Americans rely on their cars to take them everywhere. While some major metropolitan areas like New York City have an array of public transportation, others have fewer options. In rural areas across the country, owning a car might be the only transportation option.
Having access to a car, though, often requires a financial investment. Not all buyers step into a dealership or go online with the same financial security or resources. Everyone’s dream car is different, too. For some, the most affordable is the best. Others buy what they want. What is the best-selling car in America? Is there a single most popular vehicle that outsells all the others?
Americans have clear preferences in what they buy to take them on their life’s journeys. Here are the 10 best-selling cars in America in 2021 according to a list compiled by Car and Driver:
- Ford F-Series (726,004 sold)
- Ram Pickup (569,388 sold)
- Chevrolet Silverado (519,774 sold)
- Toyota RAV4 (407,739 sold)
- Honda CR-V (361,271 sold)
- Toyota Camry (313,795 sold)
- Nissan Rogue (285,602 sold)
- Jeep Grand Cherokee (264,444 sold)
- Toyota Highlander (264,128 sold)
- Honda Civic (263,787 sold)
Are Pickup Trucks the Most American Automobiles?
Pickup trucks represented the three most popular models during 2021. All three models were manufactured by American-based companies—Ford, Dodge and Chevrolet.
The popularity of the F-Series, though, might have been a little unexpected. Ford was hit hard by a computer chip shortage that was exacerbated by the pandemic, and the truck models were greatly affected. In fact, buyers might have had a difficult time finding available Ford trucks.
Car and Driver noted that Dodge edged out Chevrolet for the second spot. The company sold nearly 50,000 more units than Chevrolet.
What is the Best-Selling Car of All Time?
The best-selling car of all time actually didn’t make the list of the best-selling cars in America (for 2021). According to Goodwood Road & Racing, the Toyota Corolla is the best-selling car ever in the United States. More than 50 million Corollas have been sold!
The second best-selling vehicle in America is currently the number one selling model for 2021: the Ford F-Series. More than 41 million F-Series trucks have been sold!
About the Best-Selling Cars in America
For car buyers on the hunt for a new car, what is so special about the most popular cars in America? The answer could vary. The top selling vehicles were all trucks, and pickups are often the choice for towing, hauling and maybe even off-roading, too. Car buyers who want a rugged vehicle that can also be a workhorse may gravitate to the pickup.
The list from Car and Driver included 25 popular models. The 25th best-selling model was the Honda Pilot, which is a full-size sports utility vehicle that offers the much coveted third row of seating.
Here’s how the top 10 most popular vehicles stack up in price, safety and towing capacity (when applicable).
The F-Series includes the F-150 (a half-ton pickup), the F-250 (3/4 ton) and the heaviest model the F-350 and F-450. Prices go up with each model. However, the F-150 has a base price of $29,485. The F-150 can tow between 5,000 and 11,300 pounds. Each model includes different engine options, which bumps both the price and the towing power. Ford’s F-450 (the largest model) has a base price of $50,410. It offers the best towing capacity and has the power to pull between 21,200 and 24,200 pounds.
Like the F-Series, the Ram pickup line is offered in multiple options: Ram 1500, Ram 2500 and Ram 3500. The 1500 is the company’s half-ton model, and the 3500 is the full-ton pickup. Ram models are offered in different options and all have different price ranges. The lowest price 1500 is the Tradesman; it has a base price of $32,795 and offers a towing capacity of 6,150 and 8,290 pounds. The lowest priced 2500 is $35,425, and the lowest priced 3500 is $38,565. The Ram 3500 has a towing capacity of 13,490 and 14,970 pounds. Ram also offers a 4500 and 5500.
The Silverado lineup also includes a 1500, 2500 and 3500 model. Again, each model may have many different options. The 1500 can tow between 7,200 and 9,700 pounds and has a base price of $29,300. The 2500 has a base price of $35,300 and can pull up to 14,500 pounds. The Silverado 3500 has a base price of $36,500 and can tow up to 14,500 pounds.
The RAV4 is a smaller SUV that can seat up to five passengers. It has a base price of $26,050 and can tow between 1,500 and 3,500 pounds. The RAV4 is fairly fuel efficient for an SUV and can get up to 28 miles per gallon (MPG) in the city and 35 miles per gallon on the highway. The model received a Top Safety Pick safety rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
The CR-V is a competitor of the RAV4. It offers the same seating capacity but is priced a little lower at $25,350. It can drive up to 28 MPG in the city and up to 34 MPG on the highway. The CR-V can tow up to 1,500 pounds and received a Top Safety Pick rating from the IIHS.
The Camry is the most popular midsize sedan in the country. This model is fairly affordable, with a base price of $25,045. It also offers decent fuel efficiency, and can get 28 miles per gallon in the city and up to 39 miles per gallon on the highway. The 2021 Camry received a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS; this is the highest safety rating awarded.
The Nissan Rogue is a small SUV with a base price of $26,050—exactly comparable to the RAV4 in price. It can get up to 27 MPG in the city and up to 35 MPG on the highway and can tow up to 1,350 pounds. The 2021 Nissan Rogue received a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Jeep buyers can be incredibly loyal to their favorite brand, and a Jeep is a unique vehicle all its own. The Grand Cherokee is considered a mid-size SUV and has a base price of $33,885; it has a towing capacity of 3,500 to 7,200 pounds. Unfortunately, the Grand Cherokee isn’t very fuel efficient; it can drive up to 19 MPG in the city and 26 MPG on the highway. The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L model has space for up to seven passengers.
The Toyota Highlander has a base price of $35,085 and is classified as a mid-sized SUV. The Highlander has a towing capacity of up to 5,000 pounds and can get 21 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway. The 2021 Toyota Highlander received a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS. The Highlander can seat up to eight passengers! This might be a great pick for larger families.
The 10th most popular car in America is a smaller model, but it’s also affordable and fuel efficient. The Honda Civic has a base price of $21,250 and can get up to 32 MPG in the city and 42 MPG on the highway. The 2021 Honda Civic received a Top Safety Pick rating from the IIHS.
What about Electric Vehicles?
Electric models didn’t make the list of the 25 most popular cars in 2021. This could be because electric models aren’t popular in every area, and not every state offers quick or convenient access to charging stations. Some buyers might not have the budget or interest in these models.
However, the site Green Cars compiled a list of the 10 best-selling electric cars for 2021. The top five models were:
- Tesla Model Y
- Tesla Model 3
- Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUV
- Ford Mustang Mach-E
- Volkswagen ID.4
As more manufacturers start rolling out a variety of electric models and making a commitment to going fully electric, the popularity of electric vehicles might increase and become more affordable to a wider range of buyers. However, some buyers might still be more comfortable with their standard fuel-injected engine.
What was the Least Popular Car in America?
The least popular vehicle in the United States might shock you, as this vehicle is considered an icon and it is very reminiscent of ‘60s kitsch. Newsweek reported that in 2020 the Volkswagen Beetle was the most unpopular vehicle.
The Daily Drive ranked the cars that had the lowest sales in 2020. The worst selling vehicle ranked by sales through August (when the article was published) was the Fiat K900, which sold merely 125 units and only sold 390 units for all of 2019.
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