The cars most featured in video games

March 17, 2020 by

  • First racing game was released in 1974 by Atari
  • We checked thousands of games for the most featured cars
  • Ford is the most common brand in games
  • Its models appear over 8,700 times
  • Chevrolet is 2nd with 6,242 appearances
  • VW Beetle is the most common model
  • Beetles have made 337 appearances
  • Ford Crown Victoria often shows up as a police car
  • Ferrari Enzo is gamings most popular supercar
  • Three Ferrari models in the top 10

From early racing arcades to modern releases, cars feature heavily in a variety of video games, enabling the users to get around, race and chase on screen. The type of games with vehicles varies from fantasy racing franchises, such as Mario Kart, to intense first-person shooters like Call of Duty. Gran Trak 10 is considered to be the very first racing game, released in 1974 by Atari. The game was praised for its use of a steering wheel as a controller, with pedals and a gear shift. Car games have become increasingly popular since then and people have been enjoying four-wheeled entertainment for decades. 

Here we take a look at the most iconic and nostalgia-inducing cars that have shaped both the automotive and gaming industries to establish which appear most frequently in the digital world.

We’ve looked at every car make in tens of thousands of video games to determine which appears most. Ford is the most common manufacturer overall, featuring in a whopping 8,707 games. Officially named Ford Motor Company, the American brand was founded by Henry Ford in 1903. The automaker was famed for the introduction of assembly lines to produce cars on a mass scale previously thought impossible. 

The most featured Ford model is the Ford Crown Victoria Sedan (saloon), commonly used as a police car in video games. In fact, Ford’s four topmost featured video game models are police cars, ambulances, and taxis. These combined models result in Ford being the most featured. However, only one of Ford’s cars made it into the top 10 most featured models. 

The 50 most featured car makes in video games:  

Car Games 

  1. Ford 8707
  2. Chevrolet 6242
  3. Toyota 4299
  4. Nissan 4264
  5. Honda 3141
  6. Dodge 2933
  7. Mercedes-Benz 2739
  8. Volkswagen 2640
  9. BMW 2548
  10. Ferrari 2203
  11. Mitsubishi 2118
  12. Porsche 1823
  13. Mazda 1765
  14. Audi 1598
  15. Lamborghini 1575
  16. Subaru 1377
  17. Cadillac 1174
  18. Renault 1104
  19. Suzuki 855
  20. Peugeot 832
  21. GAZ 829
  22. GMC 827
  23. Lotus 816
  24. Pontiac 800
  25. Aston Martin 760
  26. Jeep 744
  27. Fiat 739
  28. McLaren 736
  29. Volvo 704
  30. Opel (Vauxhall) 678
  31. Jaguar 666
  32. Alfa Romeo 654
  33. Citroën 626
  34. Chrysler 609
  35. Race Car 572
  36. Plymouth 540
  37. AM General 534
  38. Land-Rover 523
  39. Peterbilt 513
  40. Yamaha 501
  41. Hot Wheels 476
  42. Hummer 469
  43. VAZ 467
  44. Lincoln 466
  45. Lancia 453
  46. Buick 451
  47. Kawasaki 451
  48. Lexus 444
  49. Hyundai 407
  50. MINI 388

These are the most popular brands, now it’s time to delve a little deeper, looking at the specific models to see which appear the most in the virtual world. 

The research shows that the Volkswagen Beetle is the most featured model across all video games, appearing 337 times. The iconic “Bug” is prevalent in popular movies and TV, and subsequently features in their video game spin-offs as well as a number of racing games. 

Unsurprisingly, some of the cars towards the top of the list are police cars or ambulances, such as the Ford Crown Victoria Sedan and the Ford E-Series Ambulance. These feature in action-adventure games such as Grand Theft Auto, where casualties and crime occur regularly. 

The 50 most featured car models in video games (based on the top 10 makes):

Car Games

  • Volkswagen Beetle 337
  • Chevrolet Camaro Mk.I 198
  • Ford Crown Victoria 179
  • Chevrolet Step Van 156
  • 2002 Ferrari Enzo 119
  • Toyota Supra Mk.IV [JZA80] 91
  • Toyota Hilux 88
  • Ford E-Series Ambulance 86
  • 1987 Ferrari F40 84
  • 1995 Ferrari F50 83
  • 1969 Dodge Charger Series II 79
  • Volkswagen Golf IV [Type 1J] 79
  • 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air [2454] 78
  • 1999 Nissan Skyline GT-R [R34] 70
  • Volkswagen Bus [Type 2 / T1] 70
  • 2009 Ferrari 458 Italia 68
  • Ford Crown Victoria Commercial Taxi Package 66
  • 2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor Pick-up 66
  • Ford Transit MkIII Van / MPV 66
  • 1969 Dodge Charger R/T Series II 65
  • Volkswagen Kübelwagen [Type 82] 65
  • Volkswagen Beetle Baja Bug [Type 1] 64
  • Nissan GT-R [R35] 63
  • Ferrari Testarossa 62
  • 2005 Ford Mustang GT MkV [S197] Coupé 60
  • Volkswagen Golf II [Typ 19E] 60
  • Nissan Skyline GT-R [R34] 58
  • 2013 Ferrari LaFerrari 58
  • 1970 Dodge Challenger 57
  • 2005 Ford GT Coupé 56
  • Honda S2000 [AP1] 55
  • 1968 Chevrolet Camaro Mk.I 54
  • 1965 Ford Mustang MkI Coupé 52
  • 2015 Ford Mustang GT MkVI [S550] Coupé 52
  • 1984 Ferrari Testarossa 52
  • 1998 Ford Crown Victoria Taxi Package 51
  • 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Mk.II 50
  • Nissan 350Z [Z33] 49
  • Ford E-Series Van / MPV 48
  • Ford Econoline Van / MPV 48
  • 2004 Nissan 350Z [Z33] 48
  • BMW M3 [E30] 48
  • 2006 Ford GT Coupé 47
  • Chevrolet Camaro Mk.V 47
  • 1996 Toyota Supra Mk.IV [JZA80] 47
  • Dodge Ram Van 47
  • Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG [C197] 47
  • 1998 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor 46
  • Dodge Ram Series III 46
  • Volkswagen Golf III [Type 1H] 46

1.) Volkswagen Beetle 

The Volkswagen Beetle, known affectionately as “the Bug”, is the most featured car model across all video games, appearing a staggering 337 times. For the purposes of this research, we’ve collated data from the Volkwagen Type 1, the Volkswagen New Beetle and the Volkswagen Beetle A5. The Volkswagen Beetle is used widely in popular TV shows and movies, such as The Simpsons, Mad Max: Fury Road, Batman, Stranger Things and more, and therefore features in spin-off games of these. This may indicate why the model is the most popular in video games.

The most popular games the Bug features in:

  • Grand Theft Auto, Various
  • Need for Speed, Various 
  • Carmageddon, 1997
  • Micro Machines: Turbo Tournament, Various
  • The Simpsons: Hit & Run, 2003
  • South Park Rally, 1999
  • Outrun, Racing 1989
  • SimCity, Various 
  • Call of Duty: World At War, 2008
  • Plants vs. Zombies Adventures, 2013
  • Radical Drive, Various 
  • Gran Turismo, 4-6, 2004-2013
  • Gran Turismo Sport, Racing, 2017

2.) Chevrolet Camaro Mk.I 

The Chevrolet Camaro Mk.I is a medium-sized American vehicle which was first released in 1966, originally produced to be a competitor to the iconic Ford Mustang. Over 5 million of these cars have been sold, demonstrating how popular the model is with petrolheads. Clearly, the model is also popular with video game producers, appearing 198 times.

The most popular games this model features in are:

  • The Sims, Various
  • Need for Speed, Various  
  • Midnight Club: Street Racing, 2000
  • Dead Rising 3, 2013
  • Far Cry, Various 
  • Gran Turismo, Various 
  • Forza Horizon, Various 
  • Forza Motorsport, Various 

3.) Ford Crown Victoria

The only Ford in the top ten, the Crown Victoria, or “Crown Vic”, was first released in 1992 and served as the flagship saloon. The Crown Vic was widely used by police and other law enforcement (as the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor) alongside taxi cabs in the US. Due to its law enforcement uses in real life, the Ford features in various movies and subsequently game spin-offs. As a police vehicle, it also features heavily in apocalyptic horror games such as The Last of Us and The Walking Dead. First-person shooter games such as Call of Duty also employ the vehicle, bringing it to a grand total of 92 video game features.

The most popular games this model features in are:

  • The Last of Us, 2013
  • MotorStorm, Apocalypse, 2010
  • Call of Duty, Various 
  • The Walking Dead, Various 
  • Silent Hill, 2012
  • Need for Speed, Various
  • Catwoman, 2004
  • Madagascar, 2005 
  • Dead Rising 3, 2013
  • Marvel Heroes, RPG, 2013
  • SimCity, 2013 

4.) Chevrolet Step Van

Coming in at fourth place at 156 features is another Chevrolet model, the Chevrolet Step Van. This vehicle is commonly used as delivery vans, S.W.A.T vans, ambulances and fire services. Due to this, the van features heavily in action-adventure games such as Grand Theft Auto. 

The most popular games this model features in are:

  • Grand Theft Auto, Various 1997-2013  
  • Twisted Metal, Various, 1995-2012
  • The Sims,  Various, 2004-2009
  • Reservoir Dogs, 2006
  • Heavy Rain, 2010
  • Call of Duty, Various, 2007 – 2011
  • The Last of Us, 2013
  • The Simpsons, Various, 2003-2012
  • LEGO City Undercover, 2013
  • LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, 2012 

5.) 2002 Ferrari Enzo

Ferrari makes its first appearance on the list with the 2002 Enzo model, featured in 199 games. The 12-cylinder mid-engine sports car was based on Formula One technology and is commonly used in racing games such as Need for Speed and Forza Motorsport.

The most popular games this model features in are:

  • Need for Speed, Various 
  • Burnout Revenge, Various 
  • Ridge Racer, 2004 
  • Gran Turismo, Various 
  • Burnout Paradise, 2008
  • Burnout Revenge, 2005
  • Forza Motorsport, Various
  • Forza Horizon, Various

6.) Toyota Supra MK.IV (JZA80) 

At 91 appearances, Toyota’s most common model is the Supra MK.IV, created for both high-speed and long-distance driving. The Supra is one of Toyota’s most iconic sports cars, with a six-cylinder engine and luxurious design. As a famed racing car, the Supra features in most of the major racing games, from Hot Wheels to Need for Speed and Gran Turismo. 

The most popular games this model features in are:

  • Shutokou Battle, Various
  • GT Racing, 1996
  • Hot Wheels: Brakeless, 2006
  • Need for Speed, Various 
  • Fast and Furious, Various 
  • Gran Turismo, Various 
  • GT Advance Various
  • Forza Motorsport, Various
  • Forza Horizon, Various 
  • Need for Speed, Various
  • Tokyo Xtreme Racer, Various 

7.) Toyota Hilux 

Close behind is the Toyota Hilux, a series of commercial cars by the Japanese make. Generally used as pickup trucks and construction vehicles, the car can also withstand various vicious environments such as the North Pole, mountains and volcanoes. Due to its varied abilities, the Hilux features in a wide variety of video games (88), from first-person shooters to racing games. 

We’ve selected a few of the most popular games this model features in:

  • Carmageddon, TDR 2000
  • Delta Force: Black Hawk Down 
  • Call of Duty, Various
  • Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, 2010
  • Far Cry 4, 2014
  • Forza Motorsport, Various
  • IGCD Rally Raid, 2016 

8.) Ford E-Series Ambulance

It’s unsurprising that an ambulance has made the top ten with so many games being action-adventure and usually involving casualties where this Ford E-Series would be necessary. The medical unit features in 86 games overall, including The Simpsons: Road Rage and racing titles such as Forza Motorsport. 

The most popular games this model features in are:

  • Carmageddon, 1997
  • Gran Turismo, Various 
  • The Simpsons: Road Rage, 2001
  • Forza Motorsport, Various  
  • Need for Speed, Various 
  • LEGO City Undercover, 2013

9.) 1987 Ferrari F40

Ferrari’s second car in the top ten is the 1987 F40 (Type F120), which features in 84 video games. It’s a mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive racing car, and the last Ferrari vehicle approved by its eponymous founder, Enzo Ferrari. Upon its release, this was the fastest and most powerful Ferrari car of all time, with a price tag of $400,000 to match (estimated to be $900,000 today). The Ferrari F40 was popular amongst Formula One drivers – a possible reason why it’s been included in various racing games such as Road Burner and Carmageddon. 

We’ve selected a few of the most popular games this model features in:

  • Grand Theft Auto, Various 
  • Carmageddon, TDR, 2000
  • Forza Motorsport, Various 
  • Need for Speed, Various
  • Road Burner, 2009
  • Asphalt 7: Heat, 2012 

10.) 1995 Ferrari F50

Just behind its predecessor, the 1995 Ferrari F50 features in 83 video games. The Italian sports car was first created in 1995 as a two-seater and features a Formula One-worthy engine. The car was created in collaboration with racing partners Dallara and Michelotto to take part in GT1-class racing. Only 349 were made, but that hasn’t stopped the F50 featuring heavily in all kinds of racing games. 

We’ve selected a few of the most popular games this model features in:

  • Carmageddon, 1997
  • Need for Speed, Various
  • True Crime: Streets of LA, 2003
  • Forza Motorsport, Various 
  • Burnout Legends, 2005 
  • Midnight Club: Street Racing,  2003
  • Road Burner, 2009
  • Asphalt, Various 
  • Gran Turismo, Various

Methodology and sources: The database ‘Internet Game Cars Database’ was used as a source for the make and model of cars seen in video games. The top ten car brands featured in video games most often was pulled from all the data that is listed on the site. The top ten car models that feature in video games was calculated by analysing every single appearance of the top ten car brands in video games and finding the models that appeared most frequently. Some models have been identified to a specific year of release, whereas some have been identified simply by the model. Where this happens, we have counted them separately.