For our final Best of 2011 award, we set aside our subjective judgments and turn to pure data — the tens of millions of visitors who research cars every year on Yahoo! Autos. Which model did they seek out more than any other? The 2011 Chevrolet Camaro.
It's heartening, if not all that surprising, that a few million online buyers would give a virtual tire-kick to the Camaro. Chevy sold more than 88,000 Camaros last year, surpassing the Ford Mustang for the second year in a row. It's a high-performance machine with an almost-usable rear seats and starting prices below $30,000. If you're online looking for another midsize sedan or something to haul the kids, why wouldn't you take a few minutes and see just how close that Camaro might be to your driveway.
That said, the data shows millions of Americans taking a look at Ford: Of the top 10 vehicles researched on Yahoo Autos last year, Ford accounted for six of them — with the Mustang ranking second, the Ford Fusion, Focus, Fiesta and Explorer ranking fourth through seventh and the Escape taking ninth, besting the Chevy Equinox in 10th.
What all of them have in common? Widespread appeal, well-thought out styling and fresh updates. Given the clutch of new models hitting in 2012, next year's list may look nothing like this one.