Cars.com Buzz Index: March 2012

Hyundaigenesiscoupe

Welcome to the Buzz Index, where we rank the hottest cars that consumers search on Cars.com. These cars have seen the biggest increase in searches and dealer contacts since last month.

Top cars in March were an eclectic bunch. Summerlike temperatures across much of the country had consumers thinking sports cars, but rising gas prices — the national average price for regular gas eclipsed $3.90 a gallon last week — brought several high-mpg redesigns alongside. Consider some numbers: Three cars in the top five have 300 horsepower or more — one has nearly double that — and five of the top 10 have an EPA city or highway rating of at least 40 mpg.

Unsurprisingly, eight of the 10 also have been redesigned or received significant updates in the past year.

Buzz index

Interest flew high for the Hyundai Genesis coupe as the restyled 2013 model, which boasts more power and an eight-speed automatic transmission, trickles into dealerships. High-mileage proved nearly as popular as high horsepower, however, as shoppers responded to the redesigned Toyota Camry Hybrid, which gets up to an EPA-estimated 43 mpg city. The Mazda3, Ford Focus and Hyundai Accent rode the same wave: All have variants that get an EPA-estimated 40 mpg highway.

The Volkswagen Passat's impressive redesign, which Cars.com named its Best of 2012, is drawing interest, and the EPA rates its diesel four-cylinder at up to 43 mpg highway. Diesel engines' outstanding gas mileage is spurring interest: J.D. Power and Associates expects diesels to more than double in popularity by 2017.

Eight of the models have already seen sales success, up at least 27% in February over the previous year. All eight should see month-over-month increases in March's sales, but year-over-year increases could be slimmer, given five nameplates — the Mazda3, Nissan GT-R, BMW 3 Series, Focus and Mercedes-Benz M-Class — had strong sales in March 2011.

One anomaly is the aging Audi Q7, which dropped 50% in February sales but shows strong interest this month. Alongside the Mercedes M-Class and BMW 3 Series, it could portend higher interest in luxury cars. Indeed, Oregon-based CNW Marketing Research surveys consumer spending and its monthly data indicate luxury purchases — like navigation systems and other high-end automotive options — turned a sharp corner in the first months of 2012, following 20-year lows during the recession from 2008 to 2011.

Top 10 Overall
The top cars by shopper interest don't change as much from month to month. Apart from a few perennial high-interest cars – like Detroit's muscle cars – they generally follow the market's top sellers.

Here's March's top 10:

Buzz index top 10

About the Buzz Index
Cars.com's Buzz Index analyzes data from thousands of Cars.com shoppers, looking at which cars have the highest increase in search and dealer-contact activity, with a floor to eliminate bit players. Index values analyze which cars garner the highest month-over-month increase in shopper activity — the movers and shakers — not which cars have the highest total activity, which stays comparatively similar. For each car, the index regards the most recent model-year. The Buzz Index began in early 2012.

Comments 

jim

...and I've been checking in multiple times for the new RDX and Pathfinder full specs...
But I got an email today from Acura with the RDX info...

Jim,
Specs aren't available until the manufacturers release them. So no Pathfinder for sure. Where on the site were you unable to find RDX specs?

WTF

"Diesel engines' outstanding gas mileage"

The only "gas" mileage is maybe that of the tow truck taking your car to get fixed because you put "gas" in the tank.

jim

Dave, I go into "Research a Car", select 2013 RDX, across top is a tab for "Features + Specs".
Click over and new tabs for "standard equiptment" and "specs" are not highlightable. It defaults to the third tab, warranty, [which is highlighted], and it says "Cars.com will display warranty information for the 2013 Acura RDX as soon as it becomes available. Please check with your dealer for information." [Not that I was looking for warranty info.]
And, I figured they werent available, hence my reason for clicking back to see if they were out, yet. The teaser photos created the "buzz" for my searches.

Lance

@jim
You mentioned you had some specs from Acura. Do you know if premium gas is recommended or required? It's the same engine as in the Odyssey and I don't believe that needs premium but it could be tuned differently for the RDX.

I've read numerous road tests and reviews and checked Acura's site and it is never mentioned.

Lance

Tks Jim. Very informative.

Rody dan from Mexico

lexz SHUT UP!!!!!!!

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