Best-Selling Cars of 2021 — So Far

© Ford Motor CompanyBest-Selling Cars of 2021 . . . So Far
The first three months of auto sales in 2021 are now on the books, and there are clearly signs that the auto industry is recovering after a tumultuous 2020. Several car companies are reporting record sales for the month of March, as well as for the first quarter of 2021. Overall sales are estimated to be up around eight percent compared with Q1 2020, at a total of approximately 3.8 million vehicles sold. What follows are the best-selling cars of 2021 during the first three months of the new year, according to numbers compiled from individual auto manufacturers’ sales reports.

© Nissan North America25. Nissan Sentra
2021 Sales: 37,238
Vs. 2020: 55.9 %
As with many new vehicle sales in 2020, Nissan’s Sentra took a steep dive last year, although the stylish small sedan is making a nice comeback in the first months of 2021. All new for the 2020 model year, Sentra’s styling now matches the rest of its siblings with added 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.

© Toyota Motor Sales USA24. Toyota 4Runner
2021 Sales: 37,263
Vs. 2020: 32.7 %
After 35 years the Toyota 4Runner remains one of the few truck-based SUVs still on the market. This highly capable contender has a loyal following, and thanks to strong March sales the 4Runner remains one of Toyota’s best-selling models. 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.

© FCA US23. Jeep Cherokee
2021 Sales: 37,923
Vs. 2020: 12.6 %
Like the rest of the Jeep lineup, the Cherokee experienced a significant sales improvement during the first quarter of 2021 compared to a year earlier. 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.

© General Motors22. Chevrolet Traverse
2021 Sales: 38,037
Vs. 2020: 26.4 %
The Chevrolet Traverse had strong sales at the end of 2020, and the three-row crossover continues that trend into the first quarter of 2021. Last year Chevrolet debuted a refreshed 2021 Traverse scheduled for release last fall, but the launch has been pushed back to this year as a 2022 model. For 2021 Traverse is offered in seven trim levels: L, LS, LT Cloth, LT Leather, RS, Premier and High Country. Chevrolet Infotainment 3 and an HD rear vision camera are standard. The standard engine is a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 310 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque, combined with a 9-speed automatic transmission with either front- or all-wheel drive. The Traverse RS is offered with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that delivers 257 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission.

© Mazda North America21. Mazda CX-5
2021 Sales: 40,750
Vs. 2020: 15.7 %
Mazda CX-5 has made a big comeback from a slow-selling 2020 — in March the sporty crossover’s numbers were up more 90 percent compared to March of 2020. 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.

© Ford Motor Company20. Ford Escape
2021 Sales: 40,990
Vs. 2020: –14.8 %
This small 5-seat crossover from Ford had been the best-selling American-brand SUV for many years, although a sales decline last year continues into 2021 to drop 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 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 — the new model is available as a standard hybrid as well as a plug-in version.

© Subaru of America19. Subaru Outback
2021 Sales: 41,503
Vs. 2020: 27.3 %
Subaru has bounced back nicely from its sales slump in 2020 — March turned out to be a record month for the Japanese automaker. Sales of the popular Outback almost doubled in March versus a year earlier. The latest Subaru built on the company’s global platform, the redesigned 2020 Outback moves into this new model year with 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. Later this spring Subaru will introduce the 2022 Outback Wilderness with bold styling and more off road capability.

© American Honda Motors18. Honda Accord
2021 Sales: 46,591
Vs. 2020: –1.1 %
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 — March sales increased more than 40 percent year over year. 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.

© Subaru of America17. Subaru Forester
2021 Sales: 47,694
Vs. 2020: 22.0 %
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. Sales have certainly recovered for 2021 — the Forester’s March sales beat the previous year by 123 percent. 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.

© FCA US16. Jeep Wrangler
2021 Sales: 49,646
Vs. 2020: 25.2 %
Like most vehicles on this list, the iconic Jeep Wrangler experienced a sales decline during 2020 when compared with 2019; however, sales have bounced back nicely during the first quarter 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, 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
2021 Sales: 55,198
Vs. 2020: 10.2 %
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is leading the sales charge at Jeep with 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. 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. Earlier this year Jeep debuted an all-new three-row 2021 Grand Cherokee L, with a two-row replacement expected to follow soon.

© American Honda Motors14. Honda Civic
2021 Sales: 55,903
Vs. 2020: –12.6 %
Although Civic sales are down for the first quarter of 2021, Honda’s popular passenger car is beginning to exhibit signs of recovery: March numbers were up 34 percent versus the previous year. 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 Motors13. GMC Sierra
2021 Sales: 62,917
Vs. 2020: 18.7 %
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 continued into the first quarter of 2021. 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.

© General Motors12. Chevrolet Equinox
2021 Sales: 63,218
Vs. 2020: –13.9 %
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.

© Toyota Motor Sales USA11. Toyota Highlander
2021 Sales: 63,831
Vs. 2020: 33.3 %
All new for the 2020 model year, the Toyota Highlander had upwardly trending 2020 sales until last March, when things dropped in keeping with the rest of the market. However, the updated crossover has since staged a comeback — March 2021 sales were up 161 percent compared to March of 2020. 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 Highlander line also offers a 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.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience10. Ford Explorer
2021 Sales: 65,244
Vs. 2020: 15.9 %
The Ford Explorer continues as a fixture on this best-seller list for almost 30 years. Explorer is one of the few vehicles in America that posted positive gains in 2020, and that trend is continuing 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 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.

© Toyota Motor Sales, USA9. Toyota Tacoma
2021 Sales: 66,449
Vs. 2020: 23.9 %
Toyota’s popular midsize pickup truck began staging a sales comeback at the end of 2020 that continues into 2021 — March sales were up almost 70 percent compared to 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.

© Toyota Motor Sales USA8. Toyota Corolla
2021 Sales: 72,520
Vs. 2020: 4.8 %
Toyota introduced an all-new Corolla for the 2020 model year. Although the new model didn’t result in a sales boost last year, the 2021 sales year is already looking up — Corolla numbers were up 61 percent in March versus a year earlier. 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 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. For 2021 Toyota adds Android Auto to all Corolla variants as well as a new Apex Edition.

© Toyota Motor Sales, USA7. Toyota Camry
2021 Sales: 78,151
Vs. 2020: 1.2 %
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. 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 Experience6. Nissan Rogue
2021 Sales: 86,720
Vs. 2020: 45.2 %
Nissan’s small crossover sales have bounced back nicely from a slow 2020, and the Rogue remains the best-selling vehicle in the Nissan lineup. The automaker hopes to continue this trend 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.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience5. Honda CR-V
2021 Sales: 93,766
Vs. 2020: 31.7 %
Still the best-selling vehicle in the Honda lineup, the CR-V is having great success so far this year; in March sales of the small crossover increased 123 percent versus March 2020. 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
2021 Sales: 114,255
Vs. 2020: 17.0 %
Toyota’s RAV4 experienced a slight sales decline last year, but with an 89 percent increase in month-over-month sales in March 2021 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, 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.

© General Motors3. Chevrolet Silverado
2021 Sales: 126,591
Vs. 2020: -12.5 %
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.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2. Ram Truck
2021 Sales: 148,836
Vs. 2020: 15.6 %
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.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience1. Ford F-Series
2021 Sales: 203,797
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. Based on strong sales so 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.

Data: Automaker sales releases

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