2016 has been a massive year in the car world. Some of the most hotly-anticipated cars of all time have been launched, like the Alfa Romeo Giulia, Aston Martin DB11, Ford Focus RS, and Acura NSX.

We’ve also seen new takes on big sellers like the Chevrolet Cruze, Chrysler Pacifica, and Honda Civic. And, on the other side of the Atlantic, a couple of long-overdue entries into the SUV sector, specifically the SEAT Ateca and Skoda Kodiaq, both of which have gone straight to the top of the respective classes.

But does the list of things that are new in 2016 mirror what people are actually typing into the search box on Google?

Everyone’s default search engine has released its list of the car brands most often searched for in the United States in 2016. And it shows the automotive priorities of the average American quite clearly

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Perhaps unsurprisingly, Honda heads the list as the most-searched-for automaker in 2016. Even less surprisingly, Californians searched for it more than the people of any other state, and the interest in the term “2017 Honda CRV” grew by 3,000 percent - expect the all-new, mid-size crossover to sell in gigantic quantities next year. “Honda Civic” was the outright top related query. And yet the NSX doesn’t feature in either of the trending or related query lists.

Mercedes-Benz was second, reflecting its position as the biggest-selling luxury automaker. Weirdly, most interest in the brand came from Delaware, while “2017 Mercedes-Benz C300” was the top rising search term. Who would have thought there would be so much interest in the base-model C Class?

Tesla came in third, showing a massive spike in searches around the time of the Model 3 unveil in April. Yet the term “Tesla P100D” turned out to be the biggest breakout of the year - well, it is one of the quickest production cars of all time, leaping from 0 to 60 miles per hour in about two-and-a-half seconds. Again, most interest came from California.

Lamborghini ranks fourth, though that’s largely due to the song Purple Lamborghini by Skrillex, which featured on the soundtrack of Suicide Squad.

Volvo is another anomaly, placing fifth off the back of the slightly heartbreaking Volvo Wedding commercial, and its sponsorship of a tennis stadium in South Carolina. Though its revamped range had something to with it, as well.

The bottom half of the top ten features Ford, Jaguar, Bentley, Maserati, and Rolls-Royce. It seems the prospect of a new Bronco and the perennial F150 truck piqued most interest in the Blue Oval. A commercial featuring Stephen Hawking and the F-Pace it highlighted got people searching for the Coventry Cat. Interest in the Winged B actually focused on people called Bentley, specifically country singer Dierks Bentley and Alabama governor Robert Bentley, though the Bentayga SUV was a popular search, as well. As was the Milanese Trident’s first SUV, the Levante, accounting for most of its search traffic. And the trend continues as the impending, Spirit of Ecstasy-bearing SUV currently known as “Cullinan” generated most of Rolls-Royce’s traffic.

Here's the list in full:

  1. Honda
  2. Mercedes-Benz
  3. Tesla
  4. Lamborghini
  5. Volvo
  6. Ford
  7. Jaguar
  8. Bentley
  9. Maserati
  10. Rolls-Royce

You can dig into the statistics for yourself at the link here.


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