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NewsMost Popular Cars in the United States in 2020

Most Popular Cars in the United States in 2020

Three familiar faces on the podium.

  • The Toyota Camry once again tops the list of most popular cars in the United States.

  • Tesla Model 3 moves up three spots on the list, Nissan Sentra drops by four.

  • Two Toyotas, two Hondas and two Nissans included on the top 10 list.

The passenger-car market continued to shrink during the 2020 calendar year, at a pace seemingly accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s the list of the most popular cars in the United States over the course of the year.

Just before, it’s important to point out that overall, light-truck sales in the U.S. dropped by 9.7% in 2020 compared to the year before, this despite a 1.1% increase during the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, passenger-car sales took a 26.4% plunge year over year, and sagged by 12.6% in Q4 2020. Combined, new-vehicle sales in the country were down by 14.4% through 2020.

10. Nissan Sentra (94,646 units sold)

2021 Nissan Sentra | Photo: Nissan

The new-generation Nissan Sentra went on sale over the course of the year, and despite being a better product than the outgoing generation, it failed to move out as many units, with a 32.1% drop in sales during the fourth quarter of 2020, and a staggering 48.7% dive through the calendar year. As a result, the Sentra fell from 6th to 10th place on this list.

9. Chevrolet Malibu (102,651 units sold)

2021 Chevrolet Malibu | Photo: Chevrolet

The Chevrolet Malibu saw its sales drop by 14.8% in Q4 2020, and by 22.2% over 2020. Despite these numbers, the midsize sedan climbed up a spot among the most popular cars in the United States, from 10th to 9th place.

8. Hyundai Elantra (105,475 units sold)

2021 Hyundai Elantra | Photo: Olivier Delorme

The Korean brand’s compact sedan received an exhaustive redesign for the 2021 model year, which arrived in dealerships late in the 2020 calendar year. However, sales dropped by 39.8% over the course of the year, and by 38.8% in the fourth quarter, resulting in the Hyundai Elantra sliding slightly from 7th to 8th place.

7. Ford Fusion (110,665 units sold)

2020 Ford Fusion | Photo: Ford

The Ford Fusion ends its career in the U.S. in 7th place, up two spots compared to the year before even though sales decreased by 37.8% in the fourth quarter of 2020, and by 33.4% through the whole year.

6. Nissan Altima (137,998 units sold)

2021 Nissan Altima | Photo: Nissan

Sales of the midsize sedan were down by 34.0% through the 2020 calendar year, but the fourth quarter wasn’t as bad, with a slide of “only” 16.9%. As a result, the Nissan Altima fell from 5th to 6th place on the list of most popular cars in the United States.

5. Tesla Model 3 (171,000 units sold)

2021 Tesla Model 3 | Photo: Tesla

While electric vehicles still account for a marginal fraction of the U.S. market, environmentally conscious shoppers have embraced the Tesla Model 3 since it went on sale. Sales were down a scant 2.4% in Q4 2020, and by a negligible 1.6% through the year. That performance allowed the EV to climb from 8th to 5th place.

4. Honda Accord (199,458 units sold)

2021 Honda Accord Hybrid | Photo: Honda

The Honda Accord maintained its 4th place ranking on the list, thanks to an under-average sales decline of 14.2% through the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to 2019, although the midsize sedan did see a 25.5% drop over the entire calendar year.

3. Toyota Corolla (237,178 units sold)

2021 Toyota Corolla SE Upgrade Hatchback | Photo: Olivier Delorme

The fourth quarter was a good one for the Toyota Corolla, with a 0.1% decrease in sales compared to the year before. Meanwhile, 2020 sales slid by 22.2%, but that didn’t stop the compact car to keep its #3 position among the most popular cars in the U.S.

2. Honda Civic (261,225 units sold)

2020 Honda Civic
2020 Honda Civic | Photo: Honda

Sales of the Honda Civic were down by 19.8% through the 2020 calendar year, allowing the compact to keep a safe distance between it and its Corolla arch-rival. In the fourth quarter, Civic sales dropped by only 14.1%.

1. Toyota Camry (294,348 units)

2020 Toyota Camry AWD
2020 Toyota Camry AWD

No passenger car in the U.S. surpassed the 300,000-unit sales mark in 2020, although the Toyota Camry came close, thanks to Q4 2020 increase of 13.9% compared to the same period in 2019. The midsize sedan managed a 12-month sales tally that outperformed the industry average, with a 12.7% slide. Once again, the Camry is the country’s most popular car in 2020.


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