Kicking the Tires Online

When gas prices rise (as they’re starting to do again), people at least pay lip service to the idea of getting a smaller car. But how serious about it are they? A report from Kelley Blue Book suggests they mean business. It ranked the new models that were most often researched during 2008 via the Web site, a popular venue for consumers seeking information on cars they might buy. Small and medium-size vehicles dominated the upper ranks of the list. The study’s top 10: Honda Civic, Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Toyota Corolla, Nissan Altima, Honda CR-V, Toyota Prius, Toyota Highlander, Toyota RAV4 and Mazda3. The report offered bad news for Detroit: Only three cars from the U.S. automakers ranked in the top 20. The Ford Escape came in 12th, the Ford Mustang 16th and the Chevy Malibu 17th.