America’s Most Wanted — By Car Thieves
Over the last two decades, technological advances in theft prevention and detection have greatly reduced the number of newer vehicles stolen in the U.S. However, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau — which tracks annual theft data — vehicle theft in America rose a full eight percent last year, and the latest 2021 models were not immune from being stolen by car thieves. The NICB says anti-theft technology works, but owner complacency often plays a role in defeating that technology. Thousands of late-model vehicles get stolen each year because drivers don’t take the simple precautions of locking their cars and taking the keys and fobs with them, which makes vulnerable vehicles easy targets for thieves. What follows are the most stolen new cars — a countdown of the new vehicles most popular with car thieves in 2021, as reported by the NICB.
25. Toyota Tacoma
Number Stolen: 306
Toyota’s popular midsize pickup had its last full redesign for the 2016 model year, showcasing a more aggressive look, a new V6 engine, a smoother ride and stellar off-road capability. The Tacoma is Available in several configurations, the Tacoma has two cab styles, two bed lengths, five trim levels and a choice of 2WD or 4WD — plenty for thieves to choose from. Last year the Tacoma received a new grille and wheel designs for most trim levels, as well as an upgraded audio system with a larger touchscreen and Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility.
24. Dodge Durango
Number Stolen: 331
The Durango does not sell in high numbers, and because of that scarcity it seems to be popular among car thieves. Dodge’s midsize SUV offers three rows of seating for up to seven people, offering high levels of utility and comfort. Durango is available with a range of engines including the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 that gives the Durango class-leading towing capability of 8,700 pounds. Dodge refreshed the Durango for the 2021 model year, giving the stylish SUV a new fascia, slimmer LED headlights, a sculpted hood, a rear spoiler and new wheel options. Dodge also offers the limited-edition Durango Hellcat with a supercharged V8 engine that put out 710 horsepower.
23. Jeep Wrangler
Number Stolen: 345
When Jeep introduced a new Wrangler a few years back, the brand stayed true to the original model, retaining the 7-slot grille and round headlights, although the grille is taller and wider, and the big headlights have a stylish LED halo around the outer bezel. This iconic off-roader is available with two or four doors, a range of trim levels, and multiple roof configurations. Jeep offers several powertrains for the Wrangler, ranging from a plug-in hybrid in the 4xe to a big V8 in the Wrangler Rubicon 392.
22. Nissan Sentra
Number Stolen: 354
Part of the Nissan lineup for more than 35 years, Sentra received a major update a few years ago with updated styling, additional safety features and improved performance. Even the entry-level Sentra S comes well equipped with air-conditioning; Bluetooth connectivity; a 7-inch color touchscreen display; an AM/FM audio system with four speakers; a USB port; pushbutton start; a rearview monitor; a 60/40 split-folding rear seat; and 16-inch steel wheels with covers. Also standard is Nissan Safety Shield 360, which includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection; forward collision warning; blind-spot warning; rear-door alert; rear cross-traffic alert; high-beam headlight assist; rear automatic braking; and lane departure warning.
21. Honda Civic
Number Stolen: 362
Honda introduced the 11th generation of its popular Civic last year. The updated model gets built on a new stronger platform with fresh exterior styling. Available as a sedan or hatchback, the Civic features a longer hood for a more premium look, further enhanced by LED lights front and back. The interior has a high-tech vibe thanks to an available LCD driver’s display, as well as a 9-inch HD touchscreen display with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. All levels of the new Civic come with the Honda Sensing suite of advanced driver-assist systems including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, road departure mitigation, lane departure warning, and lane-keeping assist.
20. Kia K5
Number Stolen: 393
Many car companies in America have done away with the traditional family sedan, going all-in on the increasingly popular crossover. However, this list would indicate that sedans are still popular — at least among those who steal them. Not only is Kia sticking by the sedan, the automaker has doubled down with the all-new K5. Replacing the Optima at the heart of the Korean automaker’s sedan lineup, the Kia K5 is built on an all-new platform with fresh styling, updated features and a range of powerful, efficient engines. The new K5 is longer, lower and wider than the outgoing Optima, which not only gives it a more aggressive stance but also creates more interior space. The K5 comes well equipped even in the base-level trim with features including a standard 8-inch display screen, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and the type of materials that provide a premium vibe.
19. Dodge Challenger
Number Stolen: 405
Dodge made a huge splash when it introduced the modern-day Challenger back in 2008, and while the car has been refreshed over the years, it continues in its role as a proper muscle car. With retro styling and a range of high-performance engines, the Challenger has held up well. Unfortunately the Challenger’s days are numbered — 2023 will be the last year for this muscle car. To celebrate the end of this era of high-powered V8 engines, Dodge offers seven special editions to say goodbye to the iconic model. We expect these will be highly desirable and will likely keep Challenger popular among thieves.
18. Honda CR-V
Number Stolen: 425
It may not be the most stolen model in the Honda lineup, but the CR-V remains the brand’s best-selling model. This popularity will likely continue with the introduction of an updated 2023 CR-V. Sporting a more rugged look, the new CR-V is available in four trims: EX, EX-L, Sport, and Sport Touring. The EX and EX-L are powered by a turbocharged 1.5-liter engine producing 190 horsepower and 179 lb-ft of torque. Real-time AWD is standard on the Sport Touring and optional for all other trims. The CR-V Sport and Sport Touring draw power from a new fourth-generation two-motor hybrid-electric system that combines a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with two electric motors for a total system output of 204 horsepower.
17. Chevrolet Express
Number Stolen: 441
The Chevrolet Express is one of the oldest designs in the cargo van market, but it also offers some of the most impressive capabilities. Available in regular and extended lengths, these big cargo vans are only built as heavy-duty 2500 and 3500 variations. Unlike many of the newer designs, the GM vans have either a sliding or split swing-out door on the curb side only. The big van is also available with a 3-person bench seat in the Crew Cargo Van. Typically used for commercial use, many of these vans are often stolen for their contents rather than the van.
16. Nissan Versa
Number Stolen: 455
The Nissan Versa used to be the least expensive car in America; that changed in 2020 with the introduction of an all-new Versa. Still affordable thanks to a starting price around $15,000, the Versa features premium styling that matches the rest of the Nissan lineup, as well as a healthy list of standard equipment. Nissan’s entry-level model has multiple USB ports, a 7-inch color touchscreen display, Zero Gravity front seats and a rearview monitor. Versas also come with Nissan Safety Shield 360, which includes automatic emergency braking, high-beam headlight assist, rear automatic braking and lane departure warning.
15. Ford Transit
Number Stolen: 487
The Ford Transit is by far the best-selling commercial van in America, outselling the competition by a wide margin. Available in a variety of configurations, Transit has two different wheelbases, three roof heights as well as 150, 250, and 350 variants. Ford has also introduced a Crew Van option, adding a row of seats at the front of the cargo area. Cargo space is immense — the largest Transit features a space 172.2 inches long, 70.2 inches wide (53.7 inches between the wheels), and 81.5 inches high at a maximum of 536.4 cubic feet of space.
14. Honda Accord
Number Stolen: 509
Although still one of the best-selling cars in America, the Honda Accord has never approached the sales levels it had before its last major redesign in 2018. Still, the Accord remains popular with car thieves. Available in a range of trim levels, the model received a refresh last year with updated styling and additional safety features. Inside, an 8-inch display screen is now standard on all trim levels, as are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The fuel-efficient Accord Hybrid got powertrain updates to improve throttle response while still delivering close to 50 mpg.
13. Kia Sportage
Number Stolen: 528
The best-selling model in Kia’s U.S. lineup, the Sportage gets updated for the 2023 model year, featuring a bold new design and — for the first time — offering hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions. Built on the same platform as the Sorento, the new Sportage is 7.1 inches longer and rides on a 3.4-inch longer wheelbase. The Sportage Hybrid is powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged gasoline direct injection engine producing 177 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque, combined with a 44 kW electric motor and a 13 kW starter generator for a total combined output of 227 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.
12. Ford F-Series
Number Stolen: 539
With annual sales that far outpace the competition, the Ford F-Series extended its streak in 2021 as the best-selling vehicle in America for 40 years — 45 years as the best-selling truck. Refreshed in 2021, the F-150 is offered with several gas-engine options as well as a powerful hybrid and fully electric F-150 Lightning. In addition to impressive performance, the electrified F-150s feature onboard generators that can even power a house. For maximum towing or cargo-carrying ability, there’s the Ford F-Series Super Duty that can tow as much as 40,000 pounds.
11. Chevrolet Malibu
Number Stolen: 550
A familiar name in the Chevrolet lineup off and on for more than 50 years, the Malibu received fresh styling and upgraded features for the 2019 model year. Malibu sales are not as high as they once were since passenger car buyers now tend to opt for crossovers, but Malibu is still high on the list for car thieves. For those seeking a bit more flash, Chevrolet offers a Malibu RS with a black sport grille, black bowtie emblems, a rear spoiler, dual exhaust and 18-inch machined wheels. Malibu is available with a choice of two fuel-efficient turbocharged engines, including a 2.0-liter unit that produces 250 horsepower.
10. GMC Savana
Number Stolen: 565
Although many brands have moved to more modern takes on the full-size van, the GMC Savana remains one of the oldest designs on the market. Generally speaking, sales of full-size vans are not exceedingly high; however, the Savana did have an impressive year in 2019. Available in regular or extended lengths, this big van is built solely in heavy-duty 2500 and 3500 variations. Unlike many newer designs, the GMC Savana has either a sliding or split swing-out door on the curb side only. An additional 3-person bench seat in the Crew Cargo Van is unique in the van segment.
9. Nissan Altima
Number Stolen: 589
One of the best-selling sedans in America, the Nissan Altima has been experiencing sales increases in an overall market that is doing quite the opposite. Sporting Nissan’s trademark V-motion grille, the Altima is available with a choice of two engines, including the unique VC Turbo that uses variable compression — a lower compression ratio provides more power, while a higher ratio gets better fuel economy. Available with front- or all-wheel drive, the Altima comes with a range of advanced safety features including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, high-beam headlight assist, lane departure warning, rear door alert, and a rearview monitor.
8. Toyota RAV4
Number Stolen: 621
Toyota’s RAV4 still retains its spot as the best-selling SUV in the U.S., which helps explain the number of models stolen. One of the original compact crossovers on American roads, the RAV4 was completely redone in 2019 with bold new styling, improved capability, increased performance, and an array of new safety and convenience features. In addition to the updated styling and efficient powertrains, the RAV4 features automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and lane departure alert as standard equipment. For 2021 Toyota added the RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid to the lineup, offering better fuel efficiency as well as seemingly contradictory higher performance.
7. Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
Number Stolen: 627
Jeep introduced an all-new Grand Cherokee last year, as well as its first-ever version with three rows of seats — the Grand Cherokee L. The result was record sales in 2021 – and a place on the most stolen new cars list. The NICB groups the smaller Cherokee with the Grand Cherokee in total numbers, but based on raw sales numbers it’s safe to say that the Grand Cherokee makes up the bulk of those tallied. Jeep offers the capable Grand Cherokee with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 or a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 powerplant, as well as the Grand Cherokee 4xe plug-in hybrid that combines two electric motors with a 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine.
6. Kia Forte
Number Stolen: 643
Kia’s small sedan received a raft of updates last year, helping solidify this small car’s position as one of the brand’s best-selling models. The updated Forte features a new “tiger-nose” grille, a sleeker headlight design, revised front and rear bumpers, and a new trunklid spoiler. The interior has a standard 8-inch touchscreen display as well as wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The Forte also comes with the latest advances in driver-assistance systems, including forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist and high-beam headlight assist.
5. Toyota Camry
Number Stolen: 847
The Toyota Camry experienced slow sales toward the end of 2021 but still managed to maintain an overall increase to retain its position as the best-selling car in America for the 20th year. Thus far the Camry is holding onto that position, even with an overall sales decline compared with a year ago. Toyota introduced the eighth-generation Camry a few years back, and for 2021 this best-selling car received updated exterior styling, interior improvements, and the latest version of the company’s Safety Sense 2.0 suite of safety features. For those seeking even more performance, Toyota offers the Camry TRD with performance suspension and brakes, more aggressive styling, and a cat-back exhaust system.
4. Toyota Corolla
Number Stolen: 900
Toyota rolled out an all-new Corolla last year, which helped the small car to a sales increase as well as advancement up this list of most stolen new cars. The Corolla features updated styling with a wider stance as well as signature LED headlights and a range of new features. Three powertrains are available, including an efficient hybrid system for the first time that has a U.S. EPA fuel-economy rating of more than 50 mpg. Toyota equips all levels of the new Corolla with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0. This suite of advanced safety features includes automatic emergency braking, lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic high-beam headlights and road sign recognition.
3. Dodge Charger
Number Stolen: 902
The Charger returned to the Dodge lineup in 2006 as a 4-door sedan, carrying some styling cues of the original muscle car and offering a powerful V8 engine. Today’s Charger remains a large 4-door sedan with sporty styling and a comfortable, spacious interior. In keeping with tradition, Charger has powerful engine choices including the R/T Scat Pack with a 485-horsepower 6.4-liter HEMI V8, or the latest entry: the SRT Hellcat Redeye packing a supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8 producing a mind-blowing 797 horsepower. But, like the Challenger, the gas-powered Charger has reached the end of its run — 2023 will be the last model year. However, the name will likely live on; Dodge has already shown the 2-door Charger Daytona SRT Concept — an all-electric muscle car.
2. Ram Pickup
Number Stolen: 958
The Ram 1500 is the most important vehicle in the entire portfolio of parent company Stellantis, and is one of the most popular among car thieves. This full-size truck features bold exterior styling, and the interior is one of the nicest on the market. Multiple trim levels are available, as well as a new lineup of powertrains that includes a potent diesel and eventually a hybrid system. For 2022 a new Ram 1500 10th Anniversary Edition joins the lineup with a range of high-end features including a multifunction tailgate, cold-air intake, quilted leather seats, a 19-speaker premium audio system and 22-inch polished wheels.
1. Chevrolet Silverado
Number Stolen: 1,677
The longtime best-seller of the Chevrolet lineup, the full-size Silverado pickup truck is the second-best-selling model in America and by far the most popular vehicle among car thieves in 2021. Last year Chevrolet introduced an updated Silverado with fresh exterior styling as well as a revised interior with enhanced technology. Higher-level trims get a new 13.4-inch display screen and available Super Cruise driver-assistance technology. Also new is the Silverado ZR2, which takes its place as the flagship of the Silverado lineup with impressive off-road capability direct from the factory.
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