So this is what you really want to drive.
And why should we be surprised that the annual Autobytel Consumer Choice Awards are so different than the rest of the critics' awards and "unofficial official" polls? Those polls and critics awards are ultimately popularity contests - and Consumer Choice has something quite a bit more solid behind it.
Such as the vehicle purchase intentions of thousands of serious car buyers. The Autobytel Consumer Choice Awards provide a broad overview of online shopping behavior - shedding light on an exploding automotive marketing medium (the Internet) that now has more influence on new car-buying decisions than either TV or newspaper ads. This year's Consumer Choice Awards once again revealed some striking differences between Autobytel's online shoppers and traditional buyers - notably, a relative online tendency toward import cars and a strong responsiveness to pricing, performance, and feature specifications. Online shoppers respond to quality vehicles that are priced competitively, and are not swayed solely on the merits of a rebate check. Awards were presented to the manufacturers who built the cars and trucks that were the most popular among the 7.7 million average monthly unique visitors who researched and shopped on Autobytel's web sites during 2004, based on Purchase Request data amassed by Autobytel throughout the year. Because of this, the Awards are based on the strongest indicator of online shopping preferences, and provide unique insight into the cars and trucks online automotive shoppers prefer most.
This year, those preferences revealed a changing landscape where long-time favorites remain, but unmistakable shifts in buyer choices are now occurring. Though the Ford Explorer, a traditional bestseller, won for SUV of the year, one day online shoppers will select a crossover vehicle as number one. Over the past two years, in fact, truck-based SUVs have seen their online market share dwindle from a virtual domination to a sharing of power with crossover vehicles, those car-like SUVs that save in gas and boost performance.
That's not all - this year, online shoppers indicated that the recent resurgence of minivans is no trend: minivans, thanks to redesigns such as the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey, have staying power with online shoppers because, as our editors so presciently reported, minivans are flat out the best family cars available today.
It's not all about buying for the family, though. These same shoppers also gave a big thumbs up to power and attitude by choosing the Chrysler 300/300C as New Model of the Year.
So here they are. The best sellers of 2004 - and beyond. The cars that you chose, not some high-'falutin group of editors who don't actually buy the cars - they just drive 'em. And while a fella can tell a lot about a car as it rolls down the road, he learns so much more when he has to write a check for it at the end of the month.
Those people have never driven an Accord. With recent redesigns, the Accord has gotten sexier, more powerful and as a result it is darn near as perfect as a car can be in terms of meeting a core level of automotive challenges. It is simply the kind of car that keeps on going -- on the road and in its seemingly endless popularity. Few other vehicles have captured the combination of practicality, fun, value and affordability as successfully as the Accord -- which is why it remains the Top Overall New Consumer Choice Award winner. The Accord's mix of value and competitive pricing convince many online shoppers that it is the kind of vehicle they want - and need -- to purchase. The 2004 model year is a carryover from 2003, and is available as a coupe and a sedan, in a variety of trims. Among other changes, the 2005 Honda Accord features front side airbags and side curtain airbags for the first and second row in all sedan and coupe models.
Increase in Vehicle Requests
Most Requested New Truck
Most Requested New Passenger Car
Most Requested New SUV
Most Requested New Luxury Car
Most Requested New Sports Car
Most Requested New Minivan
Most Requested New Model for 2005
Yes, the Chrysler 300 is all of that. With or without the Hemi, the 300 is a car for the future that harkens back to the past for its core appeal. Under that retro-rapper cum Bentley design lies a powerplant that features Displacement on Demand, a decidedly "now" type of technology that lets drivers have their power and not get eaten at the pump. There's also an all-wheel drive trim available, though it seems that most people want the rear drive grunt. The capability to have both - streams of power and good enough gas mileage at 17/24 mpg -- drives Chrysler 300 popularity, as does the premium feel of the car and the nicely executed interior. Even the 2.7-liter, V6, 190-horsepower engine does well down the road, though most people are interested in getting that "C" badge, which denotes the 5.7 liter, 340 horsepower big boy driving those meaty rear wheels.