The most popular car models in the Northeast


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Most popular cars in the Northeast

Car buyers in Northeastern states have a wide variety of weather conditions to consider. The region, which encompasses nine states, experiences a number of extremes, from snowstorms to heat waves and tornadoes. Each of these can present significant and unique demands for your vehicle.

If you live in the area (which includes Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Jersey), you’ll need to look for specific features that can help you stay safe on the road.

Snow storm


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Data pool represents those who shopped for cars in Q1 2021. Data was then sorted and filtered to determine the most popular model per state. For this analysis, northeast states were defined to include Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Jersey.

Ford F-150

Bob Golfen photos

1. Connecticut

  • Most popular car brand: 9% of all car shoppers were interested in Ford models
  • 30% of shoppers were interested in the F-150 while 10% turned their attention towards the Escape

2018 Chevrolet Silverado HD


2. Maine

  • Most popular car brand: 14% of all car shoppers were interested in Chevrolet models
  • 33% of shoppers were looking specifically for the Silverado 1500 compared to 12% seeking an Equinox

2021 Toyota Rav4 Prime


3. Massachusetts

  • Most popular car brand: 12% of all car shoppers were interested in Toyota models
  • 20% of shoppers sought out the RAV4 and another 12% were interested in getting behind the wheel of a Camry

F-150 Raptor

Hennessey Performance

4. New Hampshire

  • Most popular car brand: 12% of all car shoppers were interested in Ford models
  • Pick-up trucks ranked popular in this state with 30% of shoppers looking for F-150 and 10% seeking a Super Duty F-250.

Ford F-150

Ford Motor Company

5. New Jersey

  • Most popular car brand: 9% of all car shoppers were interested in Ford models
  • The F-150 is the most likely to be spotted on the road, with 26% of shoppers interested in owning one while 7% of drivers wanted a Mustang.

Chevy Silverado


6. New York

  • Most popular car brand: 11% of all car shoppers were interested in Chevrolet models
  • The Silverado 1500 led the charge with 21% of shoppers interested in purchasing one while 10% of shoppers were in the market for a Tahoe.

Ford Explorer


7. Pennsylvania

  • Most popular car brand: 12% of all car shoppers were interested in Ford models
  • Pennsylvanians were interested in larger vehicles, with the F-150 and Explorer accounting for 35% of all Ford shoppers.

Toyota Rav 4

Kevauto / Wikimedia Commons

8. Rhode Island

  • Most popular car brand: 11% of all car shoppers were interested in Toyota models
  • The RAV-4 took top place, as the most shopped for Toyota at 20% while the Corolla represented 13% of all those interested in purchasing.

Toyota Highlander

Alexey Bykov/ istockphoto

9. Vermont

  • Most popular car brand: 13% of all car shoppers were interested in Toyota models
  • The Highlander and 4Runner tied for most shopped for Toyota, representing 14% of total cars shopped for respectively.

Family in a car


What to consider when buying a car in the Northeast

There’s no template for finding the perfect vehicle in the Northeast, but with a general understanding of your local weather patterns and road conditions, you can find a car that’s well outfitted for your needs.

used car

Two considerations for hot and dry weather

The summer of 2021 saw unusual heat waves in the Northeast, with New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island experiencing the warmest June on record. Some states withstood their driest conditions on record, and dry conditions brought an increase in fires.

If you’re preparing to drive in the heat, you’ll need a car that can withstand high temperatures. Here are some features to look for in your next car.

Car Battery

1. Battery

Heat drains the life of a car battery. If you’re shopping for a used vehicle, be sure to check on the age of the battery. If the car has been driven in the heat, the battery may need to be replaced at three years old.

For a battery that can last longer in hot conditions, look for a vehicle equipped with an absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery. You can also ask your dealer about finding a battery that’s fitted for either hot or cold climates.

car air vents

2. Interior cooling

New England  may not face extreme heat all that often, but an outside temperature of just 70 degrees can cause a vehicle’s interior to climb above 115 degrees. At 90 degrees, a vehicle’s interior can climb above 130.

For anyone who expects to face the heat, you may want to opt for a new car with features that can help keep drivers and passengers cool. That could include remote starting, ventilated seats, automatic climate control and roof vent diffusers. While all extra comfort features can add up, you might be able to score a car with a 0% APR if you buy new from a dealer to help you put more of your payment toward the car itself.

Scraping ice, snow off car

Milan Krasula / iStock

Three considerations for wet or snowy weather

Winters can bring flash flooding and snowstorms throughout the area. In 2021, New York and Maryland experienced tornadoes, too. Here’s what car buyers should look for when they expect to drive in these extreme winter conditions.

Icy road warning sign on a snowy road

trendobjects / iStock

1. Drivetrain

All-wheel drive (AWD) can be essential for safe winter driving since it provides better traction while handling snow and sleet. As an added benefit for drivers, AWD or four-wheel drive (4WD) can help with traction on wet or sandy roads during summer storms.

You may have to upgrade trims to get AWD, but you don’t necessarily need to buy a traditional SUV or truck, or even break your car-buying budget. Buyers can choose from a wide variety of vehicles, including sedans like the Subaru Legacy, hatchbacks like the Prius AWD or even the 2021 Audi A5 Cabriolet convertible, which comes standard with AWD.

Car on a snowy road

Wmaster890 / iStock

2. Ground clearance

For driving safely through snow and mud, or going over rocky and hilly terrain, you’ll want more distance between the vehicle’s body and the ground. This is also known as ground clearance. Higher clearance helps prevent getting stuck, even if it’s just in the snow at the end of your driveway.

This is where a sedan could fall short, since some sedans may only clear as few as four inches. An SUV with 8 inches of clearance can maneuver more easily through the snow.

Car tires in the snow

Patrick Daxenbichler / iStock

3. Tires

For snowy weather, you’ll need a vehicle with the right tires. Snow tires or winter tires are constructed to expel snow and maintain flexibility in below-freezing conditions. They also have a superior grip to all-weather alternatives, which helps with handling. But winter and snow tire tread can wear quickly so be sure to inspect the tread if you’re buying a used vehicle. You can also check tire ratings and reviews before buying.

Cadillac Escalade dashboard

y_carfan/ istockphoto

Other useful features

Here are a few extra features that might not be necessities but can make for a better experience with winter driving:

  • Visibility: Automatic high beams, adaptive headlights and blind-spot warning.
  • Safe handling: Electronic stability control and forward collision avoidance.
  • Heating: Heated side mirrors, heated seats, heated windshield wipers, heated steering wheel, remote start and an engine block heater.

Not sure what to spring for? If your auto loan preapproval leaves enough room in your budget to add more bells and whistles, be sure to prioritize the features that increase safety for you and your passengers year-round.


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