Ranked: 20 best-selling new cars in the U.S. in 2021

Chris Teague

Chris Teague

The Kia K5 was added to the automaker's lineup last year.

Dealerships are welcoming 2021 and 2022 models to their lots while some 2020 versions still remain. Before the pandemic, car sales were slumping. What lies ahead for 2021 is anyone’s guess.

Below is a list of the best-selling SUVs through May 3, 2021. Many automakers report their sales results quarterly. These rankings have been determined using sales numbers provided by the individual automobile manufacturers.

The vehicles on this list are bound to change order as new information becomes available. Stay tuned!

To see the 20 best-selling new cars in the U.S. in 2019 click here and to see 2020’s results click here.

No. 20 – Mazda Mazda3 (13,786 sold)

2021 Mazda Mazda3 Hatchback

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

The Mazda3 comes in two varieties: sedan and hatchback. With those two, there are several trim level and engine offerings including a new 2.5-liter turbo-four that delivers zippy power to the small car.

No. 19 – Dodge Challenger (15,096 sold)

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Photo courtesy of Stellantis

The Dodge Challenger hasn’t changed too much over the years, but it has been continuously updated. For the 2021 model year, Challengers are more available as widebody models. The Dodge’s powerful engine lineup and spacious cabin carry over into the new model year.

No. 18 – Dodge Charger (19,740 sold)

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Photo courtesy of Stellantis

The 2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye is new for the 2021 model year but most everything else is a carryover from the 2020 version. Like the Challenger, the Charger is spacious and can get where it’s going in a hurry.

No. 17 – Nissan Versa (22,394 sold)

2020 Nissan Versa

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Nissan Versa may be small but it has a lot for customers to like from its low price tag to its well-appointed interior. The Versa continues to be a compelling choice that doesn’t feel cheap.

No. 16 – Toyota Prius (22,402 sold)

2021 Toyota Prius Prime

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

The Toyota Prius family of vehicles is mostly unchanged for the 2021 model year. The Prius Prime, a plug-in version of the car has had its safety technology upgraded to Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 for 2021 and added an estimated 25 miles of all-electric range.

No. 15 – Volkswagen Jetta (22,714 sold)

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Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The Volkswagen Jetta is mostly a carryover from the 2021 model year. It features a power-adjustable driver’s seat in more trim levels, a new infotainment system, and wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Also, the GLI Autobahn model got more active safety features.

No. 14 – Kia Soul (23,961 sold)

2021 Kia Soul

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The Kia Soul was completely redesigned for the 2020 model year and for 2021 it is mostly a carryover. The Kia Soul GT-Line Turbo model has be renamed the Soul Turbo and as such it gets new badging. Remote start has been added to the key fob of Soul EX and Turbo models. Rear occupant alert is now standard.

No. 13 – Ford Mustang (25,274 sold)

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Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

For the 2021 model year, Ford has introduced the Mustang Mach 1. This track-centric car is designed to sit at the intersection of performance and a reasonable price point, giving buyers more of what they want under a historic Ford-related “Mach 1” name.

No. 12 – Chevrolet Malibu (26,987 sold)

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Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

The fuel-efficient, smooth-riding 2021 Chevrolet Malibu is basically the same as the 2020 model. It’s ditched the cord and gotten wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Additionally, the Buckle to Drive safety system is available.

No. 11 – Kia K5 (30,004 sold)

2021 Kia K5 EX 1.6T FWD

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The Kia K5 replaced the Optima in the company’s lineup for the 2021 model year. It features Stingler-like design DNA while riding on a platform that is stronger, longer, wider, and lower than the Optima. The midsize car is filled with the latest Kia technology and is made at Kia’s West Point, Georgia plant.

No. 10 – Hyundai Sonata (30,773 sold)

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Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai’s midsize car received a complete redesign for the 2020 model year bringing a long roster of high-tech features and premium level appointments to the mix. For 2021 a new, sporty Sonata N Line model makes its debut offering unique design elements and stronger driving dynamics.

No. 9 – Nissan Altima (32,017 sold)

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Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The 2021 Nissan Altima is a fuel mileage champion. It offers a lot of bang for the buck as well, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are no longer standard equipment.

No. 8 – Nissan Sentra (37,238 sold)

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Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Nissan Sentra most offer the most bang for your buck of any car at its price point. Nissan has changed it up a bit for the new model year making Android Auto and Apple CarPlay standard and offering a newly available Wi-Fi hot spot.

No. 7 – Kia Forte (37,354 sold)

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Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

In its third year since its generational redesign, the Kia Forte is a carryover for the 2021 model year. The car is competitively priced, starting at just $17,890.

No. 6 – Hyundai Elantra (40,451 sold)

2021 Hyundai Elantra

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai has introduced a new generation of Elantra for the 2021 model year giving the compact car a lot of bang for the buck. There’s also a new Elantra N model.

No. 5 – Honda Accord (67,626 sold)

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Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

The Accord has been given a proper mid-generation refresh for the 2021 model year include new tech and fresh fascia. The Accord Hybrid has also been updated and wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are available.

No. 4 – Honda Civic (84,317 sold)

2020 Honda Civic

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

The 2021 Honda Civic is a carryover from the 2020 model year. Honda will debut a next-generation version of the car this spring that will go on sale later in the year.

No. 3 – Toyota Corolla (103,742 sold)

2021 Toyota Corolla

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

The 12th generation Corolla has been kept mostly the same for the 2021 model year (it was redesigned for 2020). The car now comes in an Apex Edition model that combines a body kit with slightly sharper handling. All Corollas get Android Auto for the new model year.

No. 2 – Toyota Camry (108,090 sold)

2021 Toyota Camry XSE Blueprint

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

The Toyota Camry turns 37 years young this year and to celebrate it’s gotten an upgraded safety system – Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ – for the 2021 model year. Each model has also gotten interior and exterior upgrades including fresh fascia, new wheels, and a floating multimedia screen.

No. 1 – Tesla Model 3/Y (180,780 sold)

Tesla Model 3

Photo courtesy of Tesla

Tesla continues to sell gobs of Model 3 and Model Ys. The company doesn’t split their sales in their reporting, but even split, the Model 3 and Model Y are likely to have both made this list.

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