The most likely to be stolen cars in America

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. 

Nissan Titan crew-cab
2017 Nissan Titan crew-cab Nissan
2019 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat with newly available Satin Black painted hood
2019 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat with newly available Satin Black painted hood FCA

“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.

Infiniti QX50 4-door
Infiniti QX50 4-door Infiniti
Infiniti QX80
Infiniti QX80 Infiniti

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

Infiniti QX50 

Infiniti QX80

GMC Sierra 1500 crew-cab

Dodge Challenger

Nissan Maxima

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

Dodge Charger

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

GMC Acadia

Subaru Forester with EyeSight

GMC Acadia AWD

Volkswagen New Beetle

BMW 3 Series AWD

Subaru Outback with EyeSight


Subaru Crosstrek

Chevrolet Traverse

Subaru Crosstrek with EyeSight

Lexus RX 450h AWD

Honda Odyssey

Mazda MX-5 Miata

Cadillac XT5

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