Like anywhere, those living in the San Diego area can choose from countless different types of cars. Some are more popular than others, which is helpful to know if you’re car shopping. Before we dive into specific makes and models, let’s review purchasing options:
- Buying a car at a dealer
- Purchasing through a private party
- Buying online
- Bidding at an auction
Finding online car auctions in San Diego makes for easy purchasing. There are many types of auctions, like insurance auto auctions and salvage auctions (with damaged cars that can be rebuilt or used for parts).
Now that we’ve covered ways to buy, let’s look at what people are most likely to buy in San Diego. The news website timesofsandiego.com highlighted the area’s five most in-demand new vehicles and the five most sought-after used cars. Let’s get into the details.
Five Most Popular New Cars In San Diego
While you won’t find new cars at regular auctions, you can locate almost-new salvage vehicles for sale. Here are five you’re likely to come across.
#1 Honda Civic
The Honda Civic is a car that buyers appreciate because of its reliability and affordability and California gas prices also help make this Honda a popular choice. Shoppers can select between a sedan or a five-door hatchback.
There’s also the Civic Si for more spirited performance and the 315-horsepower Civic Type R for extra smiles per mile. All Civics come with Honda Sensing, an advanced suite of driver aids, including automatic emergency braking.
#2 Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V slots in at number two, thanks to an ideal combination of value and capability. This versatile five-seat SUV won’t break the bank and can easily handle five passengers.
Plus, there’s plenty of room for groceries and gear. Buyers can choose from the conventional gas-powered CR-V or the CR-V Hybrid, which delivers up to 43 MPG. And just like in San Diego, the CR-V is one of the most popular vehicles in the U.S.
#3 Honda Accord
Honda completes a podium sweep, with the Accord sedan occupying the third spot among the most popular new cars in San Diego.
Fresh from a redesign for 2023 (like the CR-V), the new Accord delivers a stylish sedan body with an upscale look. Buyers will find room for five adults and a modern and welcoming cabin. Honda Sensing safety technology is standard here, too.
#4 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is an award-winning full-size pickup with numerous configurations. Buyers can choose from a basic work truck to a topline version with features befitting a luxury car.
Plus, there are three cab configurations (standard, Double Cab, and Crew Cab) and four engines (a turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder, two V8s, and a turbocharged six-cylinder Duramax Diesel).
#5 Ford F-150
America’s best-selling vehicle of any kind doesn’t occupy first place in San Diego, but it does make the fifth spot. Ford offers numerous engine options, such as multiple V6s (including twin-turbo and hybrid variations) and a trusty 5.0-litre Coyote engine that makes 400 horsepower.
Like the competition, the F-150 comes in everything from an essential work pickup to an over-the-top luxury ride.
Five Most Popular Used Cars In San Diego
Whether you’re buying from a car auction, dealer, or private seller, here are the most popular pre-owned vehicles in San Diego.
#1 Honda Civic
Calling the Honda Civic hot is an understatement, especially in San Diego. Even in used form, this car tops the list again. And it’s no secret why.
The Civic enjoys bulletproof reliability, easy-to-find parts, and strong resale value (which helps at trade-in time). The Civic is also popular at insurance auto auctions because repairs are straightforward and don’t require a master mechanic.
#2 Toyota Camry
Surprisingly, a Toyota doesn’t appear on the most popular list until here with the Camry. But the Camry has been a winner for decades, with a dependability record that’s equal to anything from Honda. The Camry also offers unique features that separate it from the Honda Accord.
Notably, this five-seat sedan is available with a six-cylinder engine, something that the Accord gave up several years ago. And the Camry offers all-wheel drive (also missing from the Honda). Both of these upgrades can be found in used Camry models.
#3 Toyota Corolla
The world’s best-selling car of all time lands in the third spot of most popular used vehicles in San Diego. Many people are used to seeing the Corolla as a basic gas-powered sedan.
Toyota has expanded the nameplate over the years. Used car buyers can find the Corolla with a hybrid powertrain or as a handy five-door hatchback.
#4 Toyota RAV4
In recent years, the RAV4 has taken the crown for the most popular non-truck vehicle in the U.S. So, it’s no surprise to see this capable SUV somewhere on our top ten list. The RAV4 also has the distinction of being the first compact crossover from a Japanese brand.
Used car buyers may find used RAV4 models to be at a premium, but that’s the price one pays for reliability and a robust resale value.
#5 Volkswagen Jetta
The Jetta appears like an outlier among all the Japanese cars and American trucks on our list, but buyers appreciate German engineering and an upscale design.
It’s also a little different, satisfying someone who doesn’t want to add to the abundance of Hondas and Toyotas already on the road. Volkswagen also gets high marks for a premium cabin experience, something you’ll find in every Jetta. Used Jettas are ordinary auction cars.
Final Thoughts: The Top 10 Most Popular Cars in San Diego
Now that you know what car buyers are searching for in San Diego, it’s time to begin your car-buying journey, even if you’re looking for something that isn’t on our list.
At the same time, consider purchasing at a car auction (including an online auto auction) to maximize your budget and expand the pool of available vehicles.
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