Stealing cars is about the economics of opportunity. Is the door unlocked? Are the keys under the sun visor? Is this one of 50 cars that need to be stolen in 72 hours; otherwise, Memphis Raines’ brother will be taken out?
But car thieving is also about psychology. The person stealing a car is, of course, trying to make like Merlin or David Copperfield and 'abracadabra' that Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla into 'duckets,' but there’s also something in their psyche they’ve tweaked to figure out the calculus of easy steal + big payout (oh, that’s just addition, isn’t it?). You never hear your boss complain about his Bugatti being stolen (you have a very rich boss in this scenario); nor are you worried about leaving your Chrysler LeBaron unlocked for three weeks with the keys in the ignition and a sign on the dash that says, “Take my ride, please!” There’s no secondary market for cars people can’t fence or don’t want to fence.
It goes without saying that after a certain price point, luxury cars and supercars just don’t get nabbed. While I'd die of schadenfreude if Jay Leno’s bombastic stash was nabbed like a gallant knight plundering dragon’s gold, you and I both know that’s not going to happen.
Where that leaves us is with the cars that people drive and make available for car thieves but even those car nabbers don’t want. To use a tortured metaphor, what bait does the fisherman use because he needs to but all the fish are like, “Um, no thanks? I’m going to take your neighbor’s bait though”?
Here are the 20 cars that no thief would steal.
Mercury only stuck with this fancy Mazda Tribute for seven years. So, the easy answer why the Mariner is on this list is that there aren’t that many out there; nor are they sought after. They’re just existing, being confused for the car that Tiger Woods endorsed all those years ago.
Other than its blandness, I’d volley another reason why not too many ne'er-do-wells take the time to take one of these: The Nautical theme is confusing. Mariner? How does one “marine”? If I wanted to drive something that went with a boat captain’s hat, I’d drive an Amphicar.
Chevrolet already can’t come up with enough of a distinction between the cars in their sedan lineup, and I don’t know that the engineers at Chevy HQ can tell you how the Equinox is different from any other subcompact SUV. This is interesting to consider since there are some run-of-the-mill SUVs on the list of most-stolen autos.
The equinox is the day the sun is directly over the equator. According to the incredibly reputable-sounding site TreeHugger, on the morning of the Vernal Equinox, the Great Sphinx of Giza apparently stares straight into the sun. And much like the Great Sphinx of Giza, the Chevy Equinox is a blinded enigma.
It’s a Passat that wants to be an Audi Sportback? It’s a German egg that tricked a witch into giving it her secrets and transformed itself because all it ever really wanted was to be a middling sedan?
If I were President of Crimestopping, or whatever that job is, I’d want to thoroughly interview every car thief to figure out why they stole the car they did, and why don’t they steal certain cars. I mean, I’d have my own answers, but I want to know why they think this car I’m not even sure is real is a bad one to nab.
Yeah, it’s a sort of a quick, luxurious SUV, but there’s no Toyota equivalent, so it’s not a good choice to part out. If you’re going to steal a Lexus RX 350 (please don’t steal a Lexus RX 350); it’s for the love of the “Joy Riding in a $50K SUV” game. If you’re in the business of spending zero dollars on an SUV, keep your eyes peeled for a Dodge Durango SRT, at least. (Please don’t be in the business of spending zero dollars, and please don’t take someone’s Durango SRT. They wouldn't like that).
My take? I think no one steals this car because that grille looks too much like the fencing you’d have to stare through when you end up in the pokey.
Buick is in the midst of an identity crisis, and the Encore is the best example of this. Their Regal line is turning out some actual, real-deal sleepers and Outback busters, but this… Whom is this car for? A wizard who loves to golf?
It seems like it would make sense to steal this (please don’t steal this), it’s built on the same platform as the Chevy Trax. Oh, you’ve never heard of / seen one of those? You’re right; I stand corrected. Can’t swap out parts on a car that’s the automotive equivalent to Sasquatch.
Is this an ugly, underpowered passenger van? Yes. Do 100 percent of them look like they’re about to be used in a jewel heist? Absolutely. Would it make you feel less alive to drive one of these every day? Most definitely. Do I want one? You betcha.
No one else does, apparently. Even Ford, they only made them for three model years. My first thought was, it makes total sense to steal one (please don’t steal one); you can fit in like camouflage. But then again, if it’s a commercial truck with a company name and a phone number, you’re definitely getting caught. If it’s an unmarked one, you’re definitely getting accused of stealing some Rembrandts.
Look, Elon Musk is a giant toolbag. He just is. I’m not going to debate you on it. Even though he’s a billionaire and probably will end up being a real-life Lex Luthor before it’s all said and done, he's at least made it possible for really rich people to buy cars that don’t need gas and can’t be stolen. So, there’s that. Good on him, I guess.
I haven’t driven one, but I've sat in one. No idea how the doors work. Unless you’re driving in Europe, where they’re stolen quite often, apparently, you’re probably never going to have to worry because they have always-on GPS built in. Also, unless you’re privy to how the car works, stealing one would be like a dog trying to buy plane tickets to Maui.
I think you’ve got to live in the right place to make stealing an Audi A6 make sense. A $50,000 German sport sedan is going to stick out like a sore, European, besandaled toe in a lot of places. Throw a dart at the map on your wall. What town did you hit? Oh, the Indian Ocean? Okay, absolutely no Audis there. Try again. Sheboygan, Wisconsin? How many A6s you think are there?
SHEBOYGAN AUDI DRIVER: “Officer! Someone stole my car!”
COP: “What’s it look like?”
SAD: “It’s an Audi A6.”
COP: “I don’t know what that means. I don’t know what you just said.”
SAD: “It’s the black car with the Olympic-looking rings on the grille.”
COP: “Oh, yeah! Randy has it.”
What’s interesting about the Saturn marketing mythos is that despite being owned by General Motors, they branded themselves as “a different kind of car company.” So, you’d think maybe they’d do something awesome, like produce a Speedracer car or a production version of Gravedigger, maybe? Nah, man... they just made a bunch of milk-and-water autos. The Vue is the one they sold the most of. I’m not going to vet this, but my guess is that the only color available was puce, which is just another word for “khaki” but also reminiscent of something you’d eat at an orphanage.
The Vue was branded the "Vauxhall Antara" in the UK, and in South Korea, they called it the "Daewoo Winstorm MaXX." How do you not steal that car? Those sound like wizards who chug mead and breakdance on the rings of Saturn.
Yeah, I don’t blame you car thieves who are clearly taking the time to read this listicle for research purposes. There’s not much going for the Aveo in the “Enticing to Auto Bandits” department.
Chevy discontinued these subcompact mistakes in 2011, so the ones still hobbling around are most likely on their last leg.
Plus, there’s no analog to the model anywhere else in the GM portfolio. If even Buick doesn’t want to dress it up and sell it to your Nonna, then you know you’re in trouble.
And with 108 hp, you’re not so much outrunning the cops as you are escaping out of pity.
This is the second article I’ve written about stealing / not stealing cars, and I gotta tell ya, I’m getting pretty close to starting a new side gig—if you catch my drift. (I’m thinking about stealing cars. [Okay, not really…]).
The BMW 5-Series is a solid car, drives good, but is still practical. Plus, if you live in a place like I do, surrounded by tech startup bros and real estate goblins—I mean moguls, real estate moguls—you’ll blend in, most definitely. The only downside (other than the laughably difficult time you’ll actually have stealing one) is that the 5-Series comes in three different engine types, so unless you know what trim you have at a glance, you’re not going to know how many horses you’re working with.
This one is easy to figure why no one steals them, too. You look at a MINI Cooper, and you’re like, “Huh? I have no idea if I like that. I also don’t know if it’s fast. Does it run on crumpets? Do I have to queue up to get some petrol?”
Okay, no one thinks that. And nor should you. Those are rude stereotypes about a country that produces a car with three cylinders. If you get pulled over, you have to say, “Sorry, guv... I’m coals and coke, got no bees and honey, love to collar and cuff, collar and cuff, say what I mean, innit?”
I mean, you’ll get arrested immediately, but at least they’ll think you belong in that car.
The aesthetically challenged BMW X1 is also on this Not Being On Car Thieves’ List list. It falls under two categories of cars that automobile bandits don’t take kindly to: luxury cars and crossover thingamabobs.
My scientifically unsound theory goes like this: These cars don’t get stolen because they’re ugly. Let’s face facts—it looks like a Honda CR-V if it were a German dandy Pinocchio. I don’t care if it’s fast; get outta here with that long-hood profile. If I wanted my biggest blind spot to be in front of me, I’d get a job as a trucker.
If I’m forced to drive something like this, which doing so would be the least compelling scene in Saw, I guess give me a Mazda CX-5.
This isn’t the first Lexus on the list, and it’s not the last. Maybe buy a Lexus? I know, I know... I don’t want one either. But if one of your requirements for car buying is “Doesn’t get stolen,” well, you don’t have much choice then, do you?
Up until the 2019 model year, the Lexus ES was one of those luxury cars that had a whole lot of creature comforts and not a lot of performance.
So, a better-looking, slower Cadillac. Also, Lexus has a pretty aggressive iteration schedule, so since the designs of each model change fairly drastically, they don’t age well.
Maybe they do this to avoid the Acura Integra / Honda Civic problem, or maybe no one likes them. Sorry, this one isn't funny. This car is just so boring.
The Lexus CT looks like a hot hatch, but it’s a hybrid that tops out at 134 hp, so it’s more of a tepid hatch. A cup-of-tea-set-out-on-the-counter-for-too-long hatch.
I don’t know what the word is for this, but looking fast and actually being slow makes it the opposite of a sleeper. A waker? A napper? I don’t know what, but I don’t want it, and neither does anyone else. I guess the lesson we can take here is that a car that’s a hard sell on the legitimate market is also a hard sell on the black market, too.
If you’re stealing a hatchback (don’t), get you a Mazda3, or a Civic, or that new Corolla hatchback.
Well, would you look at this Honda CR-V wearing its Sunday best... The turbo inline-4 actually gives the RDX a little punch, but again, this car adheres to the theory of “Everyone Hates Me And My Money, But At Least No One Will Steal My Car” that we’ve seen a few times on this list.
I’m sure it’s a nice car to drive around after you snatch it, but the ROI on that sore thumb is probably just going to be jail time. Guessing there aren't too many people that need underground replacement parts for their luxury SUV.
This car is perfect for you and your brood to sit high atop the lap of luxury as you peer down at the poor 'car-tariat' having their surprisingly similar Hondas nabbed out from under them.
It’s weird that the Hyundai Azera is on this list and not the most-stolen one because if it were a high school student, it’d be in the same clique as the Toyotas and Hondas that get nabbed all the time.
However, there aren’t any Mazdas on that stolen list either. Maybe these two were shunned, they wore the wrong shoes one day or texted Civic’s s/o, so now they were forced to form their own group even though they don’t particularly care for each other but feel the need to bond out of a sense of commiseration. Thing is, they’re all jealous because they’ll never be as cool as the Chevrolet SS.
I got a little salty on the last electric one. Unlike the Tesla Model S, the Nissan Leaf is an electric car that regular folk can almost afford but also is apparently not a big draw in the “We Take People’s Property” community.
And you know, if you’ve stolen yourself an electric car (please don’t steal yourself an electric car), all you’ve really done is create an extra chore by way of having to charge this puppy to get it anywhere further than the grocery store.
Also, unlike the Tesla, I don’t think you’re outrunning the cops in the Nissan Leaf.
Scion ended production in 2016, so now, this car is called the "Toyota 86." There aren’t numbers on the last two years, but I’m imagining people continued to not steal them after the name change. Oh yeah... it’s also exactly the same as the Subaru BRZ.
So, if you’re going to steal one (please don’t steal one), you’ll probably have to deal with a frustrated chop-shop owner because you didn’t bring a more updated model.
Oh, and if you plan to steal one (please don’t steal one), you’re going to have a rough getaway ride and not much room to lug around a crew. The FR-S / 86 / BRZ has a backseat, sort of.
May as well take a Miata.
Speaking of Miatas, no one steals them either. There’s a reason they’ve been in production for as long as they have: they’re solid, low-priced sports cars. That no one steals.
They’re nimble, fun, athletic, lightweight roadsters with great gas mileage. That no one steals.
Sure, they've got no back seat and a cramped trunk, but they're available with a retractable hardtop and, while they only have as much horsepower as a base Honda Civic, will absolutely smoke most cars from the line. Also, no one steals them.
I think Mazda owes me some money for this brilliant ad campaign. Or maybe a new Miata MX-5 RF. I’ll take one of those. That they GIVE me. I’m not going to steal it!
Sources: nhsta.gov; iihs.org; nj.com; cars.com; cars.usnews.com; theguardian.com