The great thing about the internet is that everything can be quantified. Back in the pre-web days, you could get a general idea of interest by how many issues sold at the newsstand, or how many letters the editors received praising (or disparaging) a review or article. But now, we can measure precisely how popular articles are, right down to a single click.
So we decided we'd round up the 12 most popular articles to date, on this 12/12/12, just nine days from the Mayan Apocalypse. So enjoy them...while you can.
1) Gas vs. Diesel
Ah, the eternal rivalry. Almost as heated as Ford vs. Chevy. Ironically, this article was first published more than a decade ago, just one year after the GM's game-changing Duramax diesel hit the market, and right as Ford's then-new 6.0-liter Power Stroke was coming on the market. This highly technical article by Motor Trend alum Chuck Schifsky went through 10 different attributes, including power/torque, fuel economy, emissions, maintenance, and even performance based on climate. Although the new conventional wisdom says the web favors short, superficial and "trending" topics, this long, detailed blockbuster flips this assumption on its head.
2) Buyers Guide: 2012-2013 SUVs, Trucks, Vans
This one is no surprise. The number one thing people are looking for when coming to our sites, other than making nasty comments telling us what morons we are or trying to sell us cell phones on the cheap, is information on new trucks and SUVs. This compilation was an Acura-to-Volvo roundup of all the current-model trucks and SUVs. Going out on a limb here, we're guessing the 2014-2015 buyer's guide is going to rank pretty high up there, too.
3) 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe Caught Testing in Michigan
Over the past couple months, the 2014 Silverado and Sierra were the hot topics around here and online, but over the course of the year, the new Tahoe got more clicks. Some say full-size SUVs are a dying breed, but based on your interest, we'd say that's definitely not the case.
4) Small Wonders: Little Motorhomes May Be the Perfect Fit
Just showing there's no particular rhyme or reason to what stories are most popular, the "bigger is better" conventional wisdom, our feature on small motorhomes ranked a strong fourth, showing campers and travelers don't necessarily want to take up their entire side yards with a block-long diesel pusher. They may be small, but some of these pint-size road warriors carried close to a six-figure price tag. Good thing you can get 15-year financing on RVs.
5) Future Concepts: GMC Sierra All Terrain HD Concept
The GMC Sierra All-Terrain HD Concept generated a lot of interest for the idea of a Raptor-like HD model that combined the aggression of Ford's half-ton with the size and strength of the Ram Power Wagon. Although this model never made it to the showroom, a lot of its styling details can be seen on the new 2014 Sierra. How do we know? Let's just say we've had a sneak preview.
6) 2013 Ram 1500 First Drive
Ford vs. Chevy gets most of the attention in terms of the full-size truck rivalries, but lately, Ram has been on a roll, racking up ever-larger sales numbers and becoming a credible competitor in the full-size segment. The comprehensive refresh for 2013 got a lot of attention, with the new eight-speed transmission, MPG-champ V-6 engine, and innovative air suspension.
7) Downsizing Done Right: Born Frees 20-Foot Mini Motorhome
Building on the theme of our fourth-most-popular feature, another top-performer for the year was our review on the Born Free 20-ft motorhome. This compact Class C packed plenty of features and amenities into a manageable package for around $70,000. Although it may not have the chic Euro appeal of the Sprinter-based motorhomes, for about $30,000 less, it's a hard deal to pass up.
8) The Great West Truck Show 2009: Putting the BIG back into Big Rig Diesels
One of the biggest surprises for us over the past few years has been the popularity of Class 8 trucks among our readers. Yes, our bread-and-butter is light trucks and SUVs, but who doesn't like the soothing rattle of a 11-plus liter straight-six diesel and whistle of the turbo. The show was held in Las Vegas, the city that hosts SEMA, another major trade show of the year.
9) Super Truck!! Transformers Big-rig Action Hero Ironhide Revealed
Like our number one story, this one goes back a few years - to 2007, to be exact. But it involves action figures, and big custom trucks, two timelessly popular subjects. Ironhide, the customized GMC C4500 Top Kick that starred in the "Transformers" movie, remains one of our favorite specimens of GM's medium-duty line, with big-rig style stacks, a beefy Road Armor front bumper, and one seriously bad attitude.
10) 2012 New York International Auto Show
Traditionally, Chicago has been the big show for truck and SUV debuts. But for 2012, the Big Apple was where the action was. The 2013 Ram, Nissan NV200, and 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe all officially bowed at this year's show, all of them significant in their respective market segments. The NV200 was especially significant to New York, as its officially designated "Taxi of Tomorrow."
11) 2010 SEMA: Mainly Manufacturers
Even though it's going on two years old, the 2010 SEMA Show proved a popular one for TruckTrend.com visitors. As usual, the OEMs had a major presence at the show. Looking back, many of the "concepts" shown at SEMA have morphed into production models, such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee "Off-Road Edition" which we can now see was a thinly veiled preview of the now-official Trailhawk model. It was also our first look at the RamRunner concept, a truck we've driven and like a lot. Too bad it's nearly $20,000 more expensive than a comparably-equipped Ford F-150 Raptor.
12) Sources Say: Unibody Dakota Replacement Coming in 2013
The last one on our Top 12 list was also somewhat of a surprise, considering many manufacturers have abandoned the midsize truck segment altogether in the U.S. But it seems there's still quite a bit of interest in something smaller than an F-150 or Ram 1500. The Dakota may now be gone, but obviously, consumer interest in a sub-Ram trucklet isn't.