Video-game shocker: Top vehicle depicted far from what you’d expect

A certain model is put on the virtual highway much more than any other vehicle

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A Beetle races through the streets in Driver: San Francisco by Ubisoft

In the video-game world of make-believe, where you can perform extreme driving exploits in pretty much whatever vehicle you choose, the car model most commonly found on virtual roads is… wait for it… the Volkswagen Beetle.

The Volkswagen leads the list for the model that games makers most often place in their products, from Grand Theft Auto to The Sims. That’s according to a recent analysis of thousands of video games by carwow, with the help of online resource Internet Game Cars Database.

A very early example of the Volkswagen Beetle

The poll by carwow resulted in a top-10 list of most-common video-game cars, led off by the lowly Beetle. There were some other surprises, too.

“After crunching the data, it can be revealed that the Volkswagen Beetle tops the list as the most featured car model, which has been spotted in games such as Grand Theft Auto, Grand Turismo and Need for Speed,” according to a carwow news release. “The American classic Chevrolet Camaro Mk.I is second on the list; first on the roads (in real life) in the mid-60s, this model has been seen in Far Cry, Dead Rising 3 and The Sims.

The 1st-generation Chevy Camaro is a popular game car

“Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering the amount of criminal behavior that occurs in video games, a model that is often used as a police car is at third place. The Ford Crown Victoria Sedan can be seen in apocalyptic horror games such as The Last of Us and The Walking Dead as well as 177 further games.

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“A more-unusual vehicle makes it to fourth place – the Chevrolet Step Van is a type of truck that has a number of uses from delivery trucks to SWAT vans. The van has been featured in games like Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto and Twisted Metal.”

Volkswagen
The Ferrari Enzo scored at number 5

It’s not until the fifth car on the list did the analysts find the kind of supercar you’d expect, a 2002 Ferrari Enzo, which is featured in Need for Speed, Gran Turismo and Burnout Revenge.

“Only 400 were made in real life, so the virtual world is probably your best chance of getting behind the wheel of one,” the release says.

The 10 most common cars in video games:

  1. Volkswagen Beetle – featured in 337 games
  2. Chevrolet Camaro Mk.I – featured in 198 games
  3. Ford Crown Victoria Sedan – featured in 179 games
  4. Chevrolet Step Van – featured in 156 games
  5. 2002 Ferrari Enzo – featured in 119 games
  6. Toyota Supra Mk.IV JZA80 – featured in 91 games
  7. Toyota Hilux – featured in 88 games
  8. Ford E-Series Ambulance – featured in 86 games
  9. 1987 Ferrari F40 – featured in 84 games
  10. 1995 Ferrari F50 – featured in 83 games

Of the automotive brands most-often found in video games, Ford leads the pack, mainly because of the plethora of police cars and other service vehicles that are represented. Volkswagen doesn’t appear until No. 8 in the brand list.

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The 10 most featured car brands in video games:

  1. Ford – featured in 8,707 games
  2. Chevrolet – featured in 6,242 games
  3. Toyota – featured in 4,299 games
  4. Nissan – featured in 4,264 games
  5. Honda – featured in 3,141 games
  6. Dodge – featured in 2,933 games
  7. Mercedes-Benz – featured in 2,739 games
  8. Volkswagen – featured in 2,640 games
  9. BMW – featured in 2,548 games
  10. Ferrari – featured in 2,203 games
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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

1 COMMENT

  1. I’m not a video game person but was always a VW beetle fan. I always heard that the VW Beetle is the #1 childrens “vehicle toy” manufactured in the world. So this does not suprise me.

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