2012 Toyota Prius C, Catskill Mountains, NY, Oct 2012
At the end of every year, we look back at our traffic to identify the most popular stories we've published.
Some of them may be evergreen topics that draw consistent traffic--three of the five were first published in 2012--while others are news or reviews that really took off and captured readers' imaginations.
If we had a single word to describe our most popular news topic, it would be "Tesla"--because almost anything we write about the Silicon Valley electric-car startup Tesla Motors draws lots of attention.
But long-time readers may find some surprises among the five articles that drew the most traffic on Green Car Reports during 2013.
In reverse order, here they are.
Cyclist in London looking at driver of Lamborghini Aventador [clip from video by SupercarsOfLondon]
(5) Cyclist Vs Self-Important, Entitled, Angry Supercar Driver (Video)
This one, published in July with a deliberately provocative headline, certainly stirred up our commenters.
Cyclists have always been a challenge on this site, with much of our audience appreciating the benefits of human-powered transportation while seemingly wishing that cyclists never shared the roads with actual cars.
We're not going to get into that discussion here, now.
But the more we look at the video in the article, the more we think that several of the commenters are right--the whole thing was staged.
We still tend to think that owners of wildly expensive, exotically designed, high-powered, grossly inefficient supercars should have the discretion and good taste not to behave like hooligans behind the wheel.
(See earlier coverage of "supercar hooligans" in London for more egregious examples.)
But in this case, both parties are probably somewhat at fault--and if the whole thing's a setup, well, we fell for it.
And so did all of you, it seems.
2013 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive Cabrio, Ann Arbor, Michigan, Aug 2013
(4) Top Down, Tunes Up: Five Summer Cars With High Gas Mileage
This one was a total and complete surprise when we looked at our traffic data.
It had done very well last year--it was actually published in June 2012, just as the summer weather hit--and it was the sort of light, cheerful, casual roundup article we like to do for fun.
Then we sort of forgot about it.
But there it was, our fourth most-popular article of the year as measured in traffic from January 1st through December 30th of this year. Who knew?
It would appear that lots and lots of people are looking for convertibles that deliver good gas mileage--or in the case of the 2013 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive Cabrio, don't use any gasoline or diesel fuel at all.
The Smart is, so far, the sole open-top plug-in electric car--although we must admit we hope that the Toyota Prius C cabrio that the company showed off at this year's Tokyo Motor Show makes it into production.
2014 Honda Insight
(3) 2012 Toyota Prius C Vs 2012 Honda Insight: Sub-$20K Hybrids Compared
This June 2012 comparison piece continues to draw readers eager for a smaller car that's both fuel-efficient and relatively inexpensive.
We felt from the start, when we drove the 2012 Toyota Prius C, that it would prove a strong competitor to the mild-hybrid Honda Insight, and so it has.
2012 Toyota Prius C, Catskill Mountains, NY, Oct 2012
While the subcompact Prius C is roughly one fifth or so of Toyota's total sales of the four-car Prius model range, it's the company's least expensive hybrid car--and offers both all-electric running and a higher 50-mpg combined fuel efficiency rating than the Insight's combined 42 mpg.
Different buyers will opt for one or the other based on brand perception, styling, handling, and any number of other factors--some quite rational, some less so.
Either car will deliver a real-world fuel economy of 40 mpg or more at a price that starts around $20,000.
We think that's pretty good either way.
2004-2009 Toyota Prius battery pack, second generation
(2) Toyota Hybrid Battery Replacement Cost Guide
This article, published in August 2012, continues to be a perennial favorite. With more than 2 million Toyota hybrid cars and crossovers on U.S. roads, some of them now more than 10 years old, the question of replacing the hybrid battery is clearly top of mind.
Relatively few high-voltage battery packs need to be replaced over 10 years, and it's crucial to get a knowledgeable and accurate diagnosis for a hybrid car that won't start and is giving an error code related to the pack.
In one recent case--we'll write about it soon--a 2004 Toyota Prius that indicate a pack fault turned out to have a perfectly fine battery, which didn't need to be replaced at all--despite what the local dealer told the owner.
Instead, an infestation of field mice had eaten away at some of the wiring, and the car had diagnosed a fault in its high-voltage system and quite properly refused to start.
That car is now being put back on the road and we'd expect it to continue delivering high-mileage transport for years to come.
The moral of the story: If your battery pack needs to be replaced, read our guide. But before you do, make sure that's what's really at fault.
2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ
(1) 2014 Pickup Truck Gas Mileage: Ford Vs Chevy Vs Ram, Who's Best?
Published in June this year, our look at the best fuel-economy ratings for the three best-selling full-size pickup trucks in the U.S. drew a huge amount of traffic.
But the whole topic of covering pickups at all on Green Car Reports turned controversial this month, when we published a story looking at how we thought the 2015 Ford F-150 would boost its fuel economy from the current 18 mpg combined to 22 mpg combined or higher.
The negative comments that piece drew--many centered on the idea that writing about 20-mpg vehicles at all "legitimized" them as "green," a view we don't share--prompted us to explain why we cover pickup trucks on the site.
That piece drew even more comments, almost 300 in just three days thus far--at least some of it from readers who had never visited the site before, to judge from a few of the sentiments they contained.
Large pickups are a huge segment of the U.S. market, and will continue to be. But the fact that coverage of their comparative fuel economy figures got such strong traffic indicates a hunger for good information about gas mileage, not just among the highest-efficiency segments but also in the lowest.
We view all public interest in fuel economy as a good thing, and we expect pickup trucks to get more efficient--just like every other car segment--in the years to come.
So what was your single favorite story on Green Car Reports this year?
Use our Search box above (in the upper right-hand corner of every page) if you don't recall it immediately, and leave us your pick in the Comments below.
Meanwhile, our very best wishes to all our readers for a happy, healthy, safe, and rewarding New Year!