Best-Selling Cars of 2020

© Ford Motor CompanyBest-Selling Cars of 2020
The automotive sales figures for calendar year 2020 are now on the books, and it’s no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on the auto industry, with almost every car company recording lower sales than calendar 2019. Although some recovery occurred during the latter half of the year with a few models recording strong gains, overall sales are estimated to be down around 15 percent compared with 2019, at a total of approximately 14 million vehicles sold. What follows are the best-selling cars of 2020, according to numbers compiled from individual auto manufacturers’ sales reports.

© Toyota Motor Sales USA25. Toyota 4Runner
2020 Sales: 129,052
Vs. 2019: –2.2 %
After 35 years 4Runner remains one of the few truck-based SUVs on the market. This highly capable contender has a loyal following and thanks to strong December sales the 4Runner squeaks onto this 2020 best-sellers list. The 4Runner continues to be powered by a 4.0-liter V6 engine producing 270 horsepower and 278 lb-ft of torque, delivered through a 5-speed automatic transmission. New for 2021, the 4Runner Trail Edition is based on the SR5 trim with a choice of 2WD or 4WD. The 4Runner Trail Edition includes black seating with tan stitching, all-weather floor liners, dark gray TRD Off-Road wheels, a Yakima LoadWarrior rooftop cargo basket, a custom 40-quart cooler and a sliding cargo tray.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience24. Ford Transit
2020 Sales: 131,556
Vs. 2019: –14.5%
Like almost every other vehicle on his list, Ford Transit sales were down for calendar year 2020 when compared to the previous year; however, the full-size Transit had a slight sales increase in the fourth quarter. Transit remains the best-selling van in America, outselling competitors by a considerable margin. Much of its success can be attributed to its versatility — Transit can be configured in almost 60 ways thanks to two available wheelbases, three roof heights and 150, 250 and 350 variants. The Transit seats up to 15 passengers, or as a cargo van offers a total of 487 cubic feet of space. With the high-roof option, a person 6 feet 5 inches tall can stand upright inside.

© FCA US23. Jeep Cherokee
2020 Sales: 135,855
Vs. 2019: –29.0 %
Jeep Cherokee sales were declining at the end of 2019, and the situation did not improve during 2020. Cherokee returned to the lineup as a 2014 model after a 12-year hiatus and, like all Jeep products, this popular SUV delivers legendary off-road capability with available features including a lifted off-road suspension with skidplates, tow hooks, Selec-Terrain traction control, Jeep Active Drive Lock with rear locker and Selec-Speed Crawl Control. Cherokee recently received updated styling as well as an upgraded interior, increased cargo room and a new 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. For 2021 the Cherokee gets new standard features and will be offered in a high-end version called Latitude LUX.

© Nissan North America22. Nissan Altima
2020 Sales: 137,988
Vs. 2019: –34.0 %
Once Nissan’s best-selling car, the Altima experienced a decline over the last few years, allowing the hot-selling Rogue crossover to become the top-selling Nissan in America. The automaker seemed to be reversing Altima’s sales drop thanks to a new model introduced for the 2019 model year, but then a tumultuous 2020 adversely affected sales. One of only a few passenger cars left on this best-sellers list, the Altima received major styling updates with a look that fits with the rest of the Nissan lineup. Two engines are offered, including the first production engine that uses variable compression — a lower compression ratio provides more power, while a higher ratio gets better fuel economy.

© Mazda North America21. Mazda CX-5
2020 Sales: 146,420
Vs. 2019: –5.3 %
Mazda CX-5 sales were up slightly in 2019, posting the fourth consecutive year of record sales. That trend continued into 2020 until the pandemic struck, and then CX-5 sales took a downturn along with most new vehicles. Although overall sales are still down, the CX-5 had a 14 percent increase in December sales versus 2019. When redesigned a few years ago, the CX-5 adopted the refined styling of the larger CX-9. For 2019 Mazda added the Grand Touring Reserve and Signature trim levels, both powered by the turbocharged SKYACTIV-G 2.5T engine rated at 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque with premium fuel and i-ACTIV all-wheel drive as standard equipment.

© Subaru of America20. Subaru Outback
2020 Sales: 153,294
Vs. 2019: –15.4 %
Despite the premiere of a new Outback for the 2020 model year, its sales are not immune to the current slump. That said, December was a strong sales month for this crossover wagon, posting a 4 percent increase versus a year ago. The latest Subaru built on the company’s global platform, the 2020 Outback received updated exterior styling, many new features, a greatly improved interior, updated powertrains and the latest version of EyeSight — Subaru’s suite of advanced safety technology. EyeSight includes adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane departure warning and lane-keeping assist. All Outbacks feature Subaru’s Symmetrical all-wheel drive with active torque vectoring, vehicle dynamics control and a generous 8.7-inches of ground clearance.

© Subaru of America19. Subaru Forester
2020 Sales: 176,996
Vs. 2019: –1.8 %
Subaru introduced an all-new Forester in 2019, and it is one of the few models that had some sales success during a difficult 2020, with only a slight decline versus 2019. The new fifth-generation Forester is the roomiest version ever offered with a 1.2-inch-longer wheelbase, more rear-seat legroom and rear cargo capacity. The Forester also offers improvements in crash protection, comfort, quietness and driving dynamics. Power comes from an updated direct-injection 2.5-liter Boxer engine that produces 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. Subaru’s EyeSight driver-assist technology is now standard on the Forester, as well as a new safety feature called rear seat reminder.

© Ford Motor Company18. Ford Escape
2020 Sales: 178,496
Vs. 2019: –26.1 %
This small 5-seat crossover from Ford had been the best-selling American-brand SUV for many years, but a sales decline in 2019 continued into 2020, dropping Escape down this list. Lower, wider and longer than its predecessor, the all-new 2020 Escape has looks that are a significant departure from the previous generation. The front end features an all-new grille surprisingly similar to those on the Focus and Fusion passenger cars, rather than Ford SUVs. The Escape is available with a choice of four engines; the standard unit is a 3-cylinder 1.5-liter EcoBoost producing 180 horsepower. Ford also brings back the Escape Hybrid — the new model is available as a standard hybrid as well as a plug-in version.

© American Honda Motors17. Honda Accord
2020 Sales: 199,458
Vs. 2019: –25.5 %
Although still one of the best-selling passenger cars in America, the Honda Accord has not experienced great sales success since its redesign for the 2018 model year. However, there are signs of recovery — December 2020 sales were almost even with sales from December 2019. Available in a range of trim levels, the refreshed 2021 Accord has updated styling and additional safety features. Inside, an 8-inch display screen is now standard on all trim levels, as are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The fuel-efficient Accord Hybrid gets powertrain updates to improve throttle response while still delivering close to 50 mpg.

© FCA US16. Jeep Wrangler
2020 Sales: 201,311
Vs. 2019: –11.7 %
Like most vehicles on this list, the iconic Jeep Wrangler experienced a sales decline during 2020 when compared with 2019; however, with sales down a mere 1.7 percent for the fourth quarter versus a year earlier, that number could almost be considered a success given the current conditions. The latest-generation Wrangler premiered for the 2018 model year — the first redesign of this iconic off-roader in 10 years. Jeep stayed true to the original, retaining the 7-slot grille and round headlights, although the grille is taller and wider, and the big headlights have a stylish LED halo around the outer bezel. For 2021 Jeep adds two significant versions — the Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid and the 470-horsepower Wrangler Rubicon 392.

© FCA US15. Jeep Grand Cherokee
2020 Sales: 209,786
Vs. 2019: –13.7 %
The Jeep Grand Cherokee was leading a sales charge at Jeep with record numbers in 2019 — this trend would have likely continued had the pandemic not occurred. The 5-seat Grand Cherokee retains its tradition of offering impressive off-road capability in an attractive package. Available in several trim levels and 4WD systems, the Grand Cherokee line ranges from the off-road-focused Trailhawk to the luxurious Summit. Jeep also offers the high-performance Trackhawk that possesses a staggering 707 horsepower. For 2020 Jeep added more standard equipment across the Grand Cherokee lineup, as well as the latest advanced safety features now available on all trims. Later this year an all-new 2021 Grand Cherokee L with seating for up to seven passengers will start arriving in showrooms.

© Toyota Motor Sales USA14. Toyota Highlander
2020 Sales: 212,276
Vs. 2019: –11.3 %
All new for the 2020 model year, the Toyota Highlander had upwardly trending 2020 sales until March, when things dropped in keeping with the rest of the market. However, the updated crossover has since staged a comeback — December numbers were a 31 percent increase versus a year earlier. The fourth generation of this popular crossover is built on Toyota’s New Global Architecture. The new Highlander has fresh styling with a bold black grille, available premium projector headlights and a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces a plentiful 295 horsepower and 263 lb-ft of torque — enough power to provide a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds when properly equipped. The Highlander line also offers a Hybrid possessing great performance via a fuel-efficient gas-electric powertrain.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience13. Ford Explorer
2020 Sales: 226,217
Vs. 2019: 20.9 %
The Ford Explorer continues as a fixture on this best-seller list for almost 30 years. Although sales were down in 2019, the arrival of the all-new 2020 Explorer helped bolster numbers during 2020 — in fact, Explorer is one of the few vehicles in America posting positive gains for the year. The updated Explorer gets built on an all-new rear-wheel-drive flexible architecture designed to improve ride, handling and overall capability. Ford also added two variants to the Explorer lineup — the Hybrid and the ST; the latter boasts a 400-horseower EcoBoost engine and is responsible for almost 20 percent of total Explorer sales. The new Explorer has Co-Pilot360 — a suite of safety features including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, post-impact braking, automatic high-beam headlights and a rearview camera with a built-in lens washer.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience12. Nissan Rogue
2020 Sales: 227,935
Vs. 2019: –35.0 %
Nissan’s small crossover sales were down 15 percent in 2019 and that downward trend continued into 2020; however, the Rogue still remains the best-selling vehicle in the Nissan lineup. The automaker hopes to regain some lost ground with an all-new 2021 Rogue. Built on a new platform with fresh styling, advanced safety features and a family-friendly interior, the latest Rogue a features a long list of standard equipment across all trim levels including LED headlights and taillights and alloy wheels, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Access to the rear seat improves for 2021 thanks to rear doors that open nearly 90 degrees — much wider than the previous generation.

© Toyota Motor Sales USA11. Toyota Corolla
2020 Sales: 237,178
Vs. 2019: –22.2 %
Toyota recently celebrated the 1 millionth Corolla built in the brand’s Mississippi assembly plant. The automaker introduced an all-new Corolla for the 2020 model year; however, the current situation has kept this updated model from having much positive effect on sales. The 2020 Corolla — along with a Corolla Hybrid — features updated styling with a wider stance, as well as signature LED headlights and a range of new features. Three powertrains are available, including a very efficient hybrid system that has a U.S. EPA rating of more than 50 mpg. Toyota equips all levels of the new Corolla with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0. This suite of advanced safety features includes automatic emergency braking, lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic high-beam headlights and road sign recognition.

© Toyota Motor Sales, USA10. Toyota Tacoma
2020 Sales: 238,806
Vs. 2019: –4.0 %
Toyota’s popular midsize pickup truck finished 2019 with record numbers, marking two consecutive years of best-ever sales. Although sales dipped earlier this year, the Tacoma bounced back with a nearly 40 percent sales increase in December versus a year earlier. The midsize pickup had its last full redesign for the 2016 model year showcasing a more aggressive look, a new V6 engine, a smoother ride and stellar off-road capability. The Tacoma is available in several configurations with two cab styles, two bed lengths, five trim levels and a choice of 2WD or 4WD. For 2020 the Tacoma received a new grille and wheel designs for most trim levels, as well as an upgraded audio system with a larger touchscreen and Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility.

© General Motors9. GMC Sierra
2020 Sales: 253,106
Vs. 2019: 8.9 %
The best-seller in the GMC lineup, the Sierra’s 2019 sales ended on a high note and continued to trend upward in 2020, bucking the overall decline of U.S. auto sales. Like its Chevrolet Silverado sibling, the Sierra pickup was completely new for the 2019 model year. Larger in practically every dimension, the new Sierra boasts a range of new comfort, convenience and safety features. One standout is the truck’s MultiPro Tailgate that offers six positions for easier loading, as well as use as a standing workstation. A range of engine / transmission options are available, including a new 2.7-liter turbo and a new turbodiesel powertrain. For 2021 GMC expands Sierra’s standard features and increases the trailer-towing capability to 36,000 pounds on properly equipped 3500 HD variants.

© American Honda Motors8. Honda Civic
2020 Sales: 261,225
Vs. 2019: –19.8 %
Although calendar-year 2020 sales were down, Civic remains one of the best-selling passenger cars in America. The tenth generation Civic debuted early in 2017, built on a new vehicle architecture with improved driving dynamics and a more spacious interior. Last year Civic received a light refresh and a range of new features, as well as the new Civic Sport trim. The Honda Sensing safety system is now standard on all trims, which includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist. Late last year Honda unveiled a prototype of the upcoming 2022 Civic, due to arrive in production form later this year.

© General Motors7. Chevrolet Equinox
2020 Sales: 270,994
Vs. 2019: –21.7 %
Chevrolet’s second-best-selling vehicle after the full-size Silverado pickup, the Equinox had record sales in 2019, marking the second year in a row for this feat. Then came 2020 with the pandemic and other national emergencies. Equinox stands out in the crowded crossover market with projector-beam headlights, LED running lights, wider horizontal taillights and LED taillights for upper trim levels. Inside, the Equinox features a down-and-away instrument panel with a low windshield base for improved outward visibility. Two engine choices for Equinox are a 170-horsepower 1.5-liter turbo or a 252-horse 2.0-liter turbo teamed with a 9-speed automatic transmission. Look for an all-new 2022 Equinox in showrooms during the latter part of 2021.

© Toyota Motor Sales USA6. Toyota Camry
2020 Sales: 294,348
Vs. 2019: –12.7 %
As with most vehicles on this list, Camry experienced a steep decline in 2020 sales; however, December sales were up by more than 15 percent compared to a year earlier, which helped this popular sedan achieve its 19th year as the best-selling passenger car in America. Toyota introduced the eighth-generation Camry a few years ago, and for 2021 this best-seller gets updated exterior styling, interior improvements, and the latest version of the company’s Safety Sense 2.0 suite of safety features. For those seeking even more performance, Toyota offers the Camry TRD with performance suspension and brakes, more aggressive styling and a cat-back exhaust system.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience5. Honda CR-V
2020 Sales: 333,502
Vs. 2019: –13.2 %
The Honda CR-V achieved record sales for 2019, and prior to March 2020 the popular crossover was selling on the same pace as the previous year. Still the best-selling vehicle in the Honda lineup, the CR-V’s success lies in its ability to offer consumers a comfortable, small crossover with great utility and excellent fuel economy. Last year Honda refreshed the CR-V’s exterior styling and added the first hybrid to the lineup. Similar to the Honda Accord Hybrid, the all-wheel-drive CR-V Hybrid uses a 2-motor hybrid powertrain that teams two electric motors with a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle engine for a combined output of 212 horsepower, making it the most powerful variant in the CR-V lineup.

© Toyota Motor Sales USA4. Toyota RAV4
2020 Sales: 430,387
Vs. 2019: –3.9 %
Toyota’s RAV4 experienced record sales in 2019, and this popular crossover was on track to continue the upward trend for 2020 until the pandemic changed that direction. However, sales recovered as the year progressed — December sales numbers increased 13.5 percent versus a year earlier. One of the original compact crossovers on the American market, the RAV4 was completely redone in 2019 with bold new styling, improved capability, better performance and an array of new safety and convenience features. In addition to the updated styling and efficient powertrains, the RAV4 features automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and lane departure alert as standard equipment. For 2021 Toyota adds the RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid to its lineup, offering better fuel efficiency as well as much higher performance.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience3. Ram Truck
2020 Sales: 563,676
Vs. 2019: –11.0 %
Ram introduced an all-new 1500 pickup in 2019 and followed shortly thereafter with the Ram Heavy Duty. These two offerings resulted in the fourth consecutive year of record sales — a feat that probably would have been repeated in 2020 had the pandemic not affected things. The Ram features bold exterior styling, and the interior is one of the nicest on the market. Six trim levels are available, as well as a new lineup of powertrains that includes a powerful diesel and eventually a hybrid system. The updated Ram Heavy Duty now boasts a new diesel with 1,075 lb-ft of torque providing a 37,100-pound towing capacity. For 2021 Ram adds the high-performance 702-horsepower TRX, designed for tackling off-road terrain at high speeds.

© General Motors2. Chevrolet Silverado
2020 Sales: 594,094
Vs. 2019: 3.2 %
Chevrolet introduced an all-new Silverado 1500 for the 2019 model year; although sales were down at the start of 2020, the pickup finished the fateful year as one of the few vehicles showing positive growth year over year. The updated Silverado launched with fresh styling as well as improved performance and capability. Chevrolet’s best-seller can be configured in hundreds of ways with different cab sizes, bed lengths, drive systems and trim levels that range from the basic Work Truck to the luxurious and powerful High Country. With seven different engine / transmission combinations, the Silverado 1500 can be set up for whatever task necessary — including towing up to 13,400 pounds when the need arises. For those who require additional towing power, the Silverado 3500 HD bumps up to a max tow rating of 36,000 pounds for the 2021 model year.

© Ford Motor Company1. Ford F-Series
2020 Sales: 787,422
Vs. 2019: –12.2 %
With annual sales that far outpace the competition, the Ford F-Series extended its streak in 2020 as the best-selling vehicle in America for 39 years — 44 years as best-selling truck. Sales in 2020 were down slightly from last year, yet certainly strong enough to keep Ford’s large truck offering in the No. 1 spot. This trend is unlikely to end anytime soon since Ford comes to market with a completely new 2021 F-150. With fresh styling, an updated interior, a new hybrid powertrain, a range of innovative and versatile new features and a class-leading 14,000-pound towing capacity, the 2021 Ford F-150 will likely continue the F-Series juggernaut.

Data: Automaker sales releases

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