The Honda Torneo is the most stolen car in New Zealand, according to claims placed with AA Insurance.

The Nissan Elgrand van came in second, followed by three Subarus - the Impreza, Forester and Legacy - in third, fourth and fifth.

The Nissan Silvia, which has topped the list for the past three years has been knocked out of the top 10 altogether.

The information is based on AA Insurance's highest theft claims incidence over the last four years for cars covered under comprehensive insurance.

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Based on the theft rates of all car claims made over the past five years, the Auckland region was found to have the highest rate of stolen cars, followed by Canterbury, Wellington, Waikato. Otago appears to have the lowest vehicle theft rate.

Auckland's theft incidence rate of stolen cars was more than double that of Waikato and a vehicle is 28 times more likely to be stolen in Auckland than in Otago.

Older imported vehicles are more likely to be stolen than newer models; Sixty-six per cent of the vehicles on the list were manufactured between 1990 and 1999, while 33 per cent were manufactured between 2000 and 2010.

According to AA Insurance claims data, a car manufactured between 2000 and 2004 is three times more likely to be stolen than a car manufactured between 2005 and 2010. The average cost of a stolen vehicle in this top ten is $5,101.

"New Zealand has a large fleet of ageing, second-hand imported cars so it's no surprise that these older models, which have few or no security features compared to newer vehicles, are easy targets for thieves," said Martin Fox, Head of Operations, AA Insurance. "Installing visible anti-theft devices such as a steering lock or flashing car alarm can reduce the risk of theft. Our claims data shows that a vehicle with no alarm is 1.3 times more likely to be stolen than a vehicle with an alarm."

Parking a car in a garage also reduces the chances of it being stolen, with those parked on the road five times more likely to be stolen. Those parked in carports are as likely to be stolen as those in a driveway.

Respondents to the 2011 AA Insurance Drivers Index, a poll of 3,550 Kiwi drivers, found the majority have had their car stolen from a public car park, closely followed by their residential street or a street adjacent to where they live.

The survey also found 50 per cent of drivers regularly leave their cars unlocked when parked outside their house while 12.9 per cent admitted to regularly leaving a vehicle unlocked no matter where it was parked.

Top 10 Stolen Cars (Source: AA Insurance claims data 2007-2011)

1. Honda Torneo

2. Nissan Elgrand

3. Subaru Impreza

4. Subaru Forester

5. Subaru Legacy

6. Nissan Skyline

7. Nissan Presea

8. Mitsubishi Libero

9. Nissan Cefiro

10. Nissan Sunny

AA Insurance tips for preventing car theft:

Always lock your car, even when parking at home

Keep all valuables and your car keys out of sight

Park in a well-lit street or secure car park

Install visible security such as an alarm light or steering lock

Never leave your car running when unattended