The car you drive might say more about where you’re from that you think. These are the most popular cars in each of the 50 states.
It turns out your vehicle preference is as much cultural and geographical as it is personal. When you look at what vehicles sell the best by state and region certain patterns present themselves. But correlation does not equal causation and not all patterns carry a higher meaning. Just take the anomalous popularity of the Chevrolet Silverado in South Dakota. In a sea of mid-western states where the F-150 predominates, the contrarians in South Dakota have a slight preference for the Silverado. Why? The answers remain in the realm of speculation.
What we do know, thanks to the researchers at Insurify, is that a vehicle’s popularity does indeed vary by region. Insurify’s data, compiled from newly registered cars applying for insurance, doesn’t just reflect the current automotive flavor of the month. Since the average age of a used car is 12 years, their data reflects the best-selling models in any given state going back a decade or more.
Conspicuously absent are all the SUVs and crossovers that have been steadily on the rise over the last decade. The perennially best-selling sedan, the Toyota Camry, doesn’t make the list while best-selling crossovers like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V are also absent. But it’s a good bet that in another 10-years’ time, the nationwide shift toward SUVs will be represented in the data.
Unsurprisingly, the most popular vehicle in the US also finds itself the most popular in the most total states. That many of those states are geographically large, more rural, and are home to much of the nation’s agricultural land should not be surprises either. The Ford F-150 has proven itself a tough and durable workhorse that can, in its most modern forms, do credible double duty as a semi-luxury option complete with the latest and greatest in automotive technology.
Just as the popularity of the F-150 tells you something about the lifestyles and economies of the West and Midwest, so too does the popularity of the Honda Accord along the eastern seaboard. From Georgia in the south to Massachusetts in the north, the Accord is the go-to commuter in the most urbanized region of the US. Please don’t ask me to explain its popularity in Nevada, however.
The Honda Civic, the smaller and sportier little brother to the Accord, comes in at number three. Geographically, the nine states represented here tend to offer more open roads than the Accord aficionados “back East” while still having major population centers like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle. It appears the drivers in these states like to the split the difference between enjoying long drives in the country and keeping things efficient on their daily commutes.
The deep South seems to have its mind made up that the Altima is the best sedan around. You’ll also notice that Delaware appears twice on this list due to the fact that Delawarians, Delaware dwellers (?) can’t decide which Japanese sedan they like better, the Altima or the Accord. D.C. and Tennessee have clearly been influenced by the neighboring states. So just as every good car salesperson will tell you, referrals clearly matter.
Though the Camry and RAV4 may be the best-selling models for Toyota today, the good old Corolla remains the most popular vehicle making this state-by-state list. Its inclusion is a testament as much to the Corolla’s durability as it is its popularity since used examples tend to stay on the road a long time to get registered again and again. Florida and Vermont have always been states to march to the beats of their own drummers, so it’s not too surprising to see them together as outliers in their respective regions.
Speaking of individualistic outliers, Maine and South Dakota, two rural states that would naturally default to a pick-up truck, choose the Chevrolet Silverado over the more mainstream F-150.
You betcha, that most venerable of Chevy models, the Impala, reigns supreme in the land of 10,000 lakes. The practically minded folks of Minnesota know a good allrounder when they see one.