Best-Selling SUVs in America – Q1 2021

© FCA USBest-Selling SUVs in America
Sales figures for the first three months of 2021 have been released, and while the worldwide Coronavirus outbreak impacted overall sales in the first quarter of 2020, sales are on the rise in 2021. Overall sales in all categories are estimated to be up around 11 percent, and in even better news sales of the top 25 SUV models are up 27 percent for 2021 so far. Here are the best-selling SUVs in America based on final sales figures for the first quarter of 2021, according to numbers compiled from auto manufacturers’ sales reports.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience25. Chevrolet Tahoe
2021 Sales: 23,038
Vs. 2020: +12.9%
Sales of Chevrolet’s full-size Tahoe SUV were down in 2020, but the arrival of the all-new 2021 Tahoe last fall boosted fourth-quarter sales 36 percent over the previous year and the uptick continues into 2021, moving Tahoe back into the Top 25 best-selling SUVs for the first quarter. The best-selling full-size SUV in America, the 2021 Tahoe is built on a new chassis with a new independent rear suspension, available Magnetic Ride Control and available Four-Corner Air Ride Adaptive suspension. The new design offers an additional 10 inches of third-row legroom and 60 percent more cargo room behind the third row. The standard engine is a 5.3-liter V8 producing 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. A 6.2-liter V8 producing 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, and a 3.0-liter Duramax turbodiesel producing 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque are also available.

Review: 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience24. Ford Bronco Sport
2021 Sales: 23,356
Vs. 2020: N/A
A brand-new model, the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport went on sale in the fourth quarter of 2020 and sales momentum moved the new model into the top 25 best-selling SUVs for 2021. The first member of the new Bronco family to arrive, the Bronco Sport compact SUV shares styling cues and off-road capability with a larger Bronco that should be rolling into showrooms in summer 2021. Classic Bronco styling cues, a stepped-up roofline and upright body panels give the Bronco Sport a bolder look compared to many of today’s compact SUVs. The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is offered in five trim levels: Base, Big Bend, Outer Banks, Badlands and First Edition. Standard engine for Bronco Sport Base, Big Bend and Outer Banks is a 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine producing 181 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque at 3000 rpm. Badlands and First Edition receive a 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine producing 245 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque at 3000 rpm.

Review: 2021 Ford Bronco Sport First Edition

© Nissan North America23. Nissan Kicks
2021 Sales: 24,421
Vs. 2020: +74.8%
A few years ago Nissan added the compact Kicks as an entry model below the popular Rogue. Redesigned for 2021, Kicks sales are way up for the first quarter of 2021, pushing the crossover back into the top 25 best-selling SUVs. The bolder new look is highlighted by a new front bumper, slim headlights and a much larger take on Nissan’s signature Double V-Motion grille. The top-level SR trim adds LED headlights and LED fog lights. At the rear, the 2021 Nissan Kicks sports a new bumper design as well as updated LED taillights connected by an LED light bar that gives Kicks a wider look. The 2021 Nissan Kicks is powered by a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 122 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque, combined with Xtronic continuously variable transmission. The Kicks is available exclusively with front-wheel drive — all-wheel drive is not offered.

First Look: 2021 Nissan Kicks

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience22. Chevrolet Trailblazer
2021 Sales: 25,024
Vs. 2020: N/A
Another all-new model for 2021, the Chevrolet Trailblazer is a small crossover that slots into the Chevrolet lineup between the Trax and Equinox. The Trailblazer exterior design draws from the new Blazer that returned for 2020 and features slim LED running lights flanking the upper grille and larger LED headlights positioned below. The standard engine is a turbocharged 1.2-liter producing 137 horsepower with an available turbocharged 1.3-liter producing 155 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque. Trailblazer RS features black exterior trim, a unique mesh grille and dual exhaust outlets with chrome tips.

Review: 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience21. Volkswagen Tiguan
2021 Sales: 27,265
Vs. 2020: +22.9%
Sales of the second-generation Tiguan were down for the first half of 2020 but bounced back in the second half of the year, with that momentum continuing into 2021 with first quarter sales up more than 20 percent. Volkswagen’s compact crossover was redesigned specifically for the U.S. market, offering more interior space and third-row seating. Adopting VW’s current design language, Tiguan’s exterior includes sharper, stronger lines and a lower, wider stance. Motivated by a new version of the German automaker’s turbocharged 2.0-liter TSI engine producing 184 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque, Tiguan delivers power to the front wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission. Volkswagen’s signature 4Motion all-wheel drive with Active Control is optional.

Review: 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan

© Toyota Motor Sales, USA20. Lexus RX
2021 Sales: 27,941
Vs. 2020: +34.0%
The best-selling model in the Lexus lineup, the RX led the brand to an all-time sales record for SUVs in 2019. However, sales dropped off in the first half of 2020 before rebounding strongly in the second half and continuing into the new year with a 34 percent increase for the first three months of 2021. Last year Lexus upped RX utility with the addition of the RX L — a slightly larger model that offers seating for up to seven via a new third row. Both the original and L versions of the RX are available as the RX 350 or the RX 450h, the latter featuring a powerful and fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain. For 2021 a blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert are standard equipment on all trim levels.

© Hyundai Motor America19. Hyundai Santa Fe
2021 Sales: 28,570
Vs. 2020: +43.6%
With the arrival of the all-new 2021 model, Santa Fe sales took off in the first quarter of this year. The 2021 Santa Fe features a new exterior design, advanced lighting technology, new engines, an available hybrid with all-wheel drive and a new Calligraphy trim level. The standard 2.5-liter engine produces 191 horsepower and 182 lb-ft of torque. The hybrid drivetrain pairs a turbocharged 1.6-liter gasoline engine producing 178 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque with a 44.2 kW electric motor and 1.49 kWh battery pack for an estimated total system output of 225 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.

© American Honda Motors18. Honda Pilot
2021 Sales: 31,451
Vs. 2020: +31.6%
Honda’s midsize SUV was refreshed for 2019; sales were still impacted by the pandemic early in 2020, although things improved in the second half and are back on track for 2021.The refreshed Pilot features more aggressive exterior styling, an available hands-free power tailgate, powertrain refinements, and an available new Display Audio touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Pilot is powered by a 3.5-liter 280-horsepower V6 engine combined with available all-wheel drive. For 2021 the V6 gets paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission, paddle shifters and Idle Stop for all trim levels. For 2021 Pilot also adds the Special Edition with black 20-inch wheels, black trim, wireless phone charging and a hands-free power liftgate.

© Hyundai Motor America17. Hyundai Tucson
2021 Sales: 33,147
Vs. 2020: +39.7%
Tucson sales in the U.S. dropped during 2020 but rebounded nicely in the first quarter of 2021, and should improve even more with the imminent arrival of a redesigned 2022 model. (The Tucson, Tucson Hybrid and N Line are scheduled to arrive in spring, with a plug-in hybrid to follow in summer.) The new Tucson is longer, wider and taller than the previous model, and has lower, wider headlights and daytime running lights that seem to be an extension of the grille. The profile reveals a chrome accent that begins at the mirror and follows the shape of the roof. Tucson’s standard powertrain is a 161-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The hybrid drivetrain pairs a turbocharged 1.6-liter gasoline engine with a 44.2 kW electric motor and 1.49 kWh battery pack for an estimated total system output of 226 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.

First Drive Review: 2022 Hyundai Tucson

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience16. Subaru Crosstrek
2021 Sales: 35,187
Vs. 2020: +63.5%
Sales of Subaru’s popular compact crossover fell in 2019 and continued to drop in 2020, but that trend changed in September thanks to the arrival of the updated 2021 Crosstrek; since then 2021 sales are up more than 60 percent in the first three months of the new year. For 2021 Crosstrek adds a new Sport trim with more aggressive styling; unique wheel arch moldings; 17-inch alloy wheels with a dark gray finish; and a gunmetal gray treatment for the grille, side mirrors and badges. For 2021 the Limited and Sport trim levels are powered by a new a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. All Crosstrek trim levels have redesigned wheels as well as a new front fascia, bumper, and grille.

Review: 2021 Subaru Crosstrek

© Toyota Motor Sales USA15. Toyota 4Runner
2021 Sales: 37,263
Vs. 2020: +32.7%
After 35 years, 4Runner remains one of the few truck-based SUVs left on the market. This highly capable contender has a loyal following, although sales were down nearly 10 percent early in 2020 but rebounded late in the year. The 4Runner is off to a strong starts for 2021 with sales up more than 30 percent. The 4Runner continues to be powered by a 4.0-liter V6 engine producing 270 horsepower and 278 lb-ft of torque, delivered through a 5-speed automatic transmission. New for 2021, the 4Runner Trail Edition is based on the SR5 trim with either 2WD or 4WD and exterior color choices of Army Green, Cement, Midnight Black and Super White. The 4Runner Trail Edition includes black exterior badging, black seating with tan stitching, all-weather floor liners, dark gray TRD Off-Road wheels, a Yakima LoadWarrior rooftop cargo basket, a custom 40-quart cooler and a sliding cargo tray.

© FCA US14. Jeep Cherokee
2021 Sales: 37,923
Vs. 2020: +12.6%
The Jeep Cherokee received an update for 2019; however, Coronavirus and tough competition had sales lagging nearly 35 percent earlier in 2020 before fourth-quarter sales picked up with that improvement continuing into 2021. Cherokee’s updated exterior includes a more vertical 7-slot grille, a new fascia, new headlights and a lightweight aluminum hood. Like all Jeeps, this popular SUV delivers legendary off-road capability with available features including a lifted off-road suspension, skidplates, tow hooks, Selec-Terrain traction control, and Selec-Speed Crawl Control. An 80th Anniversary Edition based on Latitude LUX includes a dual-pane panoramic sunroof, 19-inch wheels with Granite Crystal finish, power front seats with lumbar, dual-zone automatic climate control, remote start, Uconnect with an 8.4-inch touchscreen, premium leather seats with Light Tungsten stitching, Anodized Gun Metal interior accents and Berber floor mats.

© General Motors13. Chevrolet Traverse
2021 Sales: 38,037
Vs. 2020: +26.4%
The Chevrolet Traverse had strong sales in 2019 before dropping early in 2020, although the 3-row crossover finished with fourth-quarter 2020 sales up 23.5 percent and that momentum continues into 2021. Last year Chevrolet debuted a refreshed 2021 Traverse scheduled for release last fall, but the launch has been pushed back to later this year as a 2022 model. For 2021 Traverse is offered in seven trim levels: L, LS, LT Cloth, LT Leather, RS, Premier and High Country. Chevrolet Infotainment 3 and an HD rear vision camera are standard. The standard engine is a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 310 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque, combined with a 9-speed automatic transmission with either front- or all-wheel drive. The Traverse RS is offered with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that delivers 257 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission.

© Mazda North America12. Mazda CX-5
2021 Sales: 40,750
Vs. 2020: +15.7%
Following four consecutive years of record sales numbers, CX-5 sales were down early in 2020 but rebounded in the second half of the year, and sales remain strong in early 2021. Adopting the styling of the larger CX-9, the CX-5 is refined in nearly every way with a revised chassis, an updated SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter gasoline engine, a new interior and many available features. For 2019 Mazda added the Grand Touring Reserve and Signature trim levels, both powered by the turbocharged SKYACTIV-G 2.5T engine, rated for 2021 at 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque with premium fuel; i-ACTIV all-wheel drive is standard. The Carbon Edition includes Polymetal Gray paint, gloss black door mirrors, 19-inch black metallic aluminum alloy wheels, red leather seats, black honeycomb interior trim and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob with red stitching.

© Ford Motor Company11. Ford Escape
2021 Sales: 40,990
Vs. 2020: –14.8%
Ford’s original compact 5-seat crossover, Escape was the best-selling American-brand SUV for many years. Although redesigned for the 2020 model year, Escape sales were down 26 percent in 2020. That trend continues for 2021 with Escape one of only two models in the top 25 with first-quarter 2021 sales lower than 2020. (Note that sales may be impacted by the addition of the similar-size Bronco Sport to the Ford lineup.) The redesigned Ford Escape is lower, wider and longer than its predecessor, with a look quite different from the previous generation. The front end features an all-new grille surprisingly similar to those on the Focus and Fusion passenger cars rather than Ford SUVs. The Escape is available with a choice of four engines; the standard unit is a 3-cylinder 1.5-liter EcoBoost producing 180 horsepower. With the latest generation Escape, Ford also brought back the Escape Hybrid — available as a standard hybrid or as a plug-in.

© Subaru of America10. Subaru Outback
2021 Sales: 41,503
Vs. 2020: +27.3%
The Outback is one of the original crossovers, combining SUV utility with the comfort and convenience of a wagon. Despite the arrival of the all-new 2020 Outback, sales dipped early in 2020 but have rebounded for the first quarter of 2021. As the latest Subaru built on the company’s new global platform, last year Outback received 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. EyeSight includes adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane departure warning and lane-keeping assist. All Outbacks feature Subaru’s Symmetrical all-wheel drive with active torque vectoring, vehicle dynamics control and a generous 8.7-inches of ground clearance. For 2021 Outback receives steering-responsive LED headlights.

First Look: 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness

© Subaru of America9. Subaru Forester
2021 Sales: 47,694
Vs. 2020: +22.0%
Following the arrival of the fifth-generation 2019 model, Forester set a sales record in 2019. Sales in 2020 were initially down but finished the year close to another record, and that momentum continues into 2021. The current Forester is the roomiest version ever offered, with a 1.2-inch-longer wheelbase, more rear-seat legroom and more cargo capacity, as well as improvements in crash protection, comfort, quietness and driving dynamics. EyeSight driver-assist technology is standard, and Forester Touring debuts DriverFocus safety technology that can alert the driver of fatigue or distraction. Forester is powered by an updated direct-injection 2.5-liter Boxer engine that produces 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. For 2021 steering-responsive LED headlights and high-beam headlight assist are standard.

© FCA US8. Jeep Wrangler
2021 Sales: 49,646
Vs. 2020: +25.2%
Not even Wrangler is immune to the pandemic — sales dropped almost 12 percent during 2020 although numbers have rebounded in the first quarter of 2021. The modern descendant of the original U.S. military vehicle, Wrangler upholds the Jeep name and legacy of extreme off-road capability. Both 2- and 4-door versions are available in Sport, Sport S, Sahara and Rubicon trims with numerous special editions including Willys, Freedom and the luxurious High Altitude. For 2020 Jeep added a fuel-efficient diesel powertrain to the Wrangler, as well as the new luxurious High Altitude edition. For 2021 Jeep adds Wrangler 80th Anniversary Edition and Islander. Current engine options for 2021 are a turbocharged 2.0-liter, a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, a 3.6-liter mild hybrid and a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel. Also coming in 2021: Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid and the 470-horsepower Wrangler Rubicon 392.

Review: 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

© FCA US7. Jeep Grand Cherokee
2021 Sales: 55,198
Vs. 2020: +10.2%
One of the original and most popular SUVS of all time, the Grand Cherokee set a new sales record for 2019 and moved past Wrangler as top-selling Jeep model. Despite the pandemic and without a major redesign in 10 years, Grand Cherokee recorded respectable sales numbers in 2020 and an increase for the first quarter of 2021, despite the impending arrival of a new model. Jeep has already unveiled the all-new 2021 Grand Cherokee L, which is scheduled to go on sale this spring. Grand Cherokee L is 15 inches longer than the current version and offers a third-row seat for the first time. The updated two-row Grand Cherokee — as well as the hybrid Grand Cherokee 4xe — will arrive later in 2021. The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L features slim LED headlights, a smaller forward-leaning 7-slot grille, a roof that tapers to the rear spoiler and slim wraparound taillights. Initial engine choices will be a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 and a 5.7-liter HEMI V8.

© General Motors6. Chevrolet Equinox
2021 Sales: 63,218
Vs. 2020: –13.9%
Chevrolet’s second-best-selling vehicle after the full-size Silverado pickup, Equinox sales dropped in 2020 and have continued to drop in 2021. Only the second model in the top 25 with a sales decrease for 2021, Equinox sales have no doubt been impacted by the arrival of the all-new Trailblazer, as well as the delay of the new Equinox. Last year Chevrolet debuted a refreshed 2021 Equinox scheduled to arrive last fall, but the launch has been pushed back to later this year as a 2022 model. For 2021 Equinox features projector-beam headlights, LED running lights, wider horizontal taillights and LED taillights for upper trim levels. Inside, the Equinox has a down-and-away instrument panel with a low windshield base for improved outward visibility. Engine choices for the U.S. market continue to be a 170-horsepower 1.5-liter turbo and a 252-horse 2.0-liter turbo combined with a new 9-speed automatic transmission.

© Toyota Motor Sales USA5. Toyota Highlander
2021 Sales: 63,831
Vs. 2020: +33.3%
All new for the 2020 model year, Highlander sales were trending upward in 2020 until March sales dropped almost 50 percent versus a year earlier. Highlander finished with a strong fourth quarter and started 2021 with a 33 percent increase over 2020. Highlander has 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 combined with a Direct Shift 8-speed automatic transmission — enough power to provide a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds when properly equipped. The Highlander Hybrid is powered by the new-generation Toyota Hybrid System that combines a high-efficiency 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with two electric motors for a total output of 243 horsepower in a system that’s more compact and more efficient than before.

© Ford Motor Company4. Ford Explorer
2021 Sales: 65,244
Vs. 2020: +15.9%
The best-selling SUV of all time, Explorer sales slowed in 2019 but the arrival of an all-new 2020 model boosted sales. Despite the pandemic, Explorer finished 2020 with a sales increase over 2019 which continued into the first quarter of 2021. With its first major redesign in 10 years, the new Explorer is built on an all-new rear-wheel-drive flexible architecture designed to improve ride, handling and capability. The standard engine is a 2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder unit producing 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. Two new versions have been added: the 400-horsepower ST and the 318-horsepower (combined) Limited Hybrid. Explorer now has Co-Pilot360, a suite of safety features including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, post-impact braking and a rearview camera with lens washer.

First Look: 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience3. Nissan Rogue
2021 Sales: 86,720
Vs. 2020: +45.2%
The top-selling model in Nissan’s lineup, Rogue sales cooled in 2020; however, the arrival of an all-new 2021 Rogue boosted sales by 45 percent in the first quarter of 2021. Built on a new platform with fresh styling, advanced safety features and a family friendly interior, the 2021 Nissan Rogue should continue as one of the most popular SUVs in America. The 2021 Rogue features a more classic SUV design with a bold vertical V-Motion grille, strong fender flares and a squared-off tailgate. Unique multi-level LED headlights give the compact crossover a unique look. The 2021 Nissan Rogue has a 2.5-liter direct-injection 4-cylinder engine that produces 181 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque and gets paired with the Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission. Nissan was able to improve interior space up front in the 2021 Rogue with a new electronic shifter that takes less space.

Review: 2021 Nissan Rogue

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2. Honda CR-V
2021 Sales: 93,766
Vs. 2020: +31.7%
The Honda CR-V set a new sales record for 2019, and up until March 2020 the compact SUV continued on the same pace, but after that things cooled along with the rest of the U.S. market. Sales improved in the second half of the year, with CR-V finishing 2020 with a 5.6 percent sales increase in December building to more than a 30 percent increase in the first quarter of 2021. The fifth-generation CR-V continues to be Honda’s top-selling model in the U.S. with more than 4.5 million sold since its introduction in 1997. For 2020 Honda refreshed the CR-V’s exterior styling and added the first hybrid to the 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.

© Toyota Motor Sales, USA1. Toyota RAV4
2021 Sales: 114,255
Vs. 2020: +17.0%
The Toyota RAV4 finished 2020 as the best-selling SUV in America for the fourth consecutive year despite a modest 3.9 percent drop in sales. For the first quarter of 2021 RAV4 sales are up and continue to hold the number one position in SUV sales by a 20 percent margin. One of the original compact crossovers on the American market, the RAV4 was redesigned for 2019 with bold styling, improved capability, better performance and an array of new safety and convenience features. RAV4 now has automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection — as well as lane departure alert — as standard equipment. For 2020 Toyota added the RAV4 TRD Off-Road, and the 2021 the RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid began arriving in summer 2020. Not only is the plug-in more fuel efficient, it is also the second-quickest vehicle in the Toyota lineup behind the GR Supra sports car.

First Drive Review: 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime

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