Monday, December 5, 2022
News Most Popular Cars in the United States, First Half of 2021

Most Popular Cars in the United States, First Half of 2021

A familiar nameplate reclaims its crown.


  • The Toyota Camry currently is tops among the most popular cars in the United States.

  • The Hyundai Sonata, Kia Forte and Nissan Sentra moved up several spots on the list.

  • The Honda Civic tumbled from 1st to 3rd place.


At some point, we’ll have to figure out if a list of the most popular cars in the United States is still relevant. After the first six months of 2021, the passenger-car sales market has never been so small, as it now represents only 23.4% of all new light-vehicles purchased in the country—down from 24.9% at the same point in 2020.

Overall, new light vehicle sales were up 49.0% during the second quarter of 2021, compared to the same period in 2020, and dropped by only 0.9% compared to 2019. Through the first six months of the year, sales rose by 29.1% compared to 2020, and slipped by 13.4% compared to the first half of 2019.

10. Hyundai Sonata (54,198 units sold)

2021 Hyundai Sonata N-Line | Photo: Olivier Delorme

Are midsize sedans making a comeback? Probably not, but the recently redesigned Hyundai Sonata enjoyed a 129.1% sales increase during the second quarter of 2021, and a 78.9% hike through the first six months of the year. That allowed the Sonata to climb from 15th to 10th place on the list.

9. Tesla Model 3 (58,500 units sold)

2021 Tesla Model 3 | Photo: Tesla

Sales aren’t spectacular so far this year for the Tesla Model 3 in the U.S., with an increase of only 4.4% during Q2 compared to the same period in 2020, and a 12.0% drop over the first half of the year. As a result, the fully electric sedan dropped from 6th to 9th place.

8. Nissan Altima (61,930 units sold)

2021 Nissan Altima | Photo: Nissan

Like the Tesla, the Nissan Altima dropped three spots from 5th to 8th place, despite a second-quarter increase of 37.8%. Through the first six months of 2021, however, sales were down by 10.3%.

7. Kia Forte (62,159 units sold)

2021 Kia Forte

The Kia Forte continues its slow ascension on the sales charts, with a 118.4% jump in Q2 2021, and a 57.6% increase over the first half of the year. The Forte now sits in 7th place among the most popular cars in the United States.

6. Hyundai Elantra (74,057 units sold)

2021 Hyundai Elantra

The popular Hyundai Elantra has been thoroughly redesigned for the 2021 model year, and posted a 111.2% increase in sales during the second quarter, along with a 52.9% hike through the first half of the year. As such, the Elantra moved up from 8th to 6th place.

5. Nissan Sentra (77,859 units sold)

2021 Nissan Sentra

Here’s another compact sedan that seems to be benefitting from a successful redesign. The Nissan Sentra shot up from 10th to 5th place thanks to a 104.0% sales increase during Q2 2021 and a 77.8% rise after the first half of the year.

4. Honda Accord (114,707 units sold)

2021 Honda Accord Hybrid | Photo: Honda

The Honda Accord hung on to its 4th place among the most popular cars in the United States, thanks to a 63.6% jump in sales during the second quarter of the year, and a 29.2% increase through H1. On the other hand, no less than three other cars, seven SUVs and five pickups outsold the Accord, which gives us an idea of how passenger cars are losing ground to utility vehicles and trucks.

3. Honda Civic (152,956 units sold)

2022 Honda Civic Sedan | Photo: Honda

The fully redesigned 2022 Honda Civic is now arriving in dealerships, and the timing is right. The Japanese compact tumbled from 1st to 3rd place, despite a 51.8% increase in sales during the second quarter, but a modest 19.6% rise through the first half of 2021.

2. Toyota Corolla (155,531 units sold)

2021 Toyota Corolla Apex | Photo: Olivier Delorme

Sales of the Toyota Corolla jumped 105.5% during Q2 2021, and 41.9% through the first six months of the year. That’s enough to propel the compact car from 3rd to 2nd place.

1. Toyota Camry (177,671 units sold)

2021 Toyota Camry XLE AWD | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

We have a new reigning champ among the most popular cars in the United States. Actually, more of a returning champ as the Toyota Camry has long been the best-selling passenger car in the country, and simply retook its crown thanks to a 104.3% sales increase during the second quarter of the year, and a 41.1% increase through H1 2021. However, although it’s the #1 passenger car on the sales charts, The Camry is currently being outsold by three compact crossovers and three full-size pickup trucks in the U.S.

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