Another year of automotive sales are on the books, and it seems like car buying in America has reached a plateau. Overall sales are down about 1.2 percent compared to last year, with a total of 17.1 million vehicles sold for calendar year 2019. That makes five consecutive years of sales exceeding 17 million units. Passenger car sales continue to trend downward, their ranks supplanted by popular crossovers and SUVs. And as it has been for years, the top three best-selling vehicles in America are all pickup trucks — however, the ranking has reshuffled a bit. Several major brands experienced strong sales increases during 2019, including Ram, Genesis, Volkswagen, Subaru and Lincoln. General Motors continues to lead all other manufacturers in the U.S. with a 2.9 million vehicles sold, followed by Ford Motor Company, Toyota Motor Sales and Chrysler / FCA group. What follows are the best-selling vehicles in America during calendar year 2019, according to numbers compiled from individual auto manufacturers’ sales reports.
2019 Sales: 166,045
Vs. 2018: -4.4 %
In 2019 Ford announced it will be ending production of all passenger car models, including the best-selling American passenger car — the Fusion. Despite its imminent demise, Fusion has been bucking the downward U.S. trend with an increase in sales versus one year ago; however, time has caught up with this stylish sedan and it has begun its inevitable move down the best-sellers list. Fusion was refreshed for the 2019 model year with subtle exterior design changes, interior improvements and standard Co-Pilot360, which includes automatic emergency braking, a blind-spot information system, lane-keeping assist and a rearview camera.
2019 Sales: 175,094
Vs. 2018: -12.6 %
Over the last few years, Elantra has gained enough momentum to become the best-selling model in the Hyundai lineup — surprising, given the general popularity of crossovers over passenger cars. The Elantra was all new for the 2019 model year and sales are starting to reflect the increased interest in this small car. December sales were up almost 25 percent versus 2018; however, it wasn’t enough to make year-over-year sales positive. With a new hood, front fascia, grille and headlights, the Elantra has a more chiseled look than its predecessor. Three engine options are available, including a 201-horsepower unit for the Elantra Sport. Hyundai also offers Elantra with the latest high-tech safety features including automatic emergency braking.
2019 Sales: 180,179
Vs. 2018: 5.0 %
All new for the 2019 model year, Forester sales certainly reflect the model’s improvement. Although the popular crossover’s numbers were down slightly in December 2019, overall the year delivered improved sales compared to 2018. The new fifth-generation Forester is the roomiest version ever offered with a 1.2-inch-longer wheelbase, more rear-seat legroom and rear cargo capacity. The new Forester also offers improvements in crash protection, comfort, quietness and driving dynamics, powered by an updated direct-injection 2.5-liter Boxer engine that produces 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. Subaru’s EyeSight driver-assist technology is now standard on the Forester.
2019 Sales: 181,178
Vs. 2018: 1.3 %
One of the vehicles that helped define the crossover segment, the Outback is currently Subaru’s best-selling model. The Outback ended the year on a high note with December 2019 sales improving by 5 percent versus a year earlier, helping Subaru achieve its best annual sales of all time. This uptick in sales is likely due to the all-new 2020 Outback arriving in showrooms. The latest Subaru to be built on the company’s new global platform, the Outback gets updated exterior styling, many new features, a greatly improved interior, updated powertrains and the latest version of EyeSight — Subaru’s suite of advanced safety technology. All Outbacks feature Subaru’s Symmetrical all-wheel drive with active torque vectoring, vehicle dynamics control, X-Mode with hill descent control and a generous 8.7-inches of ground clearance.
2019 Sales: 184,618
Vs. 2018: -13.3 %
As with other manufacturers, Nissan continues to experience a general decline in passenger car sales compared to a year ago, and the Sentra has succumbed to this trend as well. However Nissan refuses to give up on the venerable sedan — the company has introduced an all-new 2020 Sentra which will be arriving in showrooms shortly. Introduced 37 years ago, Sentra is one of the most recognized names in the Nissan lineup. This small car moves into its eighth generation with added safety features, more power, better handling and a range of comfort, convenience and safety improvements — all of which should help turn sales positive in 2020.
2019 Sales: 187,061
Vs. 2018: -28.5 %
The Ford Explorer remains a fixture on this list for almost 30 years, and while sales were down for 2019, the arrival of the all-new 2020 Explorer should bolster sales in the new year. The new Explorer is built on an all-new rear-wheel-drive flexible architecture designed to improve ride and handling as well as the vehicle’s overall capability. As part of the complete redesign, Ford has added two new variants to the Explorer lineup — the Hybrid and the ST; the latter boasts a 400-horseower EcoBoost engine. One of the new features for the 2020 model is a suite of safety features called Co-Pilot360. This includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, cross traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, post-impact braking, automatic high-beam headlights and a rearview camera with a built-in lens washer.
2019 Sales: 191,397
Vs. 2018: -16.9 %
Jeep updated the Cherokee for 2019, and based on record sales in 2018 the redesign has been a success. That said, Cherokee sales in 2019 have not been able to keep up with the previous year’s pace — fourth-quarter sales were down around 30 percent compared to 2018. Cherokee returned to the lineup as a 2014 model after a 12-year hiatus and, like all Jeep products, this popular SUV delivers legendary off-road capability with available features including a lifted off-road suspension with skidplates, tow hooks, Selec-Terrain traction control, Jeep Active Drive Lock with rear locker and Selec-Speed Crawl Control. The 2019 Cherokee received updated styling as well as an upgraded interior and increased cargo room; a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine also joined the party, and a lightweight hands-free power liftgate is now available.
2019 Sales: 209,183
Vs. 2018: 0.0 %
Once Nissan’s best-selling model, the Altima had experienced a decline over the last few years, allowing the hot-selling Rogue to claim its position as the top-selling Nissan in America. The automaker seems to be reversing that trend with the all-new Altima introduced for the 2019 model year; sales in December were up 12 percent compared to a year earlier, and despite a slow start Altima sales ended the year even with 2018. The new Altima features updated styling inside and out as well as a range of new features. Two powertrains are offered, including the first production engine that uses variable compression — a lower compression ratio provides more power, while a higher ratio gets better fuel economy. Nissan also offers the new Altima with all-wheel drive for the first time.
2019 Sales: 228,032
Vs. 2018: -5.0 %
An all-new Jeep Wrangler premiered for the 2018 model year, helping the iconic off-roader achieve its best sales ever; however, Wrangler sales have slowed slightly in 2019. The updated model retains its 7-slot grille and round headlights but is more aerodynamic than the previous generation. Two hardtops, a new Sunrider soft-top and a new Sky One-Touch power top are offered. Both 2- and 4-door versions are available in Sport, Sport S, Rubicon and Sahara trim levels. The new Wrangler is much improved, offering a more comfortable ride on-road while retaining its legendary off-road capability. For 2020 Jeep adds a fuel-efficient diesel powertrain to the Wrangler, as well as new special-editions such as the Wrangler Willys and Wrangler Black & Tan.
2019 Sales: 232,323
Vs. 2018: 5.8 %
The best-seller in the GMC lineup, the Sierra’s 2019 sales year started slowly, although the big truck made a nice comeback with a 2 percent increase in sales for the fourth quarter of 2019. Like its Silverado sibling, the Sierra is completely new for the 2019 model year, which has clearly been a factor regarding improved sales. Larger in practically every dimension, the new Sierra boasts a range of new comfort, convenience and safety features. One of Sierra’s standout features is its MultiPro Tailgate, which offers six positions for easier loading, as well as use as a standing workstation. A range of engine / transmission options are available, including a new 2.7-liter turbo and a new turbodiesel powertrain.
2019 Sales: 239,438
Vs. 2018: -2.1%
Toyota’s 7-passenger crossover had impressive sales in 2018 when it recorded its best sales year ever, but sales were down slightly during 2019. This should change for 2020 as Toyota rolls out the fourth generation of its popular crossover. Built on Toyota’s New Global Architecture, Highlander gets fresh styling with a bold black grille, available premium projector headlights and a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces a plentiful 295 horsepower and 263 lb-ft of torque — enough power to provide a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds when properly equipped. A Highlander Hybrid will also be offered with a fuel-efficient gas-electric powertrain.
2019 Sales: 241,388
Vs. 2016: -11.3 %
This small 5-seat crossover from Ford had been the best-selling American-brand SUV for many years, but with a third-quarter 2019 sales drop of 24 percent it has moved down the best-sellers list. This might be due in part to the anticipation of an all-new Escape introduced at last year’s New York Auto Show. The 2020 Ford Escape is lower, wider and longer than its predecessor, with a look that is quite a departure from the current generation. The front end features an all-new grille surprisingly similar to those on the Focus and Fusion passenger cars, rather than the Ford SUVs. The new 2020 Escape will be available with a choice of four engines; the standard unit being a 3-cylinder 1.5-liter EcoBoost expected to produce 180 horsepower. Ford is also bringing back the Escape Hybrid — the 2020 model will be available as a standard hybrid as well as a plug-in version.
2019 Sales: 242,969
Vs. 2018: 8.0 %
The Jeep Grand Cherokee continues to lead the sales charge at Jeep, and in 2019 the capable SUV achieved record sales. The 5-seat Grand Cherokee continues its tradition of offering impressive off-road capability in an attractive package. Available in several trim levels and 4WD systems, the Grand Cherokee line ranges from the off-road-focused Trailhawk to the luxurious Summit. Jeep also offers the high-performance Trackhawk, boasting a staggering 707 horsepower. For 2020 Jeep adds more standard equipment across the Grand Cherokee lineup, as well as the latest advanced safety features now available on the base-level Laredo.
2019 Sales: 248,801
Vs. 2018: 1.3 %
Toyota’s popular midsize pickup truck finished 2019 with record numbers, marking two consecutive years of best-ever sales. The midsize pickup had its last full redesigned for the 2016 model year, featuring a more aggressive design, a new V6 engine, a smoother ride and stellar off-road capability. The Tacoma is available in several configurations with two cab styles, two bed lengths, five trim levels and a choice of 2WD or 4WD. For 2020 the Tacoma gets a new grille and wheel designs for most trim levels, as well as an upgraded audio system with a larger touchscreen and Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility.
2019 Sales: 267,567
Vs. 2018: -8.1 %
Honda introduced an all-new Accord late in 2017 that was better than the previous generation in nearly every way; surprisingly, sales have not reflected these improvements. Although the numbers were more optimistic earlier in 2019, sales ultimately declined compared to 2018. Available in a variety of trim levels as a two or four door, Accord can even be equipped with a manual transmission — a nod to driving enthusiasts. The Accord gets built on a lighter, more rigid body structure designed to improve handling and comfort. For 2020 Honda is making the Honda Sensing suite of safety features standard on all Accord variants.
2019 Sales: 304,850
Vs. 2018: 0.4 %
Corolla is one of the most time-honored names in the Toyota lineup, and recently the company celebrated the 1 millionth Corolla built in the brand’s Mississippi assembly plant. Although sales were down slightly for December 2019 versus a year ago, overall the Corolla sold at about the same pace as 2018. Toyota is hoping things will improve now that an all-new Corolla has begun arriving in showrooms. The 2020 Corolla — along with a Corolla Hybrid — gets updated styling and a wider stance, as well as signature LED headlights and a range of new features. Three powertrains are available, including a very efficient hybrid system that has a U.S. EPA rating of more than 50 mpg.
2019 Sales: 325,650
Vs. 2018: 0.0 %
With sales almost identical in 2019 compared to 2018, the Honda Civic remains the best-selling passenger car in the Honda lineup. The tenth generation Civic debuted early in 2017 featuring fresh styling, improved aerodynamics, new vehicle architecture, a more spacious interior and two new engines. Fuel economy also is impressive, rated as high as 42 mpg with a new turbocharged powerplant. Standard equipment on the Civic now includes Honda Sensing, which has automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist. For 2019 Honda added the Civic Sport and gave the entire lineup a minor styling refresh inside and out.
2019 Sales: 336,978
Vs. 2018: -1.9 %
Even though sales of the Camry were down slightly last year, the popular sedan continues its reign as best-selling passenger car in America, with 2019 marking the 17th year in this top position. Camry experienced a slow start to 2019, and December sales were down almost 10 percent compared to 2018, but overall this top seller came close to 2018 sales levels. The Camry was redesigned a few years ago with an updated grille, integrated headlights and sculpted lines that give the sedan a more engaging presence, as well as a completely new interior and choice of fuel-efficient, powerful engines. For those seeking even more performance, a Camry TRD with performance suspension and brakes — as well as a cat-back exhaust system — has joined the lineup.
2019 Sales: 346,048
Vs. 2018: 4.0 %
Chevrolet’s second-best-selling vehicle after the full-size Silverado pickup, the Equinox had record sales in 2019, marking the second year in a row for this feat. Equinox stands out with projector-beam headlights, LED running lights, wider horizontal taillights and LED taillights for upper trim levels. Inside, the new Equinox features a down-and-away instrument panel with a low windshield base for improved outward visibility. Two engine choices for Equinox are a 170-horsepower 1.5-liter turbo or a 252-horse 2.0-liter turbo teamed with a 9-speed automatic transmission. For 2020 Chevrolet adds a Midnight Edition Equinox to the lineup.
2019 Sales: 350,447
Vs. 2018: -15.0 %
Nissan’s small crossover sales were down 35 percent in December 2019 versus 2018; however, the Rogue still remains the best-selling model in the Nissan lineup. Rogue features a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with an advanced Xtronic transmission with Eco mode, boasting an EPA fuel-economy rating as high as 33 mpg. Rogue also is available as a hybrid and as a smaller model called Rogue Sport. All Rogues are now available with ProPILOT Assist — Nissan’s first step toward building autonomous vehicles — as well as Nissan Safety Shield 360.
2019 Sales: 384,168
Vs. 2018: 1.4 %
The Honda CR-V didn’t have the best sales numbers for December 2019, which were down 14 percent compared to a year earlier, but overall the versatile crossover not only ended up higher than 2018, it achieved record sales for 2019. Completely redesigned a few years back, the CR-V remains the best-selling model in the Honda lineup. The CR-V’s success lies in its ability to offer consumers a comfortable, small crossover with great utility and excellent fuel economy. For 2020 Honda has refreshed the CR-V’s exterior styling and is adding the first hybrid to the CR-V lineup. Similar to the Honda Accord Hybrid, the CR-V Hybrid uses a 2-motor hybrid powertrain that teams two electric motors with a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle engine for a combined output of 212 horsepower, making it the most powerful variant in the CR-V lineup.
2019 Sales: 448,071
Vs. 2018: 4.9 %
Toyota’s RAV4 crossover experienced impressive sales in 2018, and the momentum held for 2019 with record annual sales. One of the original compact crossovers on the American market, the RAV4 was completely redone for the 2019 model year. With bold new styling, improved capability, better performance and an array of new safety and convenience features, this fifth-generation RAV4 is likely to remain popular with American car shoppers. In addition to the updated styling and efficient powertrains, the RAV4 now has automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and lane departure alert as standard equipment. Toyota has also announced that the 2021 RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid will be arriving next summer, which will not only be more fuel efficient but also will be the second-quickest vehicle in the Toyota lineup.
2019 Sales: 575,600
Vs. 2018: -1.7 %
Chevrolet introduced an all-new Silverado for the 2019 model year, and while sales were down at the beginning of 2019, the final figures reflect a nice recovery. However this perennial runner-up to the Ford F-Series has dropped below the Ram pickup in overall sales. The new Silverado is longer and wider than its predecessor, which means more passenger space as well as more cargo room. Through an extensive use of mixed materials, engineers were able to lighten Silverado by an impressive 450 pounds, with 88 pounds of that coming off the body. Silverado received updated styling inside and out as well variety of powertrains, ranging from a new turbocharged 4-cylinder powerplant to V8 options with dynamic fuel management.
2019 Sales: 633,694
Vs. 2018: 18.0 %
Ram introduced an all-new 1500 pickup for 2019, and followed shortly after with the Ram Heavy Duty. These two offerings have done wonders for Ram truck sales. With a massive increase in sales over last year’s record numbers, the brand achieved its fourth consecutive year of record sales, making Ram Truck the second-best-selling vehicle in America. The new Ram features updated exterior styling, and the interior is one of the nicest on the market. Six trim levels are available, as well as a new lineup of powertrains that will eventually include a hybrid system. A new Ram Heavy Duty that boasts a new diesel with 1,000 lb-ft of torque helped Ram hold onto this sales position.
2019 Sales: 895,526
Vs. 2018: -1.4 %
Thanks to strong sales in 2019, the Ford F-Series extended its streak as the best-selling vehicle in America to 38 years — 43 years as best-selling truck. Sales in 2019 were down slightly from the prior year, but certainly enough to keep Ford’s large truck offering at the top. The F-150 drives strong numbers with a wide range of configurations, fresh styling, and the latest safety and convenience features. Six engines are offered for the F-150, ranging from the standard 3.3-liter V6 that generates 290 horsepower to the high-output 450-horsepower EcoBoost unit. Ford has announced a revised 2020 F-Series Super Duty, which boasts a class-leading towing capacity of 37,000 pounds.
Data: Automaker sales releases