Tuesday, January 18, 2022
News Most Popular Trucks and SUVs in the United States, Third Quarter of...

Most Popular Trucks and SUVs in the United States, Third Quarter of 2020

The Ford Explorer and the GMC Sierra are the overachievers this time around.


  • Ford F-Series dominates list of most popular trucks and SUVs after nine months into 2020.

  • Ford Explorer and GMC Sierra joined the top 10 list, while Ford Escape and Jeep Grand Cherokee dropped off.

  • Toyota RAV4 is the country’s best-selling utility vehicle so far in 2020.


Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and although a confinement period in certain areas of the country prevented shoppers from buying new vehicles, one thing hasn’t changed: the growing adoration for light trucks and the ever-demand for them. Here are the most popular trucks, crossovers and SUVs in the United States after the first nine months of 2020.

Just before, a couple of statistics. Overall, light-truck sales in the U.S. sagged by 5.3% during the third quarter of 2020, compared to the year before, and by 13.5% after the first nine months of 2020 compared to 2019. Meanwhile, passenger-car sales dropped by 20.8% after Q3 and by 30.5% after nine months. Combined, new-vehicle sales in the country were down by 9.5% during Q3 and down by 18.4% after Q3.

10. Ford Explorer (160,209 units sold)

2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid | Photo: Ford

The Ford Explorer midsize crossover saw its sales total increase by 73.9% during the third quarter of 2020, and by 18.0% after the first nine months of the year, although the redesigned Explorer’s launch in 2019 was marred by major build quality problems, which affected sales. Nonetheless, Ford’s utility vehicle climbed from 18th to 10th place.

9. Toyota Tacoma (163,619 units sold)

2020 Toyota Tacoma Chicago Auto Show
2020 Toyota Tacoma Chicago Auto Show | Photo: Toyota

On this list of most popular trucks and SUVs, there are five pickups, including the Toyota Tacoma which grabs the 9th overall spot. Sales were down by 10.4% during Q3 and by 12.8% through the first nine months of the year, compared to 2019.

8. Nissan Rogue (167,401 units sold)

2020 Nissan Rogue | Credit: Nissan

A fully redesigned, 2021 Nissan Rogue is about to arrive in dealerships, but the current-generation model is still selling strongly. That said, sales were down by 37.7% during the third quarter of the year versus the period in 2019, and down by 38.5% though the first nine months of 2020. That’s by far the biggest sales slide of all the models that appear in this top 10 breakdown, but dropped by only two spots.

7. GMC Sierra (174,645 units sold)

2020 GMC Sierra 1500
2020 GMC Sierra 1500 | Photo: GMC

The GMC Sierra pickup is outsold by its Chevy counterpart by a margin of about two to one. However, the Sierra actually saw its sales increase by 2.4% during Q3 and by 6.8% through the first nine months of the year. Those most gains helped it shoot up from 16th to 7th place compared to 2019.

6. Chevrolet Equinox (191,727 units sold)

2020 Chevrolet Equinox | Photo: Chevrolet

One of five crossovers to appear on this list of most popular trucks and SUVs, Chevrolet Equinox sales were down by 15.4% in Q3, and by 24.5% through the first nine months of 2020 compared to the year before.

5. Honda CR-V (237,334 units sold)

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid | Photo: Honda

Although sales of the Honda CR-V were down by 15.5% after the first nine months of 2020, compared to 2019, the third quarter was better for the compact crossover, with a 5.2% sales slide. Despite all this, the CR-V kept its 5th place ranking.

4. Toyota RAV4 (302,574 units sold)

2020 Toyota RAV4
2020 Toyota RAV4 | Credit: Toyota

The Toyota RAV4 is the country’s best-selling utility vehicle by a substantial margin, recording a modest 3.9% decrease in sales during Q3, and a 6.8% decrease through the first nine months of the year. Despite the strong sales numbers, it can’t even come close to the pickup trucks that dominate the podium.

3. Ram Pickup (402,410 units sold)

2020 Ram 1500 | Photo: RAM

Sales of the Ram Pickup, comprised of the Ram 1500 and Ram HD models, dropped by 3.4% during Q3, and by 12.7% through the first nine months of 2020. That’s nothing to be ashamed of, but the Chevrolet Silverado managed to leapfrog it on the sales charts, meaning the Ram dropped from 2nd to 3rd place overall on the list of most popular trucks and SUVs in the United States.

2. Chevrolet Silverado (418,144 units sold)

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 | Photo: Chevrolet

General Motors has been struggling to keep up with demand for its pickup trucks and full-size SUVs, as the company had to deal with a 40-day employee strike at the end of 2019, in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic just like every other automaker. Still, Chevrolet Silverado sales were up by a scant 0.9% through the first nine months of the year, and down by 5.3% during Q3 because of low dealer inventory.

1. Ford F-Series (589,034 units sold)

Ford F-150
2020 Ford F-150 | Photo: Ford

Towering over the competition once again is the Ford F-Series pickup line, comprised of the Ford F-150 and Ford Super Duty, whose sales were up by 3.5% during Q3 and down by 11.1% through the first nine months of the year. Number one on the list of most popular trucks and SUVs, it’s worth noting that if we combine Silverado and Sierra sales, GM managed to sell a few thousand more full-size pickups than Ford after the third quarter of 2020.

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