Popular With Thieves
If one car is easier to steal than another it makes a more enticing target for a car thief, which is why America’s most stolen cars are older vehicles with little anti-theft protection. However, new models were not immune to being appropriated by thieves last year, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, which tracks annual vehicle theft data across the U.S. According to the 2017 NICB report, anti-theft technology works but owner complacency makes it easy to defeat the technology. Thousands of vehicles are stolen each year simply because key fobs are left inside vehicles, which creates easy targets for thieves. Here’s a countdown of the model year 2016 cars and trucks most stolen last year, as reported by the NICB.
25. Nissan Rogue
Number Stolen: 377
Nissan Rogue is one of the hottest-selling vehicles in America, so it’s no surprise to find the small crossover on this list of new cars that thieves love. After achieving record sales in 2016, the Rogue is on track to sell even more this year. In the latter part of 2016, Nissan introduced a 2017 Rogue with updated styling and features. The new Rogue has a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with an advanced Xtronic transmission with Eco mode, posting an EPA fuel economy rating as high as 33 mpg. Also available as a hybrid, the 2017 Rogue now has a smaller sibling called Rogue Sport.
24. Chevrolet Cruze
Number Stolen: 398
As one of the most successful small cars the Detroit-based automaker has ever delivered, Cruze is currently among the best-selling passenger cars in America. Cruze has a comfortable, attractive interior — proof that an inexpensive small car doesn’t have to feel cheap. The exterior styling received an update for 2015 in addition to several 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 produces up to 280 lb-ft of torque for quick acceleration, and is rated at an impressive 46 mpg on the highway.
23. Chrysler 200
Number Stolen: 409
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 a powerful V6 engine, the 200 offers respectable fuel economy and many 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. Sales of the 200 dropped dramatically in 2016, which might explain why the 200 dropped from the second-most-stolen new car in America to number 23.
22. Chrysler 300
Number Stolen: 415
The Chrysler 300 returned for the 2005 model year as a full-size, rear-drive powerhouse with a muscular, aggressive design offering both V6 and powerful V8 engines. The 300 has been refined over the years with updated headlights, a bold grille and new safety and convenience features added for 2015. Although 300 sales have not been as strong as its first few years on the market, demand for the big sedan has held steady over the last four years, with apparently newfound interest among car thieves.
21. Dodge Challenger
Number Stolen: 419
The designers at Dodge did a wonderful job capturing the look of the classic muscle car and incorporating it into the thoroughly modern Challenger. The 2-door Challenger offers the latest in high-tech entertainment and safety features, but this retro-looking coupe is really all about performance. The Challenger can be equipped with a variety of high-powered engines, although the most talked-about variant is the Challenger Hellcat with its 707-horsepower supercharged V8 powerplant. Can you say joyride?
20. Nissan Sentra
Number Stolen: 442
As with other manufacturers, Nissan is experiencing a general decline in passenger car sales and Sentra sales are following suit. However, the Sentra has seen steady sales growth since 2012 and is a perennial favorite among car thieves. A new Sentra debuted early last year with updated styling, retuned suspension and a refreshed interior. Available high-tech features include Forward Emergency Braking, Intelligent Cruise Control, Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Joining the Sentra lineup this year is a new high-performance NISMO edition, which could become popular among carjackers as well.
19. Ford Focus
Number Stolen: 456
At one time Focus was one of the best-selling passenger cars in America, but sales have been in a steady decline since peaking in 2012. That said, as sales are declining the number of Focus thefts seems to be increasing. The Focus is available in a variety of styles and trim levels, ranging from the fuel-efficient Focus S that gets 36 mpg on the highway to the high-performance 350-horsepower all-wheel-drive Focus RS. Standard equipment for Focus includes a rearview camera, an air-filtration system, multiple safety features and the SYNC voice-activated communications and entertainment system with hands-free calling.
18. Ford Mustang
Number Stolen: 460
The current-generation Mustang debuted a few years ago with a lower, wider stance; a lower roof height; wider rear fenders and a wider track. Available as either a coupe or a convertible, the Mustang is offered with three different engine choices — a standard V6 and two performance options: a turbocharged EcoBoost four cylinder and a 5.0-liter V8, the latter producing 435 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque in the Mustang GT. Sales have increased with the updated look, as have Mustang thefts.
17. Hyundai Accent
Number Stolen: 467
Hyundai sold more Accents in 2016 than ever before, which might explain why the number stolen also took a big jump last year. The Accent offers impressive value — even the base SE sedan has an attractive interior that doesn’t feel cheap. Features include a 6-way adjustable driver’s seat, a split-folding rear seat, air-conditioning, power windows and door locks and an AM/FM/MP3/CD audio system with six speakers. The Accent’s 1.6-liter engine puts out 137 horsepower, and when teamed with the standard 6-speed manual transmission it’s rated at 38 mpg on the highway.
16. Honda Accord
Number Stolen: 493
When counting all model years, the Honda Accord continues its streak for another year as the most stolen vehicle in the United States. 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, which has made a big difference in car thefts — more than 7,500 Accords from model year 1997 were stolen last year, compared to less than 500 of the 2016 model.
15. Ford Explorer
Number Stolen: 494
In 2011 the Ford Explorer was completely redesigned with a platform and styling unlike any of the previous generations. Sales have continued to climb since that year, and popularity with car thieves has increased as well. Explorer offers many high-tech convenience and safety features including the latest version of SYNC, Ford’s voice-activated infotainment system. Two EcoBoost engines are currently available, including a powerful 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 that makes 365 horsepower.
14. Ram 1500
Number Stolen: 558
One of the most stolen vehicles in America when the NICB reports on all model years, the current Ram is also quite popular with truck thieves. There are also more Ram trucks available to steal — 2016 was the best sales year for the big truck in more than a decade. With many body styles and powertrains, Ram continues to iterate special editions that keep customers (and thieves) coming back to the brand. The latest to join the Ram lineup is the Limited Tungsten Edition, billed as the most luxurious Ram pickup ever.
13. Chevrolet Impala
Number Stolen: 604
Impala has been around for a long time. The current version is the tenth generation sold since the model premiered in 1958. The name may be old, but the Chevrolet Impala is thoroughly modern, available with many high-tech features including active noise cancellation, 4G LTE wireless connectivity, Adaptive Cruise Control, forward collision alert, a rearview camera and Apple CarPlay. Although sales have been in a steady decline since 2010, there are still plenty available for thieves to pilfer.
12. Nissan Versa
Number Stolen: 664
The Nissan Versa retains the trophy as the least expensive new car available in America. For that low price, buyers get much more than a barebones 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. Apparently the lowest-priced car on the market is still popular among thieves.
11. Chevrolet Malibu
Number Stolen: 666
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 ninth-generation Malibu debuted for the 2016 model year, which resulted in the best sales year in more than a decade. Malibu features a sleek new exterior design with a wheelbase stretched nearly 4 inches to offer more interior space and improved fuel efficiency. A 160-horsepower 1.5-liter turbo or 250-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo are available, as well as a fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain.
10. Ford Transit
Number Stolen: 669
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.
9. Ford F-Series
Number Stolen: 738
Perhaps proving that sales and car thefts are not directly related, the F-Series has topped the annual sales list for more than 30 years, yet it’s not even close to the top of the most stolen list. Improved technology and smartkeys are likely helping — while only 738 new F-Series pickups were stolen last year, almost 3,000 2010 models were swiped. The current F-Series is available in hundreds of configurations ranging from the light-duty F-150 to the extremely-capable Super Duty.
8. Hyundai Elantra
Number Stolen: 832
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 as popular with thieves as the previous generation.
7. GMC Sierra
Number Stolen: 884
Given that the Sierra is the twin to the higher-selling Chevrolet Silverado, it is a bit surprising to see this truck listed 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.
6. Hyundai Sonata
Number Stolen: 887
The Hyundai Sonata was redesigned for the 2015 model year with a new grille and sharper lines that reflect the style of Hyundai’s high-end Genesis brand, 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.
5. Ford Fusion
Number Stolen: 914
When the Ford Fusion received its last major update, it adopted a bold new look that includes 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 opt for the Fusion Hybrid or the Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid (all-wheel drive is also available). With so many Fusions on the road, it makes sense that it lands on this most stolen list.
4. Dodge Charger
Number Stolen: 945
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. 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 several torque-producing versions, including the vaunted 707-horsepower Charger Hellcat. These cars tend to attract a lot of attention — likely the reason it ends up on the most stolen list.
3. Toyota Corolla
Number Stolen: 982
Retaining a remarkably steady sales climb over the last 10 years, Corolla is the most popular compact car in America. Sold in some form since 1966, the Corolla’s continued success can be attributed in part to its impressive fuel economy, roomy interior and extensive list of standard features. With almost 400,000 Corollas sold last year, the small car’s ubiquity means there are plenty on roads for thieves to get their hands on, as well as a high demand for parts.
2. Nissan Altima
Number Stolen: 1,063
Once Nissan’s best-selling model, the Altima experienced a slight decline in sales last year, allowing the hot-selling Rogue to claim its position as the top-selling Nissan in America. This sales dip also took the Altima off the top of this most stolen list, with slightly fewer models stolen in 2016. The stalwart sedan offers a nice mix of comfort, style and — most important to many shoppers — great fuel economy. These features also appear to be popular with car thieves.
1. Toyota Camry
Number Stolen: 1,113
Until a slight decline in 2016, Camry had sales gains every year since 2011. It is interesting to note that although sales were down last year, the number of Camry’s stolen increased. As the best-selling passenger car in America, it makes sense that the car would be popular among thieves as well as shoppers. When an all-new Camry comes to market this summer sales are likely to climb, along with the probability that the number of thefts will increase as well.