Top 10 Most Researched New Cars of 2012 on AutoGuide.com

Luke Vandezande
by Luke Vandezande

Scores of new cars reached the market in 2012 to run the gamut from boring and affordable to capable of causing cardiac arrest. So what did you, the AutoGuide.com readers research the most? Read on to find out.

Buick first introduced the current-generation Regal in 2009, but the original car debuted in 1973 looking nothing like the current-gen sedan. At the time it was a notchback coupe, but Buick’s executive car went through a series of growing pains to ultimately become the vehicle sold today.

the 2013 model only got a handful of mild changes, but customers can choose to opt up from the base 2.4-liter model to the Regal GS which boasts 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque from its 2.0-liter turbocharged engine.

Volkswagen has new competition in the hot hatch market this year thanks to the Ford Focus ST, but tat doesn’t seem to have done much to its cult following.

Now in its sixth generation, Volkswagen brought a near-production concept of the seventh-generation version to the 2012 Paris Motor Show in September. The transition will make the car lighter and more fuel efficient by migrating to VW’s MQB modular architecture.

SEE MORE: Volkswagen Golf GTI Concept Video

Unfortunately, North American customers will be left to languish with the sixth-generation model a little while longer while Europe enjoys the new car, but that doesn’t seem to have dampened spirits too much given how frequently people researched the car through the year.

It’s not surprising that the Camaro made our list for 2012. One of the best selling sports coupes out there, it handily bested the Mustang in sales. And for a performance machine like this, you can bet that for every person who bought one, 10 people thought about it.

Changes to the 2013 Camaro are minimal but important. It keeps the same engine options between the 3.6-liter V6 and 6.2-liter V8. Mileage, horsepower, styling, almost everything will look identical. Still, Chevrolet will switch out the chunky rear-view mirror for a frameless unit this year. The brand will also do away with its antiquated multimedia center stack in favor of a touch screen.

SEE MORE: Racing the Camaro ZL1 Press Car

More importantly, buyers will also be offered the 1LE package which brings much of the red-hot ZL1’s parts to the SS model to make it a more track-capable car similar to Ford’s Boss 302 Mustang.

Chevrolet Silverado Work Truck

A truck is a truck is a truck, right? Wrong. Now, more than ever, the truck wars are heating up between Chevrolet Ford and the newly separate RAM brand. Ford is making a big splash with its EcoBoost V6 F-150, but the Silverado was still the most popularly searched truck in AutoGuide.com’s new cars buying section.

Due for a redesign in 2014, the 2012 model offers three available engines: a 4.3-liter V6, 4.8-liter V8 and a 5.3-liter V8. With plenty of proven time on the market, some truck buyers might feel more comfortable with the Chevrolet’s less complicated, naturally-aspirated workhorse engine range.

Intended to be a re-imagined product for the family crossover market, Infiniti bet big on its JX crossover and the move paid off in spades. As soon as it became available, the JX started meeting and exceeding sales goals.

Available as either a front- or all-wheel drive vehicle, the JX starts at $41,150, but more customers are likely to pay the $1,400 premium for all-wheel drive. Perhaps one of the most alluring aspects to upgrading power for all four wheels: estimated fuel economy ratings stay the same at 17/23 mpg city/highway.

Completely redesigned for the 2013 model year, Ford ditched the boxy look many of its customers seemed to like. Why the Jekyll-and-Hyde shift? The automaker hopes to make its volume-selling crossover a gambit on the global market rather than a North American isolation case.

Unfortunately, the 2013 Escape has already suffered recalls including the risk of an engine fire. The brand also discontinued the vehicle’s well-liked hybrid option. Despite all that, it still ranked as the sixth-most researched car on AutoGuide.com’s new cars section.

Ever a strong seller, the 2013 Toyota Corolla remained a popular choice among new car buyers in 2012. Looking ahead to the 2013 model year, prospective buyers were curious about the car even though it will only enjoy mild changes for the new model year.

Those changes include a slightly revised chrome-accented grille and a new premium option package for LE and S trim levels. WHile hte entry- level L trim is left out, the LE- and S-trimmed cars get a standard 6.1-inch touch screen.

Unlike several other cars on this list, the 2013 Nissan Altima is an all-new car. Buyers can still choose between a 2.5-liter four cylinder or a 3.5-liter V6. Those engines offer 182 hp and 270 hp respectively, and can offer up to 38 mpg with the four-cylinder and 31 with the powerful V6.

The car also has a completely redesigned body that lends it a more aggressive, modern look. The car also gets NASA “zero gravity” inspired seating, which is supposed to improve blood flow during long drives for a more comfortable experience.

It shouldn’t be any surprise that the 2012 Hyundai Elantra was one of the most popularly-searched cars of the year. Starting in 2011, the Korean brand’s compact car took dead aim at the Honda Civic — something that at least in part prompted Honda to redesign its all-new 2012 Civic after only one year of production.

The Elantra represents value by offering generous standard equipment and youthful styling that found a warm reception in 2011 which has yet to cool off. That’s especially impressive considering how heinous-looking the 2010 Elantra really was.

Speaking of transformation stories, the 2013 Ford Fusion shamelessly steals the show by pilfering style points from the Aston Martin playbook.

Regardless of how you personally feel about Ford’s decision to borrow liberally from the British luxury automaker, calling the 2013 Fusion ugly is probably harder than selling Richard Nixon on communism.

SEE MORE: 2013 Ford Fusion Video Review

The car’s handsome looks helped it ring in as the most researched car of the year in AutoGuide.com’s new cars section, and it recently claimed the Green Car of the Year Award during the L.A. Auto Show. That’s thanks in no small part to the automaker’s choice to offer a plug-in hybrid drivetrain expected to offer 100 mpg.

Luke Vandezande
Luke Vandezande

Luke is an energetic automotive journalist who spends his time covering industry news and crawling the internet for the latest breaking story. When he isn't in the office, Luke can be found obsessively browsing used car listings, drinking scotch at his favorite bar and dreaming of what to drive next, though the list grows a lot faster than his bank account. He's always on <A title="@lukevandezande on Twitter" href="http://twitter.com/lukevandezande">Twitter</A> looking for a good car conversation. Find Luke on <A title="@lukevandezande on Twitter" href="http://twitter.com/lukevandezande">Twitter</A> and <A title="Luke on Google+" href="http://plus.google.com/112531385961538774338?rel=author">Google+</A>.

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