmetic updates.
The Toyota Corolla isn’t particularly charming or engaging, but year after year, decade after decade, it maintains a top-notch reputation for being reliable, trouble-free, and long-lasting—with great gas mileage
plus just enough comfort and practicality to make it impossible to ignore as a cross-shop possibility if you’re considering a mid-size sedan. It might not be everybody’s favorite affordable compact sedan, but it’s the most considered.
2016 Honda Pilot
For 2016, the Honda Pilot has gotten its most significant redesign in its 13-year history. And it’s not just an evolution of what the Pilot has been; it’s a major personality change, really. The new Pilot axes its edges and boxy shape—and any remaining pretense that it’s trying to be rugged and truck-like—and becomes a smooth, capable (albeit tall) family wagon. There’s no wonder why people have been curious to size it up and read about every new detail.
2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road
The Toyota Tacoma has been the best-selling truck in its segment for many, many years, and it retains the best resale value in the entire U.S. market. With the redesigned 2016 Tacoma, Toyota has carefully evolved this truck to deliver everything that the loyal buyer base wants in a next truck. And with the new Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, as well as the 2017 Honda Ridgeline on the way next year, we’re not surprised that there are more people than ever comparison-shopping the Tacoma.
2015 Ford Escape
The Ford Escape is bolder and more exciting than most of its rivals. Performance is impressive, too, as is the spacious interior. A number of families are preferring compact crossover models over mid-size sedans—a trend we’re seeing in shoppers’ vehicle research—and the Escape is a good example as to why.
2016 Hyundai Tucson
The Hyundai Tucson has been redesigned for 2016, with a more stylish look throughout, as well as more features. Factor in Hyundai’s emphasis on value, and there are a lot of people considering all the Tucson that money can buy.
2015 Mazda 3
The Mazda 3 is one of our top-rated small cars, and we certainly mention it as a benchmark and cross-shopping alternative in a number of reviews. While it’s not one of the top sellers in its class, we strongly believe it should be in the consideration set of anyone wanting a fuel-efficient, fun-to-drive compact hatchback or sedan.
2015 Honda CR-V
Functionality takes center stage in the Honda CR-V. It’s one of the most spacious vehicles in its class, and it’s remained a popular pick for small families. It’s not surprising that this model remains a popular pick among those who research every feature and read about safety details, spaciousness, and seat folding, as this is a model that forgoes visual flair and driving excitement for all the practical stuff.
2015 Nissan Rogue
The Rogue competes against the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and Hyundai Tucson—all of which are on this list—but there’s one special reason why a lot of shoppers might be considering it: it’s one of the most affordable (and most compact) vehicles to offer a third-row seat.
2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid
Would you consider a mid-size sedan and not also see how it compares to the latest Camry? For decades the Camry has stood as the epitome of the sensible, reliable, value-minded mid-size sedan. Models like the Ford Fusion and Chevy Malibu may be more refined; the Honda Accord and VW Passat may be better packaged; and the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima may be considered more exciting and better values...yet the Camry lineup remains the benchmark in the minds of many American families. And with a 2015 refresh that made the Camry more enjoyable to the driver and passengers, we agree that it should remain a mandatory counterpoint to whatever affordable sedan you’re considering.