Sales

As dealerships reopen, these cars are the greatest post-coronavirus sales success stories

The Subaru Forester had a relatively good sales month in May.

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

Though many auto dealerships did not totally stop operations during the COVID-19 outbreak, sales slumped across the country and buying a new vehicle was put on the back burner due to economic uncertainty, health, and lack of shopping opportunity. Automakers worked with dealerships and regulators to make the purchase process easier using digital document signing, pick-up and drop-off service, and initiating cleanliness guidelines for dealers.

As the world starts to open up, so too have dealerships. Americans are not shying away form purchasing and automakers are staring down supply chain issues as demand picks back up.

Some auto companies and dealers have been better at addressing the struggle during this time, turning shoppers into buyers and moving those buyers toward on-hand inventory. Though most model sales were down for May 2020 versus May 2019, a vehicles did better than expected, putting up strong numbers compared to the sales results of the first quarter of 2020. Scroll down to see the winners.

Hyundai Veloster

2020 Hyundai Veloster

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

It's pretty cut and dry. Hyundai sold more Velosters in May than it did in any other month in 2020 so far.

Honda Passport

2019 Honda Passport
Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Mfg. Inc.

It's simple. Honda sold more Passports in May than it did in any other month in 2020 so far. Before you think that it's because Pilot and CR-V models weren't in stock, consider that those SUVs also had great months.

Acura MDX

2020 Acura MDX
Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Sales of the Acura MDX were higher in May than they were in January, March, and April of this year. That's good news for the model, which is about to be completely redesigned.

Kia Seltos

2021 Kia Seltos

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Sales of the Kia Seltos were just starting when the pandemic hit. The automaker sold the most Seltos models ever in May 2020, almost doubling what they sold in April.

Hyundai Tucson

2020 Hyundai Tucson
Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai sold nearly double the amount of Tucsons in May as they did any other vehicle. The SUV had its best month of the year (no other month came within 5,000 units).

Honda CR-V

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

Honda sold more CR-Vs in the month of May than they did in any other month in 2020 so far. That's about 2.5 times more than the number of SUVs they sold in April and nearly 1.75 times as many as were sold in March. Of note, Honda introduced the CR-V Hybrid to the market during the pandemic, perhaps helping to boost those sales.

Subaru Forester

Subaru Forester
Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

Though down considerably year-to-date, sales of the Subaru Forester strengthened in May 2020, outselling May 2019 by over 11 percent. Its May sales were the highest of the year so far.

Genesis G70

Genesis G70
Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

The luxury arm of Hyundai has bounced back nicely after slow sales in March and April. However, it's G70 is the real stand out with May 2020 being its best sales month of the year.

Kia Soul

Kia Soul
Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia sold more Souls in May than it did during any other month in 2020. In fact, there were about 1.65 times more Souls sold in May than there were in April.

Hyundai Palisade

2020 Hyundai Palisade

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Though Kia Telluride sales have languished due to supply chain issues, its sister model, the Hyundai Palisade, has seen sales flourish. In May, the company sold more Palisades than they had in any month in 2020 so far.

Mazda Mazda3

Mazda Mazda3

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

Mazda sold nearly double the number of Mazda3s during May than they did in April and about 45 percent more than they did in March. This makes the Mazda3 the company's best-selling car.

Honda Pilot

2019 Honda Pilot
Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Honda doubled the number of Pilots it sold in both March and April in May. The over 12,000 sold is, by far, the highest number sold per month in 2020.

Subaru WRX/STI

Subaru WRX/STI
Photo courtesy of Subaru of America, Inc.

The aging car, which is one of the remaining few that comes with a manual transmission offering, celebrated its best month of sales so far this year. Sales of the Subaru WRX/STI were up nearly seven percent in May 2020 compared to May 2019.

Hyundai Santa Fe

Hyundai Santa Fe

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Like the Tucson, Hyundai has seen the Santa Fe achieve the highest total number of sales in May as it has in any month of 2020. The numbers are nearly double the amount of vehicles sold in April.

Kia Stinger

2020 Kia Stinger
Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia Stinger sales have not been stellar, but in May they picked up a lot of momentum nearly doubling the number the company sold in March.

Honda Accord

Honda Accord
Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

The Honda Accord faces stiff competition from the Toyota Camry it also faced the economic downturn by losing about half of its average monthly sales. With dealerships back open, the Accord had its second-best sales month of the year in May.

Kia Sorento

Kia Sorento
Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia sold more Sorentos in May than they did in January, March, and April. The SUV nearly outsold the Sportage and Kia sold about 2.5 times as many Sorentos as they did Telluride. The Sorento is getting a complete redesign for the 2021 model year.

Honda Civic

2020 Honda Civic

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

As well as the Accord did, the Civic did better, having its best sales month of 2020 so far in May - and it wasn't even close.

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The Hyundai Palisade got a mild refresh for 2023.

Hyundai

Earlier this year, Hyundai announced changes to the Palisade for 2023. The list includes a new front fascia, an updated grille with new headlights and daytime running lights, a 12-inch touchscreen with navigation, and more. A new XRT trim joined the lineup as well, bringing brawny off-road styling and dar exterior trim. Today, Hyundai announced pricing for the SUV, which starts at a little more than $32,000.

2023 Hyundai PalisadeA new XRT trim adds rugged styling. Hyundai

The Palisade's powertrain carries over from 2022, which includes a 3.8-liter V6 that makes 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive. Inside, the SUV got several new and updated technology features, including a more powerful wireless device charging pad, an updated digital key system, and a larger infotainment display.

As Hyundai's flagship SUV, the Palisade edges on luxury territory, with plush leather upholstery and a serene cabin that offers excellent noise cancellation and comfort. Captain's chairs and seven-passenger seating are available, but a second-row bench comes standard and brings eight-passenger capacity to the SUV.

Muscular SUVs are more popular than ever before, so Hyundai gave the posh Palisade an outdoorsy treatment with its XRT trim. The new Palisade XRT builds on the SEL trim with 20-inch wheels, a more rugged bumper and lower body cladding, a sunroof, and leatherette upholstery. To be clear, XRT is an appearance package that does not improve off-road capability to a large degree.

2023 Hyundai PalisadeTop trims border on the quality and design of some luxury brands. Hyundai

Standard safety equipment is generous, and includes forward collision warnings with avoidance, lane keep assist, lane following assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, driver attention warnings, high beam assist, and adaptive cruise control.

Pricing for the base Palisade SE starts at $36,245, which includes a $1,295 destination charge. The top Calligraphy AWD model starts at $52,095 after destination. All-wheel drive is available for all trims as an added-cost option.

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The Ascent got updated styling and fresh tech.

Subaru

Subaru's lineup is full of useful, adventure-ready vehicles, but most are not accommodating for full-size families. The Ascent solved that issue for the automaker a few years ago, and has been a popular family option since. It got a mild update for 2023 with a facelift and new tech. The Ascent comes in five trims: Base, Premium, Onyx Edition, Limited, and Touring. It's expected to go on sale in fall 2022.

The Subaru comes with a new front fascia design that adds a new grille and aggressive styling up front. Lower air ducts help improve aerodynamics, and in higher trims the components come with chrome trim. The SUV's C-shaped taillights got a refresh as well, and now feature a sharper shape to better match the vehicle's overall styling.

2023 Subaru AscentThe new front fascia design is more aggressive than before. Subaru

The Ascent's powertrain remains in place, which is a turbocharged 2.54-liter four-cylinder making 260 horsepower. It sends power to all four wheels through a continuously variable transmission that offers a simulated eight-speed manual shifting mode. Subaru's X-Mode driving mode comes standard, which alters throttle response and other vehicle behavior to maintain traction in slippery conditions. Torque vectoring, which allows the vehicle to shift torque between wheels that need it most, also comes standard.

A new Onyx Edition trim joins the Ascent line for 2022. It brings a standard 11.6-inch touchscreen with navigation, a Harman Kardon sound system, power seats, and a panoramic sunroof. The base Ascent comes with features such as 18-inch wheels, USB inputs, tri-zone automatic climate controls, three rows of seating, and a whopping 19 cupholders. Subaru also offers an optional Cabin Connect system, which allows the driver or front passenger to communicate to people behind them through the stereo using a front-cabin-mounted microphone.

2023 Subaru AscentThe Ascent's interior is available with great tech, such as an 11.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Subaru

Subaru EyeSight safety equipment comes standard with every Ascent. The system is improved for 2023 with a wider field of vision and new software. A new wide-angle camera joins EyeSight's existing two-camera setup to provide better pedestrian and cyclist detection when approaching intersections. Blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, and lane change assist are available.

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