IRVINE, Calif. — Kelley Blue Book released its list of the most-researched new vehicles of 2011, and revealed the Top 5 brands with the greatest share of market interest for the year.

The Hyundai Elantra was a standout this year, entering the Top 20 most-researched new-vehicles list at No. 7, jumping 29 positions from 2010. Elantra's victory can be attributed to the vehicle's top-rated fuel efficiency, affordability, superior redesign and Hyundai's increased popularity among consumers, according to

“Hyundai was able to knock it out of the park two years in a row with the Sonata and now the Elantra, which is maintaining brand loyalty and changing public perception,” said Arthur Henry, manager of market intelligence for Kelley Blue Book. 

The Top 5 brands with the highest share of market interest in 2011 — defined as the percent of new-car shopper activity for a particular brand — were Toyota, Ford, Honda, Chevrolet and Hyundai.

Hyundai made the biggest leap in the top brand category, closing in on the No. 5 position as the most-researched brand list. KBB analysts partially attributed Hyundai's success this year to the Japanese earthquake and recent Thai floods, which hampered production for Honda and Toyota. Hyundai's rollout of the Equus and Veloster, in addition to the redesign of the Accent and Azera, were also considerable factors that translated into Hyundai's increased market share on 

Toyota retained its No. 1 spot and the brand's market share increased 1 percent on, according to the website. This year, Ford moved up one position to No. 2. Honda moved down to No. 3 on the list, while Chevrolet remained No. 4.

Significant to this year's list is the absence of luxury brands among the top 20 most-researched new vehicles on “Luxury brands were hit the hardest this year; not one luxury vehicle made it on Kelley Blue Book's 2011 most-researched list,” Henry said. “They simply didn't fit into many consumers' budgets, especially with the gas price hike earlier this year.”

Since 2004, the Honda Accord, Civic and Toyota Camry remain the top three most-researched new vehicles on the website. While these models remained among the top three again in 2011, several other vehicles entered the list for the first time or shifted position.

A number of popular new or redesigned models also increased their standing for 2011 vs. 2010, including the Volkswagen Jetta, which jumped 10 positions to No. 10, and the Chevrolet Equinox, up five positions to No. 8. The Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and Ford Explorer are new to this year's list.

Dropping in ranking were the Toyota RAV4, which fell eight positions to No. 18, the Nissan Altima, which fell five positions to No. 11, and the Ford Escape, which fell four spots to No. 20. Toyota Highlander dropped three spots to No. 12 and the Honda Odyssey fell one position to No. 13. The vehicles that claimed a Top 20 spot last year but did not make the cut this year were the Honda Pilot, Ford Mustang, Toyota Sienna, BMW 3 Series and Chevrolet Camaro.

For more information, visit's Top 20 Most-Researched New Vehicles of 2011

1. Honda Civic

6. Hyundai Sonata

11. Nissan Altima

16. Ford Focus

2. Honda Accord

7. Hyundai Elantra

12. Toyota Highlander

17. Ford Explorer

3. Toyota Camry

8. Chevrolet Equinox

13. Honda Odyssey

18. Toyota RAV4

4. Honda CR-V

9. Toyota Prius

14. Toyota Corolla

19. Chevrolet Silverado 1500

5. Ford F-150

10. Volkswagen Jetta

15. Ford Fusion

20. Ford Escape


Kelley Blue Book's 2011 Top Five Brands with Greatest Share of Market Interest among New-Car Shoppers

  1. Toyota with 14.2 percent
  2. Ford with 13.5 percent
  3. Honda with 12.8 percent
  4. Chevrolet with 11.5 percent
  5. Hyundai with 7.5 percent