Though correlation doesn’t imply causation, it can sometimes be quite revealing, and in certain circumstances, it may even be predictive. That’s the thinking behind taking a look at the cars most and least likely to get tickets in 2016.
The data was gathered in a survey conducted by Insurance.com between February 2014 and February 2016. You can’t blame the cars for the tickets. Responsibility for that unfortunate turn of events falls squarely on the shoulders of the drivers. However, certain models make it easier and more tempting to cruise at extralegal speeds, and if a model is getting lots of tickets, you can rest assured it will be on a cop’s radar, both literally and figuratively.
At the other end of the spectrum, models with a history of getting the fewest tickets stand the best chance of providing you with the anonymity you need to escape the watchful gaze of Johnny Law when you’re behind the wheel.
These are the eight models most and least likely to get tickets in 2016. Some are older and some are newer, and the mix includes luxury cars, sports cars and models you could afford right out of college.
Cars Most Likely to Get a Ticket
Lexus ES 300: Topping the list is the 1992-2003 Lexus ES 300. While it lacked the glamor of more expensive Lexus models, it was a popular choice with drivers seeking a car offering the brand’s premium polish at a more affordable price. In many ways, the ES 300 set the standard for entry-level luxury sedans of its day, and it treated drivers to a tranquil cabin, dependable performance, and a forgiving ride quality.
This Lexus is available at great prices on the used market, and it’s likely that many of those who got tickets in this car are younger drivers who either purchased the car used or had it passed down to them by their parents. In Insurance.com’s survey, 33 percent of drivers who got tickets were behind the wheel of an ES 300.
Nissan 350Z: The 350Z blazed across the automotive landscape between 2003 and 2008, and it’s easy to understand why it’s a ticket magnet. Quick and nimble, the 350Z offers most of the things a driver craves in a sports car.
This compact, rear-wheel drive two-seater is powered by an engine that gets it going in a hurry, and its handling is responsive enough to make it an engaging ally on winding back roads. Push it through corners and this low-slung rocket hugs the tarmac like a doting aunt hugs her favorite nephew. Of the drivers polled, 33 percent got tickets while piloting a Nissan 350Z.
Dodge Charger SE/SXT: One of the original muscle cars, Dodge Chargers have been around since the 1960s, but the SE model didn’t roar into existence until 2006. The Charger has won races in Daytona and even took a starring role on the popular “Dukes of Hazzard” TV show that aired from 1979 to 1985.
This model is still in production, and the most current versions meld the performance capabilities of the car’s muscle-car past with practical touches such as a comfortable cabin and a back seat with generous amounts of legroom. This is a car that will easily serve family duty during the week, but when the weekend rolls around, it’s also got the goods to help enthusiasts indulge their love for driving fast and hard. Given this sedan’s impressive performance chops, it’s little wonder it was the vehicle of choice for 32 percent of the drivers who reported getting tickets in this survey.
Volkswagen Jetta GL: Known for offering Germanic handling and refinement at a reasonable price, the Volkswagen Jetta has been providing quality transportation since 1980. It’s still in production, and with over 14 million models sold worldwide, it holds the distinction of being Volkswagen’s best-selling model.
While the Jetta isn’t as enthusiast-friendly as other models that regularly rack up tickets, it’s long been popular with younger drivers, and this demographic is no stranger to traffic tickets. Jettas are popular with college students, and this car is often the model of choice for young car buyers making their first vehicle purchase as working adults. Of those reporting tickets in this survey, 31 percent were behind the wheel of a Jetta.
Cars Least Likely to Get a Ticket
Buick Encore: Launched in 2013, the Buick Encore is still in production, and this compact crossover provides decent luxury at a modest price. The Encore embodies all the traits for which Buick is known. Its ride quality is smooth and plush, and the cabin is tranquil and nicely appointed.
In many ways, this is a very sensible crossover. Its crash-test scores are superb, its cabin is upscale, and it offers lots of useful amenities at a value-oriented price. Acceleration falls short of being inspiring, but this is probably a point in its favor if your main goal is ticket avoidance. A mere 3 percent of those reporting tickets in this survey were driving Buick Encores.
Lexus IS 350: Lexus is known for making vehicles that put luxury and comfort way ahead of sporty handling, and that makes the IS 350 a bit of an anomaly. First introduced in 2006, the Lexus IS 350 represents the manufacturer’s effort to provide car shoppers with an entry-level luxury sedan offering engaging performance capabilities.
The rear-wheel drive IS 350 comes armed to stir your senses with a robust V6, keen steering and an opulent cabin. While it may fall short of offering BMW levels of driving excitement, it’s certainly pleasant enough to drive, and its high-end interior and long list of amenities make this sedan a satisfying companion. The fact that it’s less likely than most models to get tickets is another plus. Of the surveyed drivers who got tickets, only 3 percent were piloting an IS 350.
Acura ILX: Combining Honda reliability with an upmarket look and presence, the Acura brand is one many people turn to for a sensible take on the luxury-car experience. Based on the Honda Civic platform, the ILX is the most affordable sedan in the Acura lineup, and it’s been on the market since 2013.
While the ILX shares parts with the Civic, its treatment is more upscale than that of its modest relation. Styling is streamlined and modern, and the car’s cabin boasts design and materials quality that are a step up from the Honda mold. The ILX also provides access to luxury amenities that aren’t offered in the Civic, and it does so while maintaining a reasonable price tag. The ILX seems to have a knack for ticket avoidance, and only 6 percent of the ticketed drivers in this survey were behind the wheel of this Acura.
Cadillac ATS: The ATS was launched in 2013, and it aims to make its mark in the competitive entry-level luxury segment. Cadillac’s compact sedan provides engaging handling and a bold, angular look sure to turn heads.
This handsome car is a great choice for buyers seeking a budget-friendly luxury car that’s more distinctive than the usual German favorites. A mere 6 percent of the drivers in this survey were ticketed while behind the wheel of a Cadillac ATS.
Knowledge Is Key
Obviously, a model’s history regarding traffic tickets isn’t the only factor to consider when making a car-buying purchase. However, it’s definitely one to consider. It’s one more piece of information you can use to help you make an informed car purchase.