Have a Ferrari? Park it in the driveway. It’s fine. Park it in the street. It’s going to be okay. Really, it is. Don’t take the Nicolas Cage “classic” Gone in 60 Seconds as gospel. Fast cars and luxury cars don’t actually get stolen that often. People who have the funds to buy a supercar usually have the funds to make sure no one gets their dirty paws on them. Own a ‘67 Shelby Mustang GT 500? It’s more likely Nic Cage will show up and ask to drive it than it'll get lost to a car thief.
The rest of us plebes? The ones who buy reasonable sedans and SUVs and crossovers and minivans and park them in the driveway, the ones who don’t have a dedicated garage for our Bugatti Veyrons, don’t have an Amphicar at our lake house (because we also don’t have a lake house)—we’re the ones left to roll out of Costco with a metric ton of hot dogs and a pallet of scarves, only to find that our beloved Buick Lucerne has been snatched from out in front of us.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau compiles a comprehensive list of cars stolen in every state of the Union. Many of them will make you say, “Uh, yeah, I knew that.” But there are some surprising choices. The NICB releases the top 10 most stolen every year, but we were curious what the rest of that list looks like, so we compiled the breakdowns from each state in 2016 to calculate the other 15 top stolen cars in the nation.
Here are 25 of the most stolen cars in the United States.
Got a traveling family band? A cadre of street clowns? A bevy of buskers? Whatever/whoever it is you’re hauling, be sure to keep close watch of your Ford Econoline E350. Seems like a hefty haul for thieves to grab, but since most of the Econoline models are sold for commercial purposes, they’re all fairly interchangeable. You have one? It’s white, isn’t it?
While only 570 were stolen nationwide in 2016, that’s still common enough that I'd leave my banjos in the back.
For trucks, NICB only makes distinctions between small and full-size; the 591 stolen in 2016 could very well include both S-10s and Colorados.
Either way, much like the Econoline, a small pickup doesn’t seem like fodder for someone with sticky shift fingers, but it’s that fly-under-the-radar quality of the smaller end of Chevy’s fleet that makes it so enticing to carnappers. You know a guy named John, right? He’s not too tall, not too short, a hard worker, but otherwise, you have no idea how to describe him. “He’s just a dude I know.” That’s your small Chevy pickup.
Let’s all do a collective “I Dunno?” for this one. Yeah, only 668 were nabbed in 2016, but you also could've told me that there were only 668 of the Pontiac Grand Prix left in the U.S., and I would've been like, “Yeah, I can see that.”
When’s the last time you saw a Pontiac Grand Prix out in the wild? The last one off the assembly line is the same age as a fifth grader, and it's not exactly as sought after as a G8. But its parts are interchangeable with a few other GM models. So, lock it up, buddy.
Blame it on my sad dad crush on the newest iteration of the Maxima (I’m looking past the CVT), but I would've thought this car would be higher on the list.
And that may be part of its lack of appeal for people who have an affinity for crowbars and ski masks; it’s a little too quick and a little too rare to make much use of. Even though sales of the Maxima are trending upward, Nissan still barely moves 60K a year. That may be why less 700 went missing in 2016.
Looks like the Sonata is where thieves really start to open up and let their desires be known to the unassuming, non-door-locking world. Whereas our first few entries struggled to break 700 thefts in a year, Hyundai’s "meat and potatoes" model jumps up to 938.
While older models may be better for the demolition derby, Hyundai has proven itself a solid choice for commuters in the last several years—thieves also, apparently.
Quick note: if you bought your whip fresh off the lot, you might want to be particularly cautious. The Sonata made the top 10 of most stolen new cars.
Look. I’ll level with you. I’m not in the car-thievin’ game, but if I were, a Charger would be on my list. They’re everywhere. Plus, if you’re going to risk getting chased by the cops, what better car to be in than one that’s probably faster than what the cops are driving?
These vehicles' increasing pervasiveness is a likely culprit for their uptick in thefts. While they rank rather low on this list, they're also are included in the top 10 most stolen new cars from the last few years.
Practical. That’s the car thief who steals a Ford Explorer. There’s plenty of room for his car-thief tools in the back and lots of space to cart around his car-thief buds. Rides pretty good for an SUV, but also, it’s all-terrain-y enough to ditch the cops down a dirt road if need be.
Or maybe these Borer the Explorers are superstitious. Stay with me here. Remember that dinosaur movie? Dinosaur Getaway I believe it was called? No one was chewed to bits in that Ford Explorer. Makes you think...
I don’t know either, man. I’m straight up puzzled by this one. My wife and I were circling our wagons around getting a Subaru a couple months back, and I constantly forgot this was a choice.
If the Legacy were an ice cream flavor, it would be vanilla with a hint of khaki. If the Legacy were a condiment, it would be taco sauce. (“What? You mean salsa?” “No, taco sauce.”)
It does have all-wheel drive and is the foundation for the WRX, so I guess I can see the appeal. Worth noting that the Legacy scored highest in Utah and Colorado.
The Chevy Tahoe is the last car on this list that fails to break 2,000 thefts in a year.
This 7-seat behemoth seems like a hard target; if you’ve got to get in and out quick, you don’t really want to have to steer a big body.
If you’re gonna nab one (don’t), you might want to make sure you get a higher-trim Yukon Denali. You’re going to need the 405 horses that come out of the 6.2 L Vortec V8. The cheaper trims are going to have you dragging as you avoid the law.
While less than 2,000 ne'er-do-wells got away with a Chevy SUV, 2,483 auto bandits made off with the mid-size sedan in 2016.
I have a theory: if you own a Malibu, there’s a fairly high chance you’re not sure what kind of car it is you drive.
COP: “What year model is it?”
MALIBU DRIVER: “A 2018.”
MD: “Make? Do I make stuff? No. I sell lampshades.”
COP: “No, what brand is the car?”
MD: “Oh. Chevrolet, I think.”
MD: “Oh, thanks! But no. Like I said, I sell lampshades…”
Only 2,808 full-size GMCs were stolen in 2016, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that, in my mind, the swindlers that target these pickups are the smartest of the bunch.
Think about it. If the truck isn’t currently at a job site, it just came from one. *Slaps hood* This bad boy has so many tools in the toolbox.
Not only do you get yourself a roided out Chevy; you also get a mean set of power tools you can hawk, or... I dunno... use to build yourself a nice deck.
Huh. Okay. Not really sure why 3,002 larcenists decided their best choice was a Nissan Sentra. I’d say if a Nissan Sentra had a name, it’d be “Norman” or “Augie” or “Buckley,” but there’s no way anyone who drives a Sentra names his car.
I know you’re thinking, “Hey, man, lay off. My cousin, Garth, has a Sentra, and it does what it needs to.” I see where you’re coming from, but let’s remember the matter at hand. We’re here to take those auto-stealing pilferers down a notch because if car thieves read anything, it’s listicles on websites like this.
The Honda CR-V is the first car on the list to really put up some numbers: 4,449 stolen in 2016. The CR-V is a pair of jeans—not a cool pair of jeans, but the ones that you know are dependable, so you wear them more often than you want to admit. And when summer comes along, they’re the first ones to get made into jorts, but you don’t bother to measure them, so you scissor them just a little too short, and now you’re like, “Aw, man. Okay, I guess I’ll wear these to my nephew’s christening…”
My wife used to have one and I called it “The Honda Curve” because I’m a real cut-up. Also, I’m probably the only person who visits this website who wears jorts.
For real, though, the CR-V is a practical, ubiquitous choice. Way to be, guys.
This is the first automobile on the list that falls under the “I’m Going to Steal This Because It’s a Racer” category. Also, aside from the Pontiac Grand Prix, the Integra is the only model on the list no longer in production.
The obvious answer is how easy it is to cannibalize an Integra and put its high-performance engine in a Honda Civic.
I’d like to think people who steal them love them because of the questionable tagline from one of the original ads: “Underneath all this beauty is a mind you can respect.”
Sometimes, you just need to move some bodies... people. I mean "people." But why? What sort of capers does a merry band of car pilferers get into with a minivan? (I don't apologize for making them sound like characters from Robin Hood; they steal cars, and there are only so many words to describe “car thieves…”).
Since the Caravan and its several counterparts have been around since the mid-'80s, there are a lot of rolling practicality palaces on the road. Lots of cars = lots of parts = lots of missing minivans.
Look, they’re stealing cars for profit, not because they have good taste or want to be liked by auto journos. Sorry, this is what I keep repeating to myself as I see the Jeep Cherokee on this list.
And I don’t mean to be petty. If I were a hundred-thousandaire, I’d drive a Trackhawk or a Trailhawk, but my mind is ruined by the memory of my dad’s ‘87 Cherokee. The door just fell off one day. Out of nowhere. Also, it smelled like mothballs. Maybe that was my dad’s problem and not the car’s. Whatever. What I’m getting at is, why did 9,245 crooks make the mistake of stealing one of these?
I’m not sure anyone at Chevrolet can tell you the difference between their sedans. That’s why these are stolen.
The older models are the only ones I’m impressed by. Tell you what: if you get your hands on a ‘94-‘96 SS, I’ll put some money on your books during the inevitable three-year sentence you’re going to serve. If you manage to snag anything in generations 1-4 (‘58 through ‘70), I’ll spring for your lawyer. If you get anything from the sixth generation (‘77 - ‘85), I’ll be the one that turns you in. My mom drove one of those until I was a sophomore in high school. In the 1990s. Someone has to pay for that embarrassment.
It’s telling that “Corolla” is also the word that describes the swirl of petals on a flower because Toyota’s subcompact model is apparently just as easy to pluck.
Clocking in at 11,989 thefts, the Toyota Corolla is also the first car on the list to break the five-digit count for times someone asked, “Dude, Where’s My Car?”
And much like “Dude, Where’s My Car?” star Ashton Kutcher, you’re going to see a Corolla more often than you really want. If you drive one, make sure your “Co-Rolla” locks their door, so your Corolla disappears like “Dude, Where’s My Car?” co-star Seann William Scott’s career.
Yeah, sure, rams (the animals) are tough and stout and dependable (I guess?), but they are basically goats on human growth hormone, so they're dense, both physically and mentally.
I’m not calling your truck stupid, but I'm saying that it’s big and easy to steal. Sorry, dude... I’m not making this up. In 2016, 12,128 of them were scooped up like so much chip dip (I was going to research a ram-specific food, but they’re goat cousins; they’ll eat anything. They’re basically hooved raccoons).
The middling Altima sedan is the most popular Nissan to burgle, apparently. Coming in at 12,221 thefts in 2016, the purloiners responsible for nabbing Nissan’s most “eh?” car would fill a minor league baseball stadium.
It’s not particularly fast, it’s not particularly fun to drive, and it’s not even particularly sought after, but there sure are a lot of them!
I’d say you could customize it, set yourself apart, so it would be easier to find when it gets weaseled out of your paws, but 100% of Altimas are driven by hairdressers named "Pam" who have a Hawaiian lei draped over the rearview mirror. (Sorry, Aunt Pam.)
Oh, one of the most common cars on the road today is stolen the most? The jump to 16,732 thefts is pretty substantial, but it’s clear that we're approaching a numbers game at this point.
A Camry is your petroleum serf; it takes you to the grocery store and to the store that has all the not-grocery stuff that you apparently need, so you go there just as often. You put your pave-stones from the hardware store, you even tried to steal that goat that one time, and like that awful show Friends, it’ll be there for you, until it’s not. Because you left your windows cracked (you had to air out the goat smell).
Chevy gets to wear the awkward badge of the first vehicle on the list to break 30,000 thefts in a single year (31,238, to be exact). Astronomical jump from the Camry’s 16,732.
I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but it’s pretty clear why your Hi Ho Silverado is going to get gotted. They’re everywhere.
Look outside right now; someone is peeping in yours as you read this, I bet. Okay, don’t hold me to that, but I’m just saying. Those are a lot of trucks getting hauled off.
So, you let the cigarette-smoking bullfrog that's Denis Leary talk you into buying a Ford truck. You shouldn’t let that worry you; you get a solid, dependable truck to accessorize the “No-Nonsense, Straight-Talkin’ Cowboy Lawyer” persona you’ve cultivated since moving to San Antonio from Connecticut.
You realize that you’re in Truck Country, but what you don’t realize is that your King Ranch Edition is about to get swiped so somebody can make some King Ranch Chicken.
49,547. That’s how many Civics were swiped in 2016. Hoo, buddy. If you’ve got a Civic, you’ve made some practical decisions. You may not want that car at that moment, but it’s definitely going to get you where you need to go. So, you’ve got to treat it like that song by the incredibly relevant and current band 38 Special and hold on loosely, but don’t let go.
If you don’t pay close attention to your reasonable-mobile, it might end up modded out, living its last days like a Bruce Springsteen song.
There’s a small city of Honda Accords scooting around, just being stolen as heck. 50,427 were swiped in 2016. We’ve been over this before, but it bears repeating at this scale; there are just so many of these cars around, and they need spare parts.
Here’s a story: I'm walking back to my car from a comedy club, and I see a guy trying to open my door. I go, “Hey man, that’s my car.” And he goes, “No it’s not.” So, I go into berzerker mode and grab the first thing I can off the ground in case it came to fisticuffs: a soda can. The guy sees that I'm clearly unhinged and quickly walks away. I regain my composure and go to unlock the car. I hear the door unlock, but it sounds far away. I pull the handle and it won’t open. I try the fob again. Same thing... faraway sound. I look over the top of the car and see another car just like it. My Honda Accord.
Sources: forbes.com; nicb.org; carsalesbase.com; autoclassics.com