A recent study on car theft has just assured me the likelihood of someone stealing my Honda Fit is refreshingly low. The same study provides one of the few convincing reasons to outfit yourself with this compact Honda instead of a Hemi—or an Infiniti Q50.
The Fit’s unfitness for hotwiring isn’t only due to its available manual transmission; not a single subcompact is on the HLDI’s list of the 20 vehicles most likely to be stolen.
Instead that list dominated by luxury vehicles, pickup trucks, and cars and trucks that have engines powerful enough to provoke envy and spontaneous searches for wire hangers. Almost half of the 20 vehicles leading the likely-to-be-stolen list are also equipped with all-wheel drive. (For getaway scrambles across highway medians, perhaps?)
However, the shining stars of the theft frequency list are the Dodge Charger Hemi and Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. Interestingly, no other muscle cars compete with these Hemi-powered Mopars for their status atop this list, and are accompanied instead by an unlikely third-wheeler: the Infiniti Q50. This triad has the dubious distinction of being stolen at more than five times the average theft rate for 2016–2018 model year vehicles.
“The models most likely to be stolen tend to be powerful, pricey, or pickups; but vehicle theft is also a crime of opportunity,” Matt Moore, the institute’s senior vice president, said in a statement. “Better security features on all vehicles would be the best way to address the problem.”
In general, car theft is on the rise. Though modern cars are more theft-resistant than older vehicles, many of them also come with the convenience of push-button starting. Lazy drivers often drop their high-tech, security-defeating key fobs in the console or cupholder when they run in Wal-Mart, making theft absurdly simple.
HLDI’s figures are based on the probability of the vehicles being stolen. The study compares thefts with sales rather than tabulating the gross number of thefts; that’s why some vehicles with relatively low sales appear on the most-likely-to-be-stolen list.
It may surprise enthusiasts who place the BMW 3 Series high atop a pedestal, but car thieves are apparently not into mass-market Bimmers. The 2016–2018 3-series tops a different list as the vehicle least likely to be stolen, and is followed by two Teslas: the Model S and Model X. The HLDI speculates that Teslas sport such a the low theft rate because they are typically parked either in garages or close enough to a house to reach an AC outlet or charger. A HLDI report from last year also showed that electric vehicles had relatively lower theft rates than conventionally powered cars and trucks.
One prominent dropout from the most-stolen list is the Cadillac Escalade, which used to lead the HLDI’s rankings for total vehicle theft. The Institute attributes that to both more competition in the luxury SUV segment (the Infiniti QX80 and Land Rover Range Rover are now on the list of 20 most stolen vehicles) and the fact that Cadillac started adding more robust anti-theft features in 2015.
None of us would put ourselves above enjoying some subtle envy when rumbling around in a Hemi, but with great power comes… great responsibility. There’s a reason Andrew Garfield’s Spiderman jumps a guy hijacking his way into a 7 Series.
Most frequently stolen vehicles of the 2016-18 model years:
Dodge Charger HEMI
Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
GMC Sierra 1500 crew-cab
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew-cab
Chrysler 300 four-wheel-drive
Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan AWD
Dodge Charger AWD
Dodge Durango AWD
Land Rover Range Rover
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew-cab 4WD
Nissan Titan crew-cab short bed
Chevrolet Silverado 1500
GMC Sierra 1500 crew-cab 4WD
Audi A7 AWD
Infiniti QX80 AWD
Least frequently stolen vehicles of the 2016-18 model years:
BMW 3-series four-door
Tesla Model S AWD
Tesla Model X AWD
Chevrolet Equinox AWD
Buick Encore AWD
Subaru Legacy with EyeSight
Subaru Forester with EyeSight
GMC Acadia AWD
Volkswagen New Beetle
BMW 3 Series AWD
Subaru Outback with EyeSight
Subaru Crosstrek with EyeSight
Lexus RX 450h AWD
Mazda MX-5 Miata