Autotrader: These are the most popular cars this summer

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With over 3 million cars, trucks and SUVs listed for sale, Autotrader has a firm grasp on the popular cars this summer. Every summer, we publish our list of the most-searched-for cars, trucks and SUVs on Autotrader – it’s a list of 10 vehicles that users are searching for most often. Is there safety in numbers? Yes. Well, usually. If you like to shop for the most popular cars, then this is the list. It could also be that these are the best cars regardless, because people keep returning to them year after year.

In the past, we’ve used the same data but added rules to reduce redundancy – rules like “No more than one of any brand” or “having a mix of body styles.” Not this year. This time we just took the top 10 most-searched-for cars on Autotrader, only consolidating two models since they are variations of the same model. The Ford F-Series pickup includes the F-150 and F-250, and the Silverado includes both 1500 and 2500 series trucks. We also combined search data from new, used and certified preowned vehicles.

Want to know what the hottest cars are for the summer of 2020? Here’s the list:

1. Ford F-150/250

The Ford F150


New or used, the Ford F, +2.04% F-Series pickup is popular. It’s been the bestselling new vehicle for decades and continues to impress buyers with a variety of engine choices, off-road-ready models, budget-friendly basic models, and high-end, tech-heavy luxury versions. We’re not saying the F-150 is perfect, but it’s such a consistent bestseller we can’t see how so many people can be wrong. We’re also looking forward to an all-new F-150 for 2021.  

2. Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler.


If you’re looking for a quintessential American vehicle, it’s got to be the Jeep Wrangler. But the Wrangler’s popularity isn’t surprising – Americans love to get out and have fun, away from the confines of city life and the Wrangler is the just the thing to get them there. Most people will find the Wrangler Unlimited handles both off-road and family duty best but the two-door Wrangler is still a lot of fun. 

Also see: These are the best cars for families in 2020

3. Chevrolet Silverado 1500/2500

The Chevrolet Silverado


Americans love pickups. Also, Chevrolet pickups. Redesigned in 2019, the Silverado is nearly as popular with shoppers as Ford’s full-size pickup. The Silverado has typically had a nicer interior and a less utilitarian look outside. The Silverado is also offered in a variety of trim levels. Work Truck, Custom, LT, RST, Custom Trail Boss, LTZ, LT Trail Boss, and High Country are the current levels – then add bed length, two or four-wheel drive plus regular, double or crew cab and there are plenty of Silverados to pick from. 

4. Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang


Like the Jeep Wrangler, the Ford Mustang is just one of those purely American cars. It has a history, it’s fun, it’s affordable and it’s popular. You can find a high-mileage Mustang for a little as $2,000 or you can spend $100,000 on a high-performance Shelby GT500. The best compromise is probably a V8 powered GT 2015 or newer with average mileage for its age.

Also read: The pros and cons of buying a certified used car

5. Chevrolet Corvette

The Chevrolet Corvette.


The C7 Chevrolet Corvette has turned out to be the swan song of the front-engine Corvette. The arrival of the C8 Corvette could mean some great deals on the previous model. Or, it could mean a lot of C7 owners believe they have some kind of rare instant classic and “won’t be tricked” into selling it for a reasonable price. Time will tell with this one. Either way, the C7 is an outstanding send-off to the ‘Vette’s front-engine layout. 

6. Ram 1500

The Ram 1500


With each passing model year, the Ram 1500 is becoming increasingly well-known for its plush interior, smooth ride and excellent towing capacity. The current Ram 1500 is the best one yet but even going back a few years will get you a nice truck. 

7. Toyota Tacoma

Toyota Tacoma


For years, the Toyota Tacoma has been built in Texas. Maybe that’s why the Toyota TM, -0.31% Tacoma feels as American as the Chevy Silverado or Ford Mustang. In every city, Tacomas are plentiful. The truck can do it all – daily driver, off-road, haul junk, last forever. The new 2020 Toyota Tacoma is a perfectly fine truck. However, be aware of used Tacoma prices because these things hold their value quite well. You might go looking for a lightly used Toyota pickup and end up with a new one for only a little extra money. 

Also see: 8 affordable new cars priced well below $20k

8. GMC Sierra

The GMC Sierra.


In the past, we lumped the Sierra in with the Silverado. However, the GMC Sierra has matured to the point where it’s tangibly different from the full-size Chevy. Many Sierras have unique features, trim and equipment. Fewer people are looking for a Sierra as compared with an F-150 or Silverado but not by much. One thing we like about the Sierra: It has fewer variations. That makes shopping a little easier. We like the SLE for a capable and affordable full-size truck. 

Also see: The 10 best new car models of 2020

9. Jeep Grand Cherokee

Jeep Grand Cherokee


Our theory is that all the interest in the Jeep Grand Cherokee is fueled by Wrangler research. We imagine these shoppers asking, “How can I have the authenticity of the Wrangler but with more interior space and comfort?” Jeep Grand Cherokee is the answer. 

Check out: A first look at Toyota’s new RAV4 plug-in hybrid

10. Toyota 4Runner

In a way, the 4Runner is kind of a throw-back to a simpler era. It is an SUV and those are wildly popular, but the 4Runner has been, essentially, the same for many years. Its tough construction is better for deep mud and rugged trails than it is for highway road trips. Like the Tacoma, don’t expect a lot of huge discounts on lightly used 4Runners. They hold their value quite well.

Also see: These 3 EVs are the lowest cost to own over 5 years

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