Tuesday, July 5, 2022
News Most popular cars in Canada in 2021

Most popular cars in Canada in 2021

A surprise ending to a fierce battle for first place.


  • The Honda Civic prevailed and remained tops among the most popular cars in Canada.

  • Volkswagen Golf dropped from 5th to 10th place, Mazda3 dropped from 6th to 8th.

  • Toyota Camry, Volkswagen Jetta and Tesla Model 3 all moved up two spots on the list.


Crossovers and pickup trucks are taking over the automotive market, as consumers are flocking to these bigger and—in most cases—less efficient vehicles instead of being content with a compact or midsize sedan, a hatchback or a station wagon. As a result, the most popular cars in Canada don’t sell nearly as well as utility vehicles.

And as the years go by, the passenger car category’s take rate gets smaller and smaller. Although sales were up 0.8%, from 320,840 to 323, 407 units, it represented 19.5% of the Canadian market in 2021, compared to 20.7% in during the 2020 calendar year. Meanwhile, pickup trucks accounted for 26.3% in 2021, and SUVs and crossovers made up the remaining 54.2%.

10. Volkswagen Golf and Golf GTI (8,589 units sold)

The Volkswagen Golf is dead, but the Golf GTI lives on. Still, as good as it is, the performance-infused variant of Volkswagen’s compact hatchback won’t be able stay on the top 10 list for long, and we’re actually surprised it even finished in 10th place. Sales were down by 70.3% in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to 2020, and by 34.5% through the year. At the same period last year, the Volkswagen Golf was in 5th place.

9. Nissan Sentra (10,017 units sold)

Since its redesign, the Nissan Sentra has become popular again, and lands in 9th place, up one spot compared to last year. Sales were down 24.4% in Q4, a higher drop than the 17.6% decrease across the entire passenger car market, but throughout the year, the Sentra saw its sales increase by 47.2%.

8. Mazda3 (11,804 units sold)

As customers continue to move over to the brand’s growing line of crossovers, Mazda3 sales have slowly been fading. It recorded a 21.1% drop in Q4 and a 7.6% decrease overall in 2021, pushing the sporty compact down from 6th to 8th place among the most popular cars in Canada.

7. Toyota Camry (11,896 units sold)

The only midsize sedan in the top 10, the Toyota Camry saw its sales slide by only 1.8% in the fourth quarter of 2021, and increase by 16.9% throughout the year. The Camry climbed from 9th to 7th place as a result.

6. Volkswagen Jetta (12,585 units sold)

2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

Now that the regular Volkswagen Golf has been discontinued in Canada, the Volkswagen Jetta had to pick up the slack, and it did. Sales were up by 9.1% in the fourth quarter of the year, and up by 19.3% in 2021 overall. It moved up from 8th to 6th place.

5. Tesla Model 3 (estimated 13,000 units sold)

2021-Tesla-Model-3
2021 Tesla Model 3 | Photo: Tesla

The fully electric Tesla Model 3 climbed from 7th to 5th place, with an estimated 14.3% increase in sales throughout the year. The EV automaker doesn’t publish exact sales figures. Now that the Model 3 is no longer available for the Canadian iZEV electric vehicle rebate, it will be interesting to see if sales will continue to rise or level off.

4. Kia Forte (14,428 units sold)

2021 Kia Forte

Sales were down by a staggering 50.6% in the fourth quarter of 2021, but remained stable throughout the year with an increase of 0.4%. As a result, the Kia Forte kept its 4th place finish among the most popular cars in Canada.

3. Hyundai Elantra (26,312 units sold)

2021 Hyundai Elantra

The first of the three untouchables is the Hyundai Elantra, the now-eternal third place finisher with sales increases of 23.9% in Q4 and 19.6% throughout 2021. The Elantra is keeping pace with its two arch-rivals, however.

2. Toyota Corolla (40,019 units sold)

2021 Toyota Corolla

Toyota Corolla sales increased by 20.6% over the course of 2021, and the compact sedan and hatchback was on pace to cap off the calendar year in 1st place. However, sales were down 12.5% in the fourth quarter, and the Corolla lost its breath. With the arrival of the Toyota Corolla Cross subcompact crossover, many Toyota shoppers might choose the latter moving forward, further putting a dent in the automaker’s passenger car sales. It came so close.

1. Honda Civic (43,556 units sold)

2022 Honda Civic Sedan | Photo: Honda

We were pretty certain the Honda Civic would be toppled off the top spot among the most popular cars in Canada in 2021. And yet, Honda somehow managed to move out more than 10,000 units of the Civic in the fourth quarter, representing a 6.2% compared to Q4 2020. Sales were also up 20.6% over the year. It was a close call, but the Civic is the country’s best-selling car for the 24th consecutive year.

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