Best-Selling Cars and Trucks in America
Americans love trucks. So much, in fact, that the best-selling vehicles every month for as long as we can remember have all been pickups.
That didn't change last month, either. First through third places fell to familiar faces, though there were a lot of changes in the rest of the top 10. Looking over the gains and losses of each vehicle, it's clear that crossovers are continuing to take the place of sedans as the family car of choice in America.
It's also important to remember that General Motors reports sales differently than every other car manufacturer that sells cars in America, choosing to release figures quarterly instead of monthly. That means the Chevy Silverado and Equinox appear on this list once again after a couple of months of unknown sales figures.
This story was last updated on January 7, 2019.
10. Toyota Corolla
December 2018 Sales: 25,439
Change vs. prior year: +27%
With a history dating back nearly half a century, the Toyota Corolla has been almost synonymous with the term compact car. Little has changed on the sedan for the 2018 model year. It is available as both a sedan and as a hatchback.
In the Corolla hatchback, Toyota's 1.8-liter engine produces 137 horsepower and 126 pound-feet. A single trim level is offered, with the choice of CVT or 6-speed manual shift.
Corolla sedans come in six trim levels: L, LE, LE Eco, XLE, SE, and XSE. Each holds a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque. The LE Eco is an exception. Tuned for fuel-efficiency, with special valve timing, its engine is rated higher than the regular version, at 140 horsepower. Like other current Toyota products, the Corolla gets an impressive collection of safety features as standard equipment.
Most Corolla sedans are fitted with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). A six-speed manual gearbox is available only for the SE sedan.
Corollas might be short on personality, ranking as average all around. But they're refined in demeanor and fully capable of delivering common-sense satisfaction.
Toyota Corolla Information
9. Honda CivicDecember 2018 Sales: 26,384
Change vs. prior year: -16%
The Honda Civic, which has been zipping around on our streets for 45 years, was totally redesigned for the 2016 model year; the Civic sedan and then the coupe were made longer and wider. The sleek hatchback followed for 2017, including a high-performance Civic Type R with a big wing. So for 2018 there are no changes.
In the upscale models, the compact Civic feels more like a premium car than an economy car. The sedan, especially, is refined and smooth-riding. It's a calm car, not a sporty or especially quick one, with good handling and easy brakes.
The standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine makes 158 horsepower, about the same as a Mazda3, but unfortunately it's boring. It comes with either a six-speed manual transmission that we really like, or a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that isn't new, doesn't have paddle shifters and is even more boring than the engine.
That mostly puts the job to the other engine, a 1.5-liter turbo making 174 horsepower. It's a revelation, not only quicker and more responsive than the non-turbo 2.0, but with a better CVT. It gets nearly the same fuel mileage as the 2.0, which with the CVT is EPA-rated at 35 mpg combined miles per gallon (only 31 mpg with the manual).
The sportier Civic Si really ups the power with 205 hp, and the Type R, with its 2.0-liter turbo brings 306 horsepower to the VTEC and VTC engine.
Honda Civic Information
8. Toyota Camry
December 2018 Sales: 29,093
Change vs. prior year: -33%
The Toyota Camry appeals to the average car buyer with its safety, fuel economy, exterior looks and standard features. A standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder puts out 203 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque and estimated fuel economy of 28 mpg city, 39 mpg highway, and 32 mpg combined. An optional 3.5-liter V6 makes 301 hp and 267 lb-ft. Finally, a hybrid delivers 51 mpg city, 53 mpg highway, and 52 mpg combined — essentially the same as most Prius trim levels.
Toyota Camry Information
7. Chevy Equinox
December 2018 Sales: 33,172
Change vs. prior year: +1%
For 2018, Chevy finally gave the Equinox a ground-up redesign, with a lighter body (by 400 pounds) and chassis, and three new turbocharged engines.
A turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder serves as the base engine, and a 1.6-liter turbodiesel that will be available later this summer will be the economy leader. In-between is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine.
This new 2.0-liter unit isn't as powerful as the 3.6-liter V6 it replaces, making 252 horsepower as opposed to 301. Torque is down, too, with 260 pound-feet instead of 272. But what it loses in power, it gains in fuel economy. The old V6 only managed 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway with front-wheel drive, and the all-wheel-drive version got 1 mpg less in each category. The new 2.0-liter four-cylinder gets 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive. Going with all-wheel drive drops the highway number by 1 mpg.
Chevrolet Equinox Information
6. Toyota RAV4December 2018 Sales: 38,669
Change vs. prior year: +19%
The Toyota RAV4 is one of the compact SUVs that created the class, and it includes many outstanding features that make it an even more useful family vehicle. New for 2018 is an Adventure trim featuring larger over-fender flares, lower body guards & 18-inch black alloy wheels.
The RAV4 seats five and is a four-door, compact sport utility vehicle, now available in six trim levels: LE, XLE, SE, Limited, Platinum, and the new Adventure. All trims include a powerful 2.5-liter, 176-hp inline-four and a six-speed automatic transmission. All models are available with front-wheel or full-time all-wheel drive.
Toyota RAV4 Information
5. Honda CR-V
December 2018 Sales: 42,079
Change vs. prior year: +14%
The Honda CR-V, a compact crossover SUV with room for passengers and cargo, was all new for 2017, so for 2018 it's unchanged. CR-V's driving dynamics are appealing, and it's relatively refined and isolated from road turmoil. The Honda's main rival is the Toyota RAV4, but the compact crossover field is crowded with good cars.
CR-V LX models uses a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 184 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque.
All other models use a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 190 horsepower and 179 pound-feet. That's a mere six horsepower difference on paper, but the turbo feels much stronger. All models use a gearless continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive available, including on the LX. When road conditions warrant, the all-wheel-drive can distribute greater power to rear wheels for more stable handling and greater all-weather capability.
The fuel mileage is high, from 27 to 30 miles per gallon depending on the powertrain. A front-drive LX is EPA-rated at 26/32 mpg City/Highway, or 28 mpg Combined. All-wheel drive lowers that estimate to 25/31/27 mpg City/Highway/Combined. A turbo with front-wheel drive is EPA-rated at 28/34/30, while the all-wheel-drive version lops 1 mpg off each figure.
All models except the LX (about 75 percent) include Honda Sensing, a suite of safety technology including automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane-departure warning. If the CR-V starts to drift, lane-keep assist can nudge the CR-V back where it belongs. The system determines drift by the driver not using the turn signal to change lanes, so if you start to change lanes without using the turn signal, the steering wheel will resist. Honda Sensing also includes road departure mitigation, blind-spot monitoring, and automatic high beams.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the CR-V five stars overall in crash testing, with five-star scores in each test with contact, and four stars for rollover prevention, typical for crossovers and SUVs, which are taller than sedans.
Top ratings also were given by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which awarded the CR-V a Top Safety Pick+ for those CR-Vs with Honda Sensing and LED headlamps.
Honda CR-V Information
4. Nissan RogueDecember 2018 Sales: 42,523
Change vs. prior year: +6%
Nissan Rogue is a small crossover. It's comfortable and has all-wheel drive available, but its powertrain and handling are unexciting compared to some of its competitors. For 2018, the optional third-row seat has been dropped. It was very small.
The 2018 Rogue SL model can be optioned with Nissan's new ProPilot Assist technology, a step closer to autonomous driving. With ProPilot Assist, the Rogue can automatically accelerate, brake, and maintain the distance from other vehicles with no driver input, in certain situations.
Also for 2018, the standard infotainment system has been updated to include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the entry-level Rogue S gets a nice 7.0-inch touchscreen, and there are two new colors. For 2018, all but the base model get standard liftback opening with a wave of the foot under the rear bumper.
It's hard to put the Rogue in a box, because the smaller Nissan Juke is deemed a compact, and the larger Pathfinder a midsize. Rogue is a big compact or a small midsize, closer to the Pathfinder in size. Nissan sells a smaller, less-powerful crossover called the Rogue Sport that's cheaper but certainly not sportier.
Rogue comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder mated to a continuously variable transmission, making 170 horsepower with 175 foot-pounds of torque, delivering mediocre acceleration and a strong 29 EPA Combined miles per gallon with front-wheel drive, 27 mpg with all-wheel drive.
The cargo area is handy for cargo, but unsecured floor panels make the Rogue a terrible choice for dog owners.
Rogue has earned a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS, with mostly top Good scores, an Acceptable headlamp rating, and Superior front crash prevention. The NHTSA gives it four stars. It's a rare discrepancy for a vehicle that gets the top rating from IIHS not to get five stars from NHTSA. It appears that it's the SL model with LED headlamps that earns the top score from IIHS.
Nissan Rogue Information
3. Chevy Silverado
December 2018 Sales: 54,424
Change vs. prior year: -20%
There's a brand-new Chevy Silverado in dealerships for 2019, but these December sales are spread across that new truck and the outgoing model.
Silverado 1500 competes with Ram 1500, Ford F-150, Toyota Tundra, Nissan Titan, and GMC Sierra 1500. Silverado and Sierra differ mainly in appearance and trim. Silverado looks sportier and more adventurous, Sierra looks classier and more conservative.
With their large engines and steel bodies and structure, the GM pickups are more traditional than the Ford F-150, which is built with extensive use of aluminum and small, turbo engines.
Three engines are available: The 4.3-liter V6 is rated at 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque and comes with a six-speed automatic. The 5.3-liter V8 is rated 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque, with a 6-speed automatic standard and an 8-speed automatic on upper models. The 6.2-liter V8 is rated 420 hp, 460 lb-ft of torque, and comes with the eight-speed. Though traditional in size, these engines are all-aluminum, with the latest in direct injection and variable valve timing.
2. Ram 1500-3500
December 2018 Sales: 60,155
Change vs. prior year: +34%
The Ram 1500 provides something for everyone with the choice of three cab styles (regular, Quad and Crew cabs), three wheelbases, and 4x2 or 4x4 drive types. Engine options include a 3.6-liter V6, 5.7-liter HEMI V8 or 3.0-liter V6 turbo diesel engines.
A multi-link coil spring rear suspension (in place of a traditional leaf spring suspension) improves ride and handling characteristics without sacrificing payload and towing capability.
Ram 1500 Information
1. Ford F-Series
December 2018 Sales: 87,772
Change vs. prior year: -2%
The latest Ford F-150 represents a revolutionary step forward in the full-size pickup truck market. The F-150 has set itself apart from the competition by rethinking the entire segment and offering an all-aluminum body on all of its models to reduce the curb weight while maintaining both the payload and the towing values. The all-aluminum body and pickup box shaves up to 700 pounds from the curb weight, and the availability of four efficient gasoline engines paired to a six-speed automatic transmission provides remarkable fuel economy.
The F-150 is available with three cab styles (regular, super and crew) with either a 4x2 or 4x4 drivetrain and three pickup box lengths. Five distinct trims include the XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum. Four engine choices are available: an all-new 3.3-liter V6, a 325-hp 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 with 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, and a 395-hp 5.0-liter flex-fuel V8.