America’s Most Wanted — By Car Thieves
It’s safe to assume that if one car is easier to steal than another it makes a more enticing target for a car thief — and probably a good reason why the list of most stolen cars in America is predominantly populated by older vehicles with little anti-theft protection. However, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau — which tracks annual vehicle theft data across the U.S. — there were still plenty of new models appropriated by thieves last year. “While older vehicles still dominate our Hot Wheels most stolen list, the number of late model vehicles with anti-theft protection on the list goes to show that technology isn’t foolproof,” said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. “Criminals are doing their best to defeat anti-theft technology through hacking and other means while, at the same time, manufacturers and others are working to improve security.” And thus the “hot wheels” struggle continues . . . so here’s a look at the 2015 cars and trucks most stolen last year, as reported by the NICB.
25. Chevrolet Tahoe
Number Stolen: 319
There aren’t many vehicles on the road like the Chevy Tahoe, so it’s no surprise that it would stand out to car thieves. With seating for up to nine occupants, plenty of cargo capacity, the ability to tow more than 8,000 pounds, and 9 inches of ground clearance for off-road adventures, the Yukon is one of the most capable SUVs on the road. Available with 2WD or 4WD, Tahoe can also be equipped with a suite of safety features as well as 4G LTE connectivity with a Wi-Fi hotspot, wireless phone charging, power-folding second- and third-row seats, an 8-inch color touchscreen and multiple USB ports.
24. Ford Mustang
Number Stolen: 329
Redesigned last year, the Mustang features a sleek new exterior and a new engine — Ford’s turbocharged EcoBoost 4-cylinder unit. The Mustang GT continues to top the range with a 435-horsepower 5.0-liter V8, but the smaller 2.3-liter 4-cylinder EcoBoost provides a sporty alternative producing 310 horsepower — 10 more than the standard 3.7-liter 6-cylinder engine and delivering 320 lb-ft of torque at 2500 rpm. The new Mustang showcases plenty of power and sporty styling — clearly a popular choice for thieves.
23. Ford Focus
Number Stolen: 345
One of the best-selling cars in America, Ford’s Focus is available as a sedan or hatchback. The standard powerplant on the Focus S is a 2.0-liter 160-horsepower engine; fuel economy is rated at 26 mpg city / 36 mpg highway with the 5-speed manual transmission, although most thieves will likely go for the automatic. Focus also comes standard with a rearview camera, an air-filtration system, multiple safety features and the SYNC voice-activated communications and entertainment system with hands-free calling.
22. Honda Accord
Number Stolen: 350
Continuing its streak for another year as the most stolen vehicle in the United States, the Honda Accord’s dubious fame is a direct result of its popularity with drivers everywhere as economical, reliable transportation that retains its resale value. And the sheer number of Accords on the road provides thieves with easy choices and access. Smartkeys were introduced on Accord in 1998, but thieves still find their way into these popular sedans.
21. Dodge Dart
Number Stolen: 358
Chrysler hasn’t had much in the way of success in the small car arena, but the 4-door Dart seems to have bucked that trend. The Dart offers more power than most competitors in its class, courtesy of its 2.0-liter Tigershark engine that produces 160 horsepower while still delivering an impressive 36 mpg on the highway. With a high-level of standard features — even on the base-level trim — the Dart receives its fair share of attention from car thieves.
20. Chevrolet Silverado
Number Stolen: 381
The full-size Chevy Silverado is another popular choice among truck-jackers. Although the 2004 model year seems to be the most sought after, the current-model Silverado is still one of the most stolen vehicles. Available with a variety of engines and configurations, the Silverado is likely to remain popular among buyers and thieves.
19. Nissan Sentra
Number Stolen: 383
Although refreshed for the 2016 model year, the Sentra most available to thieves in 2015 had not changed much since 2012, but has nevertheless stayed quite popular. Chalk some of that popularity up to Sentra’s excellent value, featuring such items as a standard USB connection port, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, illuminated steering wheel audio controls and cruise control in a car that starts below $17,000. We’ll know next year if the 2016 Sentra remains as popular with thieves as the previous generation.
18. Ford Transit
Number Stolen: 385
According to Ford, the big Transit van can be configured in about 60 different ways, given its two wheelbases, three roof heights as well as 150, 250 and 350 variants. Cargo capacity is immense — the largest Transit features a space 172.2 inches long, 70.2 inches wide (54.8 inches between the wheels) and 81.5 inches high for a total of 487.3 cubic feet. This versatility may be why the Transit is by far the best-selling commercial van in America, and perhaps why it also makes the most stolen list.
17. Honda Civic
Number Stolen: 388
One of the most common compact cars throughout America, the Civic remains a popular target for car thieves. The model started its life as a subcompact but has grown in size over the years; however, it’s those original smaller models that remain big targets among car bandits. As the numbers attest, the all-new Civic that came to market last year has certainly captured the attention of nefarious schemers.
16. Jeep Grand Cherokee
Number Stolen: 450
The Jeep brand is synonymous with off-roading, and this 5-passenger SUV has been offering great 4-wheel-drive capability since its introduction back in 1993. The current Grand Cherokee is uniquely available with a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine that delivers up to 28 mpg and has a towing capacity of more than 7,000 pounds. With great styling and the latest in high-tech safety and convenience features, this Jeep seems to be attracting the wrong kind of attention.
15. Kia Optima
Number Stolen: 461
The Kia Optima offers a great combination of attractive styling, a roomy interior, considerable trunk space and excellent performance. Optima is available with a variety of fuel-efficient powertrains, including a hybrid model and high-performance turbo. The Optima is also an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ which means it offers crash-avoidance technology.
14. Chevrolet Camaro
Number Stolen: 461
The Camaro has been completely redesigned for the 2016 model year, and in addition to the noteworthy 6.2-liter V8 for the Camaro SS, a new 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder powerplant is available for the first time. Producing 275 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, the 2.0-liter offers more torque at 3000 rpm than the V6, and can be paired with either a 6-speed manual transmission or an 8-speed automatic. With a sculpted new exterior, the Camaro is leaner and slightly smaller than its predecessor — so it’s no surprise that this sexy model makes the most-stolen list.
13. Hyundai Elantra
Number Stolen: 475
The stylish Elantra is the best-selling model in the Hyundai lineup. Available as a sedan or hatchback, the value-priced Elantra offers an impressive list of standard equipment, good fuel economy and Hyundai’s 10-year / 100,000-mile warranty with five years of complimentary roadside assistance. The Elantra SE is the lowest-priced version, powered by a 1.8-liter engine that produces 145 horsepower to provide peppy performance. Fuel economy is rated at 27 mpg city / 37 mpg hwy when equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission. Unfortunately, the all-new 2017 Elantra will likely be just as popular with thieves as the previous generation.
12. Ford Fusion
Number Stolen: 488
When the Ford Fusion received its last update, it unveiled a bold new look that included a long nose, a sloping roofline and a short rear deck to create a much more upscale look from the previous conservative design. The best-selling domestic passenger car in America, Fusion is available with two fuel-efficient EcoBoost engines, or for even better efficiency buyers can choose the Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid. Fusion can also be equipped with all-wheel drive. With so many Fusions on the road, it makes sense that it makes the most stolen list.
11. Nissan Versa
Number Stolen: 549
The Nissan Versa retains the trophy as the least expensive new car available in America. For that low price you get much more than a bare-bones econobox. Versa comes standard with air-conditioning, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, an AM/FM/CD audio system and a trip computer. Also standard are traction and stability control as well as anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brake Force Distribution. The 109-horsepower engine is teamed with a 5-speed manual transmission, and although Versa won’t win any races it is rated at 36 mpg on the highway. Even the lowest-priced car on the market is still wanted by thieves.
10. Chevrolet Cruze
Number Stolen: 586
Cruze is one of the most successful small cars the Detroit-based automaker has ever delivered, and is currently one of the best-selling passenger cars in America. Cruze has a comfortable, attractive interior, proving that an inexpensive small car doesn’t have to feel cheap. Exterior styling was updated for 2015 with a number of feature upgrades. The standard engine is a 1.8-liter 138-horsepower four cylinder, but the Cruze really stands out from the crowd with the availability of a clean diesel. The 2.0-liter turbodiesel puts out up to 280 lb-ft of torque for quick acceleration, and is rated at an impressive 46 mpg on the highway.
9. Chevrolet Impala
Number Stolen: 594
Impala has been around for a long time. The 2015 model-year Impala is the tenth generation to be sold since the model premiered in 1958. The name may be old, but the Chevrolet Impala is thoroughly modern, available with a number of high-tech features including active noise cancellation, 4G LTE wireless connectivity, Adaptive Cruise Control, forward collision alert, a rearview camera and Apple CarPlay.
8. Chevrolet Malibu
Number Stolen: 629
Chevrolet introduced the Malibu name back in 1964 — when it was a top-line version of the Chevelle — making it the longest running midsize nameplate in the industry. The eighth generation was introduced in 2013; however, there have been ongoing improvements and additions in the last couple years. The stylish sedan offers a roomy rear seat, spacious trunk, and a number of conveniences including a secret storage location behind the touchscreen radio. The 2015 Malibu is the last of the current generation — an all-new 2016 Malibu has started arriving in showrooms.
7. Hyundai Sonata
Number Stolen: 632
The Hyundai Sonata was redesigned for the 2015 model year with a new grille and sharper lines that reflect the style of Hyundai’s top-line Genesis sedan, while retaining the sloping roofline of the previous model. With its stiffer body structure, the new model emphasizes better ride quality and a reduced interior sound level. Sonata is available with a variety of engines, but most will feature the 2.4-liter 185-horsepower motor which boasts a rating of 37 mpg on the highway.
6. Dodge Charger
Number Stolen: 666
The Dodge Charger is an icon of the muscle-car era, and it’s great to see the brand continuing the tradition with a modern version of this classic. The Charger offers the latest in high-tech entertainment and safety features, but most look at the Charger as a performance sedan. The big sedan is available in a number of torque-producing versions, including the vaunted 707-horsepower Charger Hellcat. These cars tend to attract a lot of attention, which is the primary reason for it ending up on the most stolen list.
5. GMC Sierra
Number Stolen: 670
Given that the Sierra is the twin to the higher-selling Chevrolet Silverado, it is a bit surprising to see this truck as one of the most stolen. The Sierra has had great sales success, helping GMC to its best year-to-date sales since 2005. With bold styling and countless configurations including multiple cab styles, bed lengths and drive systems, one might say there is a Sierra for everyone, including — unfortunately — car thieves too.
4. Toyota Corolla
Number Stolen: 776
The Corolla certainly is an old-timer — in name at least. Although the car was redesigned in 2014, the name has been around since 1966, and according to Toyota more than 40 million Corollas have been sold since it was introduced. As the best-selling compact car in the U.S., the Corolla’s ubiquity means there are plenty available for thieves to get their hands on, and plentiful demand for parts.
3. Toyota Camry
Number Stolen: 923
One of the most popular cars on the planet, the Camry has been sold internationally since 1982. With a roomy interior and fuel-efficient, reliable engines, the Camry sells in huge numbers each year. A completely redesigned car was introduced in 2014 as a 2015 model, and it seems like the new features and styling have been appealing to more than just buyers.
2. Chrysler 200
Number Stolen: 1,069
The Chrysler 200 was updated in 2015 with a much more elegant look, new technology and a standard 9-speed automatic transmission. Available with either a four cylinder or powerful V6, the 200 offers good fuel economy and a number of safety and convenience features. The Chrysler 200 is also available with all-wheel-drive. Inside, the center console design offers a pass-through storage space for driver and passengers, a covered charging station and sliding cupholders for even more storage when necessary.
1. Nissan Altima
Number Stolen: 1,104
The Nissan Altima is clearly the favorite among car thieves — in fact it is the eighth-most stolen vehicle when all model years are taken into account. Sales of the 2015 model exceeded all previous years, making this 4-door sedan popular and plentiful. The high sales also contributed to the 2015 model year being the most stolen ever for Altima. The stalwart sedan offers a nice mix of comfort, style and — most important to the majority of shoppers — great fuel economy.