autoTRADER.ca Top 10 Most Searched Vehicles in 2018

Canadians' love affair with SUVs continues to grow, as their penchant for sedans and some luxury vehicles appear to be waning – this is according to 2018 data just released from autoTRADER.ca's annual top 10 most searched vehicles list.

Featuring hundreds of thousands of vehicles for sale, autoTRADER.ca, Canada's most comprehensive automotive marketplace, mines and analyzes its site search data each year, to capture the pulse of Canadian car buyers' interests.

"For the fourth year in a row, the perennial Ford F-150 has retained the #1 spot on the list, but this year, the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 have climbed into top positions as Canadian favourites, claiming spot #7 and #10 respectively," says Michael Bettencourt, managing editor, autoTRADER.ca. "As a result, sedans appear to be taking a back seat in 2018's top 10 list compared to previous years."

While luxury sedans, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class remained in the top 10, this year, the Honda Accord and the BMW M series both fell off the list. For the first time, from coast to coast, every province saw the inclusion of at least one SUV model reinforcing the category as a top choice among Canadians. autoTRADER.ca also observed an average 11 per cent year-over-year increase in new car SUV listings. Lastly, Canadians appear to still love their sports cars, with classic favourites including the Ford Mustang, Porsche 911 and Chevrolet Corvette, ranking at #2, #8 and #9 respectively.

The complete Top 10 List is as follows:

2018 Top 10 Most Searched Vehicles in Canada

  1. Ford F-150
  2. Ford Mustang
  3. Honda Civic
  4. BMW 3 Series
  5. Jeep Wrangler
  6. Mercedes-Benz C-Class
  7. Honda CR-V
  8. Porsche 911
  9. Chevrolet Corvette
  10. Toyota RAV4

autoTRADER.ca's 2018 data also revealed some key regional taste differences for car shoppers across the country:

  • Quebecers prefer practicality: The #1 most searched vehicle in La Belle Province was the Honda Civic for the second consecutive year (compared to the national list where it placed #3). Quebec was the only province where the Civic took the top spot. Further to Quebecers' preference for sensibility over splendor, the more extravagant Porsche 911 and Jeep Grand Cherokee – last year's #5 and #9, were displaced by Toyota, who's functional RAV4 and Corolla claimed #7 and #9 respectively in the province
  • Ontarians love their classics: Compared to the rest of Canada, Ontarians were outliers in that they are most interested in classics, performance and style. In 2018, the luxury BMW 3 Series got bumped to second place in favour of the Ford Mustang as the top searched vehicle in the province. The sporty Corvette and Porsche 911 were also Ontarian favourites ranking #8 and #10 respectively
  • Maritime and Prairie provinces prefer utility over luxury: The top three car brands in these regions were Ford, Toyota and Chevrolet (in various order). When it comes to luxury, the Maritimes and Manitoba had only one model on the list (BMW 3 Series)
  • BC and Alberta take a turn: British Columbians also fell out of favour with premium vehicles this year, having observed a 60 per cent decrease in luxury models in the top search compared to the year prior. As well, two vehicles that didn't make the national list, but were sought after by Albertans, were the Jeep Grand Cherokee (#4) and Toyota Tacoma (#8)
  • The Territories and Manitoba are definitively SUV and truck country: 9 out of 10 models searched in the Territories and 7 out of 10 in Manitoba were comprised of SUVs and trucks

Other interesting findings include:

  • Spring is still the top season to buy and sell: As the snow melts, and the warmer weather returns, buying and selling is top of mind for Canadians. In 2018, March, April and May were among the top five months to see the highest search volume
  • It's not always black and white – except maybe when it comes to cars: autoTRADER.ca site data suggests that classic shades – black and white - accounted for the most popular vehicle colours sought out by Canadians – making up almost half of all colour queries (27.7 per cent and 22.4 per cent respectively). Other popular colour choices, include: grey (7.9%), blue (7.8%), red (5.8%) and silver (5.4%)
  • Canadians are night owls: Across the nation, autoTRADER.ca site data revealed that Canadians like to search for their favourite cars at night, with search volume peaking between 9:00 p.m. through midnight

According to Bettencourt, there are three future trends to watch for in 2019, based on autoTRADER.ca's data analysis:

  1. Say goodbye to cars from our childhood: the absence of some of our favourite sedans from the list, alongside the fall of the minivan, further reinforce a car-buying future dominated by SUVs and subcompact crossovers. In 2018, search interest for minivans reached a substantial low, accounting for just 2.58 per cent of search categories specified, and overall listings for new and used vans dropped an average of 11 per cent year-over-year. New car sedan listings saw an average 15 per cent year-over-year drop, likely partly due to increased interest in the SUV category
  2. Electric vehicles are gaining traction fast – but there's still road ahead: the Telsa revolution has dominated headlines, and while electric vehicle (EV) supply is growing, autoTRADER.ca search data shows Canadians may still need more time to adjust. Despite growing interest, the category of eco-friendly vehicles only accounts for 1.43 per cent of overall Canadian search volume. Bettencourt predicts that we are still a few years away from seeing EVs dominate car shoppers' attention
  3. Will Mid-level luxury be Canada's next sweet spot? Bettencourt points out that while most Canadians in 2018 opted for utility, general interest in luxury car brands remained steady – a key indicator that strong opportunity lies ahead in the mid-level luxury category, particularly as it pertains to SUVs

"This year's search data and the future trends we have identified are all pointing to the fact that we are slowly approaching a tipping point in our industry," says Bettencourt. "We're witnessing a significant shift in consumer preference, as cars that were once a staple for one generation, are no longer for another. This will have a direct impact both economically and culturally, affecting the automotive industry and beyond."

Methodology

Analysis was performed based on site analytics from autoTRADER.ca using Canadian search data of over 160 million views, January 1–November 30, 2018. Year-over-year analysis was based on data from January 2017to December 2018.

About TRADER Corporation

TRADER Corporation is a trusted Canadian leader in online media, managing automotive consumer marketplaces. The company's primary online destinations include: autoTRADER.ca and autoHEBDO.net. autoTRADER.ca offers the largest inventory of new cars and used cars in Canada, available via our website and mobile applications. Visitors buy or sell cars, trucks or other motorized vehicles quickly, easily and conveniently. Buyers can search based on vehicle model, make, colour and geographic location to find the deal that is right for them. Follow autoTRADER.ca on FacebookTwitter and on YouTube.

Utility edges out luxury for Canadian car shoppers. 12/13/2018 9:00:00 AM