Even a Mile-High List Has a “Top 10”

June 23rd, 2017 by

Colorado Mountains

If you’re in the market for a used car in Colorado Springs, the landscape is a diverse blend of makes and models. While no driver aspires to be a “me too” buyer, vehicle trends are statistical evidence that, sometimes, our aspirations don’t get us very far.

When AAA published a survey of the the 10 Most Popular Vehicles in Colorado, it was no surprise that the article began by referencing the unique attributes of the state’s landscape. After all, the relationship between car and driver is only part of the puzzle; geography contributes in determining vehicle trends, and no-one serves up diversity of terrain quite like Colorado does. Our geography is built into our lifestyle, and the list certainly reflects that.


Ask any Coloradan which make of vehicle best fits the Rocky Mountain lifestyle, and a laugh may be a common reply. If you need to ask, you must be from out of state, because everyone here knows that Subaru dominates our roads. And if you’re wasting time debating whether Subaru’s title as “Official Car of Colorado” is 100% valid, visit the annual Rocky Mountain Subaru Festival and put your mind at ease. On any given day, Subarus are everywhere.

With that in mind, would anyone be shocked that Subaru has locked up 5 spots on the 10 Most Popular list? Probably not. And a scan of most area parking lots would eliminate any question as to which model sits atop the list…

For nearly a quarter of a century, the Subaru Outback has continued to marry the family-friendly design of the classic American wagon with the accommodating performance expected of the Sports Utility class.

AWD standard, the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine puts out 175hp seeing fuel economy of 32mpg (Highway, 25 City). The lifespan of these Colorado staples allow for longer owner relationships, but also retain higher resale value than many of their contemporaries. With that in mind, the purchase of a used Outback can still be (and should be) looked at as an investment.

Runner-up to the top slot is held by the Subaru Forester, a more streamlined compact SUV option, showing a slightly lower price tag than the Outback. AWD with the option of a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder or V6, the Forester joins the Outback as an IIHS Top Safety Pick, and in a five-star overall rating from the NHTSA. It does however, fall short slightly in terms of both horsepower (170 v. 175) and fuel economy (28/22 v. 32/25).

The list of 10 finds itself split with the first appearance of a midsize sedan in the Subaru Legacy and the more compact Subaru Impreza. The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Legacy pumps out 175hp and scores a solid 34mpg (Highway, 25 City). The 2.0-liter 4-cylinder Impreza under-performs slightly by comparison, but does have a 5-door hatchback option.

Bookending Subaru’s chokehold on the 10 Most Popular List is the Subaru Crosstrek, most visible as an economical alternative to the Outback, albeit one that does under-perform to a degree. AWD standard, the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder will release 148hp, but loses points for a Highway mpg of 30 (20 City).

As a whole, the list paints a reassuring (and quite accurate) picture of Subaru as the “go-to” vehicle for the average Colorado driver. As we said earlier, just scan a parking lot if you’re looking for proof.


Within our Outback and SUV-heavy landscape, it makes perfect sense that Toyota would step in to grab 3 of the remaining spots in the list.

As far as midsize crossovers go, the Toyota Highlander secures the next spot behind the Outback and the Forrester.  Comparably priced, the Highlander offers seating for 7 as well as improved safety features. While the 2.7-liter 4-cylinder offers 187hp it is underpowered in comparison to the Outback. An optional V6 package is on the table, as is AWD. With 28mpg (Highway, 27 City) the fuel economy of the 4-cylinder is impressive within the vehicle class and certainly merits consideration.

The second half of the list is fleshed out with the Toyota RAV4 and the Toyota 4Runner. A compact alternative, the RAV4 is the Highlander’s “little brother,” also available in Front and All-Wheel Drive options. Both are IIHS Top Safety Picks and both offer Hybrid options. That said, the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder serves up 176hp, outperforming the Highlander in terms of fuel economy, and certainly comes with a more palatable price tag.

The 4Runner slides in with the heftiest price tag of Toyota’s offerings. With an available 4.0-liter V6, it wrangles 270 horses and hits 21mpg (Highway, 17 City). Seating drops to 5, but does so to favor increased cargo space across the board.


The presence of the Honda Data Center in Longmont was inspired by geography and availability of skilled I.T. personnel, making it an odd coincidence that Honda holds the final two slots on the 10 Most Popular list. That said, calling it a coincidence is a stretch. The inclusion of both the CR-V and Accord are fitting considering the type of driver each caters to.

As expected within the small SUV class, the Honda CR-V measures up comparably with the RAV4 on many points. A lower price-tag tends to be the key motivator for selecting the CR-V over the RAV-4, but that is certainly a justifiable reason to shift your eyeline to Honda.

The Honda Accord is another oddity among the primarily SUV-driven list.

How the 10 Most Popular Cars in Colorado measure up against your own list remains to be seen. Whether you’re a longtime resident of the area, or a new addition, this is just a snapshot of trends established by other Colorado drivers. Maybe you’re different. Lucky for you the Colorado Sprints area boasts a wide variety of used car makes and models to choose from.