Best-Selling Cars of 2021 — So Far

© Ford Motor CompanyBest-Selling Cars — First Three Quarters of 2021
The first nine months of auto sales in 2021 are now on the books, and while there were signs that the auto industry was recovering after a tumultuous 2020, the ongoing chip shortage has severely affected new car supply. Several car companies are reporting declining sales for the month of September, as well as for the third quarter of 2021, although most of the vehicles on this list are showing positive sales for the year. Estimates for overall sales are around 13 percent compared with the first three quarters of 2020, at a total of approximately 11.7 million vehicles sold. What follows are the best-selling cars during the first nine months of 2021, according to numbers compiled from individual auto manufacturers’ sales reports.

© Hyundai Motor America25. Hyundai Elantra
2021 Sales: 106,106
Vs. 2020: 58.6%
Hyundai introduced an all-new Elantra for the 2021 model year and, based on sales increases this year, the new model has been well received. Built on Hyundai’s new K3 platform, the 2021 Elantra weighs less but possesses a stronger chassis with better efficiency and a lower center of gravity. The new Elantra is clearly distinguishable from previous generations thanks to an all-new wide grille that integrates with the headlights and turn signals. A long, low hood adds to the sporty coupelike silhouette. Inside, Elantra can be equipped with two connected 10.25-inch display interfaces under one pane of glass that gives the interior a futuristic feel. Elantra is available with the latest advanced safety features, and for the first time Hyundai offers this popular sedan with a fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience24. Nissan Sentra
2021 Sales: 110,821
Vs. 2020: 41.3%
Nissan’s stylish small sedan continues to make an admirable comeback in 2021, thanks to a strong upward sales trend in the third quarter. All new for the 2020 model year, Sentra features styling that matches the rest of its siblings with the latest safety features, more power, better handling and a range of other improvements. The entry-level Sentra S comes well equipped with air-conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, a 7.0-inch color touchscreen display, an AM/FM audio system with four speakers, a USB port, pushbutton start, a rearview monitor, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat and 16-inch steel wheels with covers. Also standard is Safety Shield 360, which includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, and a range of other advanced safety features.

© Ford Motor Company23. Ford Escape
2021 Sales: 111,791
Vs. 2020: -15.2%
At one time this small 5-seat crossover from Ford had been the best-selling American-brand SUV; however, sales have declined over the last year with little recovery so far in 2021. Lower, wider and longer than its predecessor, the Escape was all new for the 2020 model year sporting looks that are a significant departure from the previous generation. The front-end styling looks surprisingly similar to those on Ford’s now discontinued passenger cars, rather than the brand’s 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, available as a standard hybrid as well as a plug-in version.

© American Honda Motors22. Honda Pilot
2021 Sales: 114,667
Vs. 2020: 27.4%
As with most vehicles, the pandemic impacted sales of Honda’s largest SUV early in 2020; however, buyers have returned and sales are back on track for 2021. Honda refreshed the Pilot for the 2019 model year with more aggressive exterior styling, an available hands-free power tailgate, powertrain refinements, and an available new Display Audio touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Under the hood resides a 3.5-liter 280-horsepower V6 engine driving the front wheels; all-wheel drive is available. For 2021 the V6 gets paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission, paddle shifters and Idle Stop. A Special Edition Pilot gets black 20-inch wheels, black trim, wireless phone charging and a hands-free power liftgate.

© Hyundai Motor America21. Hyundai Tucson
2021 Sales: 116,047
Vs. 2020: 27.3%
Tucson sales in the U.S. were down last year but have rebounded nicely so far in 2021, and should continue to improve with the arrival of a redesigned 2022 model. The new Tucson is longer, wider and taller than the previous version, and has lower, wider headlights and daytime running lights that seem to be an extension of the grille. The profile reveals a chrome accent that begins at the mirror and follows the shape of the roof. Tucson’s standard powertrain is a 161-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with an 8-speed automatic transmission. An available hybrid drivetrain pairs a turbocharged 1.6-liter gasoline engine with a 44.2 kW electric motor and 1.49 kWh battery pack for an estimated total system output of 226 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience20. Subaru Outback
2021 Sales: 122,978
Vs. 2020: 15.6%
Sales of the popular Outback were strong during the first half of 2021, but the chip shortage has hit supply of this popular model hard – sales in September were down almost 60 percent compared to a year earlier. The latest Subaru built on the company’s global platform, the Outback underwent updates last year with fresh 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. For 2021 Subaru adds the Outback Wilderness to the lineup — the most rugged, capable Outback the company has ever built.

© Subaru of America19. Subaru Forester
2021 Sales: 132,254
Vs. 2020: -1.4%
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. Unfortunately the Forester is also falling prey to supply issues, and overall sales are slightly behind last year. 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 are steering-responsive LED headlights and high-beam headlight assist. Later this year Subaru will add the Wilderness to the Forester lineup, promising more capability with a tougher appearance.

© Mazda North America18. Mazda CX-5
2021 Sales: 137,343
Vs. 2020: 31.7%
Mazda CX-5 has made a big comeback from a slow-selling 2020, however September did see a slight decline vs. a year ago. When redesigned a few years ago, the CX-5 adopted the refined styling of the larger CX-9 and is offered in a range of trim levels including the luxurious Signature as well as the new Carbon Edition. For 2021 Mazda adds a new 10.25-inch center display as standard equipment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Also available is Mazda’s 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.

© General Motors17. Chevrolet Equinox
2021 Sales: 151,110
Vs. 2020: -21.2%
Chevrolet’s second-best-selling vehicle after the full-size Silverado pickup, Equinox sales are continuing to perform poorly compared to 12 months earlier. 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.

© American Honda Motor Co16. Honda Accord
2021 Sales: 157,988
Vs. 2020: 8.7%
Although still one of the best-selling passenger cars in America, the Honda Accord has not experienced great sales success since its last major redesign for the 2018 model year. While overall the Accord has seen a sales increase, chip supply issues have dragged sales down recently – September saw a decline of 40 percent compared to a year earlier. 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.

© Ford Motor Company15. Ford Explorer
2021 Sales: 160,174
Vs. 2020: 0.0%
Explorer is one of the few vehicles in America that posted positive gains in 2020, and sales are holding steady for 2021. Ford engineers updated the Explorer for the 2020 model year with 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 Explorer features Co-Pilot360 — a suite of advanced safety features including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and post-impact braking. For 2021 Ford adds the Explorer Timberline, a new trim level for the popular full-size SUV that offers a more rugged off-road appearance backed by engineering updates and new equipment to improve off-road performance.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience14. Jeep Wrangler
2021 Sales: 164,709
Vs. 2020: 9.7%
As with most vehicles on this list, the iconic Jeep Wrangler experienced a sales decline during 2020 when compared with 2019; however, sales have bounced back during the first three quarters of 2021. 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 model, 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. The latest Wrangler is much more refined on road without losing any of its legendary off-road capability. For 2021 Jeep adds two significant versions — the Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid and the 470-horsepower Wrangler Rubicon 392.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience13. Jeep Grand Cherokee
2021 Sales: 189,727
Vs. 2020: 24.1%
Jeep’s time-honored SUV is experiencing a healthy recovery after a difficult 2020. 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. Recently Jeep introduced an all-new Grand Cherokee with a host of new features and fresh styling. Also joining the lineup is the all-new Grand Cherokee L, the first-ever 3-row Grand Cherokee.

© General Motors12. GMC Sierra
2021 Sales: 191,186
Vs. 2020: 9.5%
The best-seller in the GMC lineup, the Sierra’s 2020 sales ended on a high note to buck the overall decline of U.S. auto sales. That upward trend continues well into 2021. Like its Chevrolet Silverado sibling, a completely new Sierra pickup rolled out for the 2019 model year. Larger in practically every dimension, the new Sierra boasts a range of comfort, convenience and safety features — one standout is the truck’s MultiPro Tailgate, which offers six positions for easier loading; it can also be used 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.

© Toyota Motor Sales, USA11. Toyota Tacoma
2021 Sales: 200,631
Vs. 2020: 22.6%
Toyota’s popular midsize pickup truck began staging a sales comeback at the end of 2020 that continues into 2021, although Tacoma sales were down 13 percent in September 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. Last year 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. For 2021 Toyota adds a Nightshade Edition and a Trail Special Edition to the Tacoma lineup.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience10. Toyota Highlander
2021 Sales: 207,564
Vs. 2020: 46.9%
All new for the 2020 model year, the Toyota Highlander had positively trending 2020 numbers until last March, when sales dropped in keeping with the rest of the market. However, the updated crossover has since staged a comeback. The fourth generation of this popular crossover gets built on Toyota’s New Global Architecture and is available with 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 Japan-based automaker also offers a Highlander Hybrid possessing great performance via a fuel-efficient gas-electric powertrain. For 2021 Toyota adds the Highlander XSE trim with bolder styling and sportier driving dynamics.

© American Honda Motors9. Honda Civic
2021 Sales: 216,575
Vs. 2020: 7.8%
Although Civic sales were down more than 30 percent in September versus a year earlier, overall the popular sedan continues to hold its own. 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. Now standard on all Civic trims, the Honda Sensing safety system includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist. Honda recently introduced an all-new 2022 Civic with an upgraded chassis, fresh styling and a range of advanced safety equipment.

© Toyota Motor Sales, USA8. Toyota Corolla
2021 Sales: 217,727
Vs. 2020: 31.0%
Toyota rolled out an all-new Corolla last year; although the new model didn’t result in a sales boost at the time, the 2021 sales year is showing improvement. The 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 an 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. For 2021 Toyota adds Android Auto to all Corolla variants, as well as a new Apex Edition.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience7. Nissan Rogue
2021 Sales: 234,647
Vs. 2020: 40.2%
Nissan’s small crossover sales have bounced back significantly after a slow 2020, and Rogue remains the best-selling vehicle in the Nissan lineup. The automaker aims to continue this trend via the 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 in the new model thanks to rear doors that open nearly 90 degrees — much wider than the previous generation.

© Toyota Motor Sales, USA6. Toyota Camry
2021 Sales: 256,769
Vs. 2020: 25.3%
As with most vehicles on this list, Camry experienced a steep decline in 2020 sales; however, this popular sedan still achieved its 19th year as the best-selling passenger car in America. The Camry is on track to retain the crown with a strong start to 2021. 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
2021 Sales: 290,140
Vs. 2020: 22.2%
Still the best-selling vehicle in the Honda lineup, the CR-V experienced a steep decline in September sales compared to a year earlier, but overall the CR-V is still standing strong. 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 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.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience4. Toyota RAV4
2021 Sales: 313,447
Vs. 2020: 3.6%
Although Toyota’s RAV4 experienced a slight sales decline last year, continued sales increases in 2021 mean this popular crossover retains its spot as the best-selling SUV in America. One of the original compact crossovers on the American market, the RAV4 was completely redone in 2019 with bold new styling, improved capability, increased 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 the lineup, offering better fuel efficiency as well as much higher performance.

© General Motors3. Chevrolet Silverado
2021 Sales: 414,389
Vs. 2020: -0.1%
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 pulling power, the Silverado 3500 HD bumped up to a max tow rating of 36,000 pounds for the 2021 model year.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2. Ram Pickup
2021 Sales: 434,772
Vs. 2020: 8.0%
Ram introduced an all-new 1500 pickup in 2019 and followed shortly thereafter with the Ram Heavy Duty. Sales continue to show strong results — the big truck has overtaken Chevrolet to become the second-best-selling vehicle in America thus far in 2021. The Ram features bold exterior styling, and the interior is one of the nicest on the market. Multiple 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.

© Ford Motor Company1. Ford F-Series
2021 Sales: 534,831
Vs. 2020: -9.2%
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. Even though sales are down slightly thus far in 2021, Ford’s large truck offering should easily retain its No. 1 spot since the new model year ushers in 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. Earlier in 2021 Ford debuted the first all-electric F-150 Lightning, which will arrive in showrooms early next year.

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