The News Wheel’s Most Popular Posts for 2014
You may or may not be aware, but today is the last day of 2014. Maybe you’ve had an epic year and worry that 2015 could never live up to your expectations. Or maybe your year has been crappy and you’re looking forward to starting a fresh new year. However you feel about the beginning of a new year, you’ll never escape the thousands of end-of-year lists that will appear on the interwebs today. And so, because we know you love lists, here is a comprehensive one featuring The News Wheel’s most popular posts for 2014.
All year long, we got to hear snippets about the new, incredible 2015 Ford F-150 before its release. The redesigned truck was to be built from aluminum-alloy rather than steel, which would increase both its efficiency and power due to its lighter weight. In July, Ford uploaded an image of the truck’s speedometer to its product page, showing the vehicle averaging 18.8 mpg. This was before we knew anything regarding the truck’s fuel efficiency, so it was a pretty exciting revelation for us all. Turns out, the production F-150 returns up to 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway, which is almost unbelievable for a full-size pickup.
Laurel Coppock—aka Jan from the Toyota commercials—was a huge hit on our website in 2014 and sparked numerous posts based on what our users were searching for. One of the searches that led people to The News Wheel this year was speculation over whether or not Jan had popped out her sprog. Using our detective skills, we decided to answer the important question. Turns out, Jan did have her baby. How about that.
Yep, Jan was pregnant alright. We heard speculation that she might be calling her baby either Camry or Sienna, but we came up with some suggestions of our own based on Laurel Coppock’s previous roles (she wasn’t born “Toyota Jan,” you know). Our ideas were centered on Coppock’s cameos in hit shows such as The Office and Arrested Development, but whether or not she took our advice remains to be seen.
Another fun thing to come out of 2014 was Lincoln’s use of Matthew McConaughey to try and revamp its image. The True Detective actor starred in a number of commercials where he sat in Lincoln vehicles and acted all intense and stuff. The ad campaign sparked a series of parodies, including this Jim Carrey one that appeared on Saturday Night Live. While it wasn’t our favorite parody (we much preferred Ellen DeGeneres’ versions), it was a hit with our readers.
The release of the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat was one of the highlights for muscle car fans in 2014. Jay Leno was no exception. In an episode of his show, Jay Leno’s Garage, Leno and Dodge president/CEO Tim Kuniskis take the Hellcat out for a spin to show just what the most powerful muscle car ever made can do. Jay loved it, and so did our readers.
Tesla Motors sparked a lot of chatter in 2014, angering traditional car dealers with its model of selling directly to the customer. Tesla Motors CEO, Elon Musk, also sparked chatter with his random comments about self-driving cars, flying cars, and even giving us “the D.” In exchange for all this publicity, Musk was treated to a cameo on South Park, which we covered and you loved.
After the popularity of the initial Toyota Jan post, we decided to look at the woman behind the character. It was slightly creepy, but we managed to uncover information about Laurel Coppock’s past roles, her personal life, and her time at Toyota. And it appears that the people were hungry for this information, since it became the fourth most-read article on our website in 2014.
There we were, searching the interwebs for interesting car news, when we stumbled upon this story about police advising the removal of bumper stickers and stick figure decals from cars. Why, you ask? Because these stickers can reveal a lot about you, and a criminal who knows your daily routine could use the information against you and steal your things. This article went viral on Facebook thanks to a Canadian radio station, making it our third most popular post all year.
Ah, the article that sparked it all. The Toyota Jan story was something we discovered and wrote about, figuring it was worth a story but not expecting much to come from it. How wrong we were. Since its publication in May, the original Toyota Jan article has topped our most-read posts list every single month, and to this day we still get search queries about Toyota’s superstar and her pregnancy. So thanks, Toyota Jan, for an incredible year.
And now we get to the most-read post on our website for 2014. Incredibly, the winning article was published mid-December, but it experienced enough virality that it even overtook the Queen herself, Toyota Jan. The story was about an Australian couple in their golden years who almost died when they got stuck inside their new Mazda3, which was equipped with keyless entry. The couple had left the key fob outside the car, and, rather than the obvious—pulling on the door handle and escaping—the couple stayed inside the car for more than 12 hours. When they were found, they were less than an hour from death, according to emergency services. Of course, people love reading about other people doing stupid things like this, so it’s not surprising to see such a post as our most-read article of the year.
Catherine Hiles is a native Brit currently based in Dayton, Ohio. Don’t ask how that happened. Cat has written about a variety of subjects, from dog training to fashion, and counts running and cooking among her hobbies.
Cat lives with her husband, Ben; their daughter, Rose; and their collection of animals, including an energetic mutt, an elderly basset hound, and a jerk cat. See more articles by Cat.