As Americans, we like to go big. We love our Costcos, big-screen TVs, Big Macs, and of course, our large vehicles. It's no surprise that when we look at the most popular vehicles in the U.S., pickup trucks swept the top three spots. When it comes time to buy a new vehicle, do you go with the one that best fits your needs, or do you go with the one that fits the most stuff? It appears most Americans choose the second option. These are the top 5 vehicles that dominated the market last year based on total units sold. See which one was most popular in your state.
1. Ford F-Series
The Ford F-Series has been the best-selling truck for 43 years straight. Even more impressive is the fact that it has claimed the title of the most popular vehicle in America for 38 years, and 2020 is no exception. Due to the wreckage COVID inflicted on the auto industry, sales of the F-Series decreased by 12% compared to 2019, but the blue oval still managed to come up on top with 787,422 units sold.
While the Ford Super Duty lineup is packed with excellent options for truck buyers who do heavy towing, the Ford F-150 takes the spotlight in 2020 thanks to its impressive redesign. The F-150 offers a choice of 6 available engines, serious towing power, and a model for nearly any budget. For 2021, the F-150 gets a brand new 3.5-liter PowerBoost hybrid with class-leading horsepower and torque (420 horses and 480 lb-ft) with over 700 miles of range on a full tank.
2020 Sales: 787,422 units
2021 Ford F-150 Starting MSRP: $28,940
2. Chevrolet Silverado
It may not have been crowned homecoming king, but the Chevrolet Silverado still had plenty of loyal fans in 2020. The bow-tie brand actually increased sales of the Silverado last year compared to 2019, with a total 586,575 units sold. This is despite GM having to shutter plants and dealerships during the start of the pandemic. The Silverado HD lineup boasted a 14% increase in 2020 sales, while the Silverado 1500 only slipped by .5%.
Like the Ford F-150, the Silverado lineup fits the needs of nearly every truck shopper. Trim options are plentiful from the off-road Trail Boss, to the luxurious High County to accommodate all lifestyles and budgets. 6 engine options range from a 4.3-liter V6 for 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque, up to a 6.2-liter V8 for 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft. In addition to a best-in-class maximum towing capacity of 13,400 pounds, the Silverado has a composed ride on-road, and rugged capability off-road.
2020 Sales: 586,575 units
2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Starting MSRP: $28,900
3. Ram 1500/2500/3500
As far as personality goes, no vehicles have more of it than Ram trucks. Along with the towing and off-road capability, Ram's truck lineup is unique in its styling and premium interiors. Ram claims the title of the most popular truck in several western states, but it has to settle for the bronze medal in the category of most popular vehicle overall with 563,676 units sold in 2020. Sales of the Ram 1500 decreased by 11% in the back half of the year, causing it to lose its lead over the Chevy Silverado.
Ram offers a long list of trims and special editions (including a Laramie Southwest Edition which may explain the fondness for the trucks in states like Nevada and Arizona). Besides its luxurious cabins, Ram is also well-respected for its off-road prowess which can be found in the Ram Rebel and the all-new Ram 1500 TRX. Engine options range from a base V6 for 305 horsepower to a 395-horsepower V8. For those who want to own the most powerful truck on the road, the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX carries the infamous Hellcat engine which is good for 702 horsepower and a 0-60 in just 4.5 seconds.
2020 Sales: 563,676 units
2021 RAM 1500 Starting MSRP: $32,795
4. Toyota RAV4
Despite the overwhelming popularity of trucks, Americans did show some love for crossovers in 2020, making the Toyota RAV4 the 4th most popular vehicle overall. Despite missing the podium, Toyota accomplished a near-impossible feat of increasing sales of the RAV4 amid the worst months of COVID-19, which goes to show how much customers love the compact SUV. Toyota ended up with a respectable 430,387 RAV4 units sold and easily takes the top spot for the best-selling non-pickup truck in the country.
Coming off a redesign for 2019, the RAV4 is better to drive, sit in, and look at. It gets a more compliant ride, better steering, and handling, and rugged styling inside and out that emulates (you guessed it) a pickup truck. The RAV4's 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine produces 203 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Despite the seemingly low horsepower number, the crossover is easy to drive and easy on the wallet thanks to its fuel efficiency. The RAV4 wins the popularity contest among the eco-friendly crowd thanks to its Hybrid model, and the new RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid.
2020 Sales: 430,387 units
2021 Toyota RAV4 Starting MSRP: $26,150
5. Honda CR-V
Trailing its rival, the RAV4, the Honda CR-V lands in 5th place on the list of most popular vehicles. It may not be the most exciting vehicle from a driving or styling perspective, but it's practical and dependable which explains why families flock to it. In spite of the 13% dip in year-over-year sales, the CR-V still remained a popular choice in 2020 with 333,502 units sold.
The reason you see so many CR-Vs on the road is that the crossover ticks nearly every checkbox on the shopper's list. It has a spacious, comfortable cabin, it's easy to drive, and though it's far from a performance SUV, it provides enough power for daily driving via a turbocharged 1.5-liter engine which makes 190 horses. The CR-V Hybrid came on the scene in 2020 to go head-to-head with the RAV4 Hybrid and it makes the CR-V even more refined and efficient. The CR-V Hybrid's two-motor hybrid system includes a 2.0-liter engine, generator/starter motor, and propulsion motor for a combined 212 horsepower and 232 lb-ft of torque.
2020 Sales: 333,502 units
2021 Honda CR-V Starting MSRP: $25,350
Most Popular Vehicles By State
We don't typically like to stereotype, but there are some regional car buying trends that can't be ignored. The Ford F-Series was the clear winner as the most popular vehicle across the country, but it didn't take the top spot everywhere. Several western states, along with Alaska, love their Ram trucks, while the down-home midwestern states prefer the bow tie brand, opting for the Chevy Silverado.
Californians dig the eco-friendly Honda Civic in disproportionate numbers (we're surprised it's not the Prius), while the rest of the Pacific Northwest drives the RAV4 which is fuel-efficient and fits all the outdoor gear. East Coasters want a compact SUV, but they have to prove they aren't the West Coast, so they choose the Honda CR-V in lieu of the RAV4.