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

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

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

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 February 2, 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 - Toyota Avalon (1,528 sold)

2021 Toyota Avalon Limited AWD

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

The current generation of the Toyota Avalon was introduced in 2019. For 2021, the Avalon gets an all-wheel drive option for the first time in the car's history. A new variant, the Avalon XSE Nightshade is now available and all Avalons have received Android Auto.

No. 19 - Volvo S60 (1,571 sold)

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

The Volvo S60 is currently in its third generation and is offered n four time levels with four powertrain options. For 2019, the car was redesigned from the four up and it hasn't changed much since then.

No. 18 - Lexus IS (1,609 sold)

2021 Lexus IS

Photo courtesy of Lexus

The Lexus IS received a significant refresh for the 2021 model year. It's sportier than before offering a more engaging drive and hugging the roadway with ease. The cabin has also received an upgrade, as has the list of safety technology.

No. 17 - Kia Rio (1,733 sold)

2021 Kia Rio

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors​

The Kia Rio was refreshed for the 2021 model year getting new front and rear styling including a new bumper and grille intakes as well as a new rear bumper treatment. There's a larger 8-inch infotainment touch screen and a new technology package that includes LED headlights, automatic temperature control, 15-inch alloy wheels, and Smart Key with push button start.

No. 16 - Subaru Legacy (1,746 sold)

2020 Subaru Legacy

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

The Subaru Legacy was completely redesigned for the 2020 model year. For 2021, it's mostly a carryover with the exception of a few new standard features. Those include new standard steering responsive LED headlights, front and rear passenger seat belt reminder, and rear seat reminder.

No. 15 - Honda Fit (1,954 sold)

2020 Honda Fit Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

The Honda Fit has been cancelled. There is no 2021 model year for the small car, which found a following because of its versatile interior and good fuel economy. Models on lots today are remnants of the 2020 model year.

No. 14 - Lexus ES (2,654 sold)

2021 Lexus ES

Photo courtesy of Lexus

Lexus expanded the ES family for the 2021 model year, adding the ES 250 AWD and ES 350 Black Line Special Edition to the roster. Most ES models are now equipped with standard blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert technology.

No. 13 - Ford Fusion (2,677 sold)

2020 Ford Fusion Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Fusion is dead. Ford has stopped making the car, whose run ended with the 2020 model year. All sales of the vehicle from here on out are of those models that still remain on dealership lots.

No. 12 - Toyota Prius (3,007)

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. 11 - Mazda Mazda3 (3,046 sold)

2021 Mazda Mazda3 Turbo

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

For the 2021 model year, Mazda brought back a heaping helping of horsepower to the Mazda3. The 2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo delivers 250 horsepower and starts at $29,900. But, enthusiasts beware, the engine is only paired with an automatic transmission.

No. 10 - Ford Mustang (4,327 sold)

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1

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. 9 - Hyundai Sonata (5,020 sold)

2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line 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. 8 - Kia Soul (5,377 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. 7 - Kia K5 (5,443 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. 6 - Kia Forte (7,021 sold)

2021 Kia Forte 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. 5 - Hyundai Elantra (7,242 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. 4 - Toyota Camry (21,771 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. 3 - Honda Accord (13,330 sold)

2021 Honda Accord Hybrid 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid 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. 2 - Honda Civic (15,475 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. 1 - Toyota Corolla (19,266 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.

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The Nissan Ariya has wind glide over it in the testing tunnel.

Photo courtesy of Nisan Motor Company

Nissan is targeting a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.297 for the Ariya all-electric crossover. If it can make that number, it will be the company's most aerodynamic crossover to date. What does that mean? Let's take a closer look.

What is drag?

Simply put, drag is an aerodynamic force. It's mechanical in nature, so it is the result of the interaction of a solid body and a liquid. In the case of a car, this liquid is air. (Yes, air is a liquid.) It only occurs when one part of the equation (the solid body or the liquid) is in motion. If there is no motion, there is no drag.

Drag only occurs in the opposite direction of the object's movement. Think of a car cutting through the air as it drives down a north-south road. As the car heads north, the air it passes through is pushed south. The car is in motion; there is drag.

2022 Nissan Ariya

Photo courtesy of Nisan Motor Company

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What is coefficient of drag?

The coefficient of drag, also called a drag coefficient, is a number that aerodynamics professions (aerodynamicists) use to determine the shape, inclination, and flow conditions on a vehicle's drag. The shape of an object (bullet vs. square vs prism, etc.) has a large impact on the amount of drag created by airflow surrounding a vehicle. Objects with narrower front ends tend to have a lower coefficient.

Scientists and vehicle designers want to keep air moving around the car for maximum efficiency. The inclination of the airflow to either move in a smooth, connected pattern, or to be broken up with air sitting, stalling in one particular part of the vehicle, lessening airflow and making the vehicle less aerodynamic.

A vehicle's Cd is determined by plugging various measurements into an equation. Cd is equal to drag (D) divided by the quantity of density (r) multiplied by half the velocity (V) squared multiple by the reference area (A). As an equation, it looks like this: Cd = D / (A * .5 * r * V^2).

The smaller the Cd, the more aerodynamic a vehicle is.

2022 Nissan Ariya

The Nissan Ariya employs aerodynamic wheel design, made to help it cut though the air with greater ease.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

What is the coefficient of drag of the Nissan Ariya?

"With the growing shift towards electric mobility, aerodynamic testing is becoming increasingly important. The aerodynamics of electric vehicles are directly linked to how efficiently the vehicle moves – less drag and better stability allows the customer to drive longer distances before having to recharge," said Sarwar Ahmed, Aerodynamics and Aeroacoustics Engineer at Nissan Technical Centre Europe.

Nissan is targeting a 0.297 coefficient of drag for the Ariya. How will it achieve that number? By utilizing precisely shaped body lines and strategically placed air ducts, among other components. There's a bonus to better aerodynamics when it comes to EVs.

"Following official homologation of the Nissan Ariya later this year, we anticipate the range to improve compared to the 310 mile figure shared in 2020 during the World Premiere. This will give drivers more efficiency and confidence to go even further on a single charge," said Marco Fioravanti, VP Product Planning, Nissan Europe.

How does the Ariya's coefficient of drag compare to other Nissans?

The newest Nissans, the Kicks, Pathfinder, and Frontier, don't have their Cd publicly available yet, but other models have their results. The targeted 0.297 Cd in the Ariya is less than that in the 2021 Armada, Murano, and Rogue. But, it's higher than the Nissan Leaf.

The fact that it's higher than the Leaf is not surprising. Shorter cars tend to be more aerodynamic because they sit lower to the ground and have a smaller profile. That also explains why Nissan's largest and boxiest SUV, the Armada, has the highest number on the list.

How does the Ariya's coefficient of drag compare to numbers from other EVs?

The Nissan Ariya's coefficient of drag is higher than that of most other electric cars, crossovers, and SUVs sold in the U.S. Here's where the others measure up:

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The Jeep Wrangler Dual-Door Group offers factory-backed half-door comfort, style, and safety.
Photo courtesy of Stellantis

Jeep Wrangler owners who want an open-air experience but don't want the complete doors-off look have a new from-the-factory option. Jeep Performance Parts and Mopar have worked together to create new half-doors for the iconic SUV.

The new Jeep Wrangler Dual-Door Group features two factory engineered, tested, and backed half-door options that offer owners the option to have production-level styling, security, and occupancy protection in addition to improved visibility.

Available for both two- and four-door Jeep Wrangler models through the Mopar Custom Shop, as part of an original new-vehicle purchase in the U.S. and Canada, the new Jeep Wrangler Dual-Door Group includes both full and half doors. Full-steel production doors are installed on the vehicle while matching body-color half doors are packaged within the vehicle.

    Jeep Wrangler Dual-Door Group

    Photo courtesy of Stellantis

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    With production-level materials and build quality, new half doors are designed to work when equipped with any of the following features: power mirrors, blind-spot detection, passive and non-passive entry handles, and power locks. A quick and easy swap from full doors to half doors can be accomplished within minutes using the existing hinge locations and the exact same wiring connections.

    The newly developed upper-window assemblies are designed to have a weather-tight sealant feature zippered plastic windows. Two materials are offered for the assemblies: base-model vinyl that matches the production soft-top roof or premium acrylic that matches the premium soft-top roof.

    Each upper-door frame section uses an easy, tool-free, dual-guide post feature for easy installation and removal.

    The Dual-Door Group is now available on two- and four-door Jeep Wrangler Sport, Rubicon; Sahara, Rubicon 392, and 4xe models. Factory-option pricing for the U.S.s tarts at $2,350 for the two-door's Dual-Door Group with base-model upper-window assembles while the four-door costs $3,995. Checking the box for the more premium version of the upper-window assemblies moves the price tag up to $2,550 for the two-door and $4,395 for the four-door.

    Warranty coverage for each Dual-Door Group option is included as part of the new-vehicle warranty of three years/36,000 miles.

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