Comprehensively redesigned, the Honda CR-V ended up being the most researched new vehicle of 2012 by visitors to KBB.com. This latest iteration of Honda's compact SUV moved up three positions in the list compared to the 2011 model that it replaced. The power of new also helped two other perennially prominent players in the most-researched arena as the recast 2012 Toyota Camry and Honda Civic grabbed second and third spots, respectively, in this information-focused popularity contest. Rounding out the Top 10 individual model ratings were the Honda Accord, Hyundai Elantra, Ford F-150, Hyundai Sonata, Ford Escape, Nissan Altima, and Mazda Mazda3.
The Mazda3 -- also selected as one of KBB.com's 2012 Top 10 Coolest Cars under $18,000 -- was a particularly notable new face on the most-researched roster. According to Akshay Anand, market intelligence web analyst for Kelley Blue Book, this well-rounded Mazda's first Top 10 placement is largely attributable to its combination of fuel efficiency and affordability -- elements which were enhanced by the automaker's refocused brand image and the introduction of its new Skyactiv Technology design features.
On the manufacturer front, Toyota retained its longstanding position of primacy by grabbing a 15.4-percent share of total market interest. "Holding the No. 1 spot as the most-shopped brand on KBB.com year after year, Toyota's brand interest in 2012 primarily was propelled by the redesign of its immensely popular flagship," said Anand. "When redesigning the Camry, Toyota successfully created a stand-out vehicle in the extremely competitive mid-size sedan segment." Visitor curiosity about the new-generation CR-V -- as well as the Accord and new Civic -- helped Honda eclipse Ford in this year's rankings as the second most popular marque by a narrow 13.7 percent to 13.5 percent margin. Rounding out the top five were Chevrolet and Hyundai, with 10.6 percent and 8.2 percent market interest totals.