Hottest cars and trucks in America: Third Quarter 2019
Best-Selling Cars and Trucks in America
Americans love trucks. So much, in fact, that the best-selling vehicles every year for as long as we care to remember have all been pickups.
That hasn't changed so far in 2019, either. First through third places fell to familiar faces, though there were some noteworthy changes in the order of the rest of the top 10. The Nissan Rogue surpassed the Toyota Camry in the overall sales race, and 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.
Some car companies choose to release sales figures monthly, while others do so only once every quarter. These numbers are accurate through the third quarter of 2019, and will continue to climb as the days and weeks progress.
10. Toyota Corolla
Total sales through September, 2019: 233,978
Toyota has updated its compact Corolla for the 2019 model year, adopting a stronger powertrain and adding a new Hatchback body style. Meanwhile, Corolla sedans carry on with the previous design and powertrain for another year; a new sedan arrives for 2020.
On sale since summer 2018, the hatchback presents a sportier, yet more restrained, appearance. Two trim levels are offered: SE and XSE. Sedans come in six trim levels.
Essentially, the hatchback is a European-market model, modified to suit American tastes. As a rule in the U.S. market, sedans outsell the hatchback body style by a wide margin. The new chassis is shared with several Toyota models, including the hybrid Prius.
Beneath each hatchback hood, a new 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine develops 168 horsepower and 155 pound-feet of torque. Sedans retain the previous 1.8-liter engine, rated at a less vibrant 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet.
A 6-speed manual gearbox is standard with SE trim, with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) optional. XSE hatchbacks come only with the CVT. Both transmissions have been set up to deliver a sportier feel than before. The manual transmission delivers rev-matching downshifts, while the gearless CVT incorporates a dedicated low ratio to provide quicker takeoffs.
Toyota Corolla Information
9. Chevy Equinox
Total sales through September, 2019: 253,956
The 2019 Chevy Equinox returns for the new model year with few changes to its compact-crossover shape or mission.
Changes for the 2019 model year largely relate to options. An Equinox may have a 7.0- or 8.0-inch touchscreen (8-inch with navigation available). Four USB data ports are standard. Adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking now are available for the Premier edition.
Equinox buyers must choose between two gasoline engines, a high-mpg turbodiesel engine, front- or all-wheel drive, and four basic trim levels: L, LS, LT and Premier trim levels.
The standard engine is a 1.5-liter turbo-4, rated at 170 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque, mated with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
LT and Premium trim levels can upgrade to a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that sends 252 hp and 260 lb-ft to a 9-speed automatic; or to a 1.6-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder. Developing a modest 137 horsepower, the turbodiesel supplies 240 lb-ft of torque, working with a 6-speed automatic. Most models can have either front- or all-wheel drive.
Chevrolet Equinox Information
8. Honda Civic
Total sales through September, 2019: 255,484
The Honda Civic has been around, and successful, for nearly half a century. You read that right, this is its 46th year. Another way of looking at that is that the Civic has been around for nearly half the time that cars have existed.
The sedan and coupe were redesigned in 2016. The hatchback followed in 2017, and for 2018 there were no changes. Now, in 2019, there are new headlamps, and some of the chrome in front has been replaced by cleaner black trim. But a more significant change is that automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warnings, and adaptive cruise control have been made standard on all models. That raises the price by about $500, but last year those features cost about $1,000 as an optional package.
There are so many types of Civic that it's difficult to generally describe the performance, but it can be said that it's a calm car, not a sporty one (except for the Civic Si and Type R), and it feels more like a small luxury car than a compact. It offers fluid handling, a comfortable ride, interior room in the sedan and cargo capacity in the hatchback.
The Civic family includes a coupe, sedan and hatchback, in six trims from base LX to Sport to fully-loaded Touring. They use two engines: a 158-horsepower 2.0-liter four cylinder, or a 174-hp 1.5-liter turbocharged four.
The Civic Si pumps that turbo four up to 205 horsepower, and uses an adaptive suspension; it changes the character of the Civic, offering fun with the frugality, and throws in refinement as a bonus.
The Type R hatchback with its aero styling tosses a shrieking 306-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbo-4 at buyers. Why? Because Honda can. Both the Si and Type R come with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), but a 6-speed manual is available.
Honda says the best-selling Civic is the sedan with the more powerful 1.5-liter turbocharged engine making 174 horsepower, which comes in the three top sedan models, EX-L, EX-T, and Touring (it's standard in the hatchback). Fuel mileage for those models is exceptional, at 32 mpg city, 42 highway, and a satisfying 36 mpg combined. The aerodynamics apparently aren't quite as good on the hatchback and coupe, which get 34 mpg and 35 mpg, respectively.
Civics with the non-turbo 2.0-liter engine making 158 horsepower make 2 mpg less, at 30/40/34 mpg with the CVT.
Even Civic Si with its bump up to 205 horsepower doesn't take a big hit on fuel mileage, at 28/38/32 mpg as either the coupe or hatchback. The Civic Type R is the relatively thirsty one, although 25 mpg and 306 horsepower is still a winning formula.
Honda Civic Information
7. Toyota Camry
Total sales through September, 2019: 258,456
The Toyota Camry was redesigned last year, making it more stylish on the outside while still sedate in the seat of the pants. For 2019 there are no changes except for the addition of standard Apple CarPlay compatibility.
The base engine is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder making a bit over 200 horsepower, with an available 3.5-liter V-6 making a bulging 301 horsepower; both use a nice 8-speed automatic transmission. The popular 52-mpg Hybrid takes a 176-hp 2.5-liter inline-4 and pairs it with two motors to make 208 hp, while using an electronic continuously variable transmission.
The Hybrid comes in three of the Camry's five models, with the Hybrid LE using lithium-ion batteries that deliver slightly better fuel economy than the fancier Hybrid XSE and XLE, which use heavier and nickel-metal-hydride batteries.
The 2019 Camry corners with surprising verve, even while its ride is on the soft side. Two models, the SE and XSE, offer suspension tuning that's firmer but not hard-edged at all. The latest Camry has a spacious interior, and it's well-finished.
The 4-cylinder is still quite fuel efficient, with the base L model rated by the EPA at 29/41/34 mpg, using smaller tires designed for low rolling resistance and high fuel economy. The other models use tires for comfort and grip, and deliver 28 mpg city, 39 highway, 32 combined.
The Hybrid LE uses those same trick tires to get its 51/53/52 mpg.
The big V-6 is EPA-rated at 22/33/26 mpg.
Toyota Camry Information
6. Nissan Rogue
Total sales through September, 2019: 272,300
These figures account for both the standard Nissan Rogue and the smaller Rogue Sport.
The 2019 Nissan Rogue puts comfort at the top of its priority list, with safety technology a close second. It's an excellent place to drive for a few hours, while performance pulls up shy to some of its biggest rivals.
There's a smaller Rogue Sport in the Nissan family that's distinct from this compact crossover; we review it separately.
The Rogue's been updated for 2019 with standard automatic emergency braking, while the Nissan active safety system suite of features, called ProPilot Assist, is standard on all models except the base S and SV, where it is optional. The system helps drivers stay in their lanes by beeping a warning when it detects drifting, a protection against dozing off. In certain situations, ProPilot Assist can also accelerate, brake, and maintain the distance from other vehicles with no driver input.
The 2019 Rogue comes standard with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine mated to a continuously variable transmission, making 170 horsepower with 175 foot-pounds of torque. It delivers average acceleration.
Fuel mileage is a solid 26 mpg city, 33 highway, and 29 combined with front-wheel drive, 27 mpg combined with all-wheel drive. The Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Subaru Forester get about 30 mpg-but there is a Rogue Hybrid, which the EPA rates at up to 34 mpg combined.
Nissan Rogue Information
5. Honda CR-V
Total sales through September, 2019: 280,739
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 6 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. A rearview camera is standard on all models.
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 mpg City/Highway, or 30 mpg Combined, 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.
Honda CR-V Information
4. Toyota RAV4
Total sales through September, 2019: 324,622
The 2019 Toyota RAV4 is the most popular crossover SUVs for sale in the U.S., and for good reason. It's versatile, holds up to five passengers, and carries with it Toyota's reputation for durability.
It's available with front- or all-wheel drive. Power comes from a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 203 horsepower, and it's reasonably quick, with smooth shifts handled by an 8-speed automatic. A hybrid version uses its electric motor and nickel-metal hydride battery and an electronic continuously variable transmission to power the rear wheels while its gas engine powers the front wheels, making it all-wheel drive.
With 8.6 inches of ground clearance, the RAV4 can go off-roading, but the simple all-wheel-drive system on the LE and XLE models is intended for inclement weather, not trails. These models lack a two-speed transfer case.
The Adventure model has a more sophisticated system as standard equipment, with modes for specific types of terrain, including Trail. It employs brake-based torque-vectoring for better cornering on the road and more tenacity in the dirt. The system, which is optional on the Limited, cuts about 2 mpg off the RAV4's EPA gas mileage ratings.
Front-wheel-drive RAV4s are EPA-rated at 26/34/29 miles per gallon, better than rivals; while the LE and XLE with basic all-wheel drive get 26/33/29 mpg. The Adventure and Limited with their more complex AWD system are rated at 24 mpg city, 32 highway, 27 combined.
If it's fuel economy that's most important, the all-wheel-drive RAV4 Hybrid delivers a strong 41/37/39 mpg, easily topping the 34-mpg average of its closest competitor, the Nissan Rogue Hybrid.
Toyota RAV4 Information
3. Chevy Silverado
Total sales through September, 2019: 412,259
There's a brand-new Chevy Silverado in dealerships for 2019.
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 mostly steel bodies and structure, the GM pickups are more traditional than the Ford F-150, which is built with extensive use of aluminum.
A number of engine options are available. A 4.3-liter V6 is rated at 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque and comes with a six-speed automatic. A 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is rated at 310 horsepower and 348 lb-ft of torque. A 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. A 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.
Chevrolet Silverado Information
2. Ram 1500-3500
Total sales through September, 2019: 461,115
The Ram 1500 was completely redesigned for 2019, although the previous generation truck is still sold under the name Ram 1500 Classic. Essentially, the new Ram builds on that otherwise excellent predecessor by adding refinement, innovation and mechanical improvements.
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 a 3.0-liter V6 turbo diesel.
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
Total sales through September, 2019: 662,574
One word to describe the 2019 Ford F-150 might be “bewildering.” Not the vehicle itself, but the choices and characters it offers. It tries to be almost everything to almost everybody, with its variety of powertrains, cabins and beds, and we must say it succeeds.
There are V-6, V-8, diesel, twin-turbocharged, normally aspirated, 6-speed automatic, 10-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, regular cab, super cab, super crew cab, base trim, in-between trim, luxury trim F-150s. There's no hybrid, but it's coming soon, says Ford.
The F-150's towing, comfort, and available safety are tops among all full-size trucks. The fit and finish is better than many of Ford's sedans and crossovers, including some Lincolns. It has an aluminum body over its heavy-duty steel frame, to lower the weight. It has a fairly smooth ride and reasonably sharp handling, while not fooling anyone behind the wheel that it's not still a tall, heavy truck. The fuel mileage is competitive but not great.
There are only minor changes for the new model year.
Last year the F-150 gained a new 3.3-liter V-6 base engine that offered more power than the outgoing 3.5 liter; the new V-6 makes 290 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque, and uses direct injection to improve fuel mileage over the old V-6. However it maintains the old transmission, a 6-speed automatic, its only use in the F-150 line. It gets 19 mpg city, 25 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined.
The twin-turbo, 2.7-liter V-6 makes 325 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque, effectively replacing the V-8 engine that Ford used to put in this space. It uses the more modern 10-speed transmission, and gets about the same mileage as the less powerful base V-6: 20 mpg city, 26 highway, and 22 combined.
There's another twin-turbo V-6, bigger at 3.5 liters and a lot more powerful with 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet in most versions. But hold onto your hat: in the Limited and Raptor models, it's tuned to make 450 hp and 510 lb-ft. Even with all that power, it still gets 17/23/19 mpg, and that's with four-wheel drive.
If you must have the throaty rumble of a V-8, there's the trusty 5.0 liter. It tries to keep up with the bigger twin-turbo V-6 by bringing 395 horsepower to the table, but that turbo torque blows the V-8's mere 400 pound-feet away. And it's a notch behind in fuel mileage, at 17/23/19 mpg with rear-wheel drive, 16/22/18 mpg with four-wheel drive.
The 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 was introduced late in the 2018 model, so practically speaking it's a 2019. It costs $4,000 and has limited appeal, since Ford's V-6 engines are so good. It's quiet, and the fuel mileage is improved to 22 city, 30 highway, and 25 combined mpg with two-wheel drive, while four-wheel drive takes a big hit on the highway, to 20/25/22 mpg. It makes a mere 250 horsepower, compensating with 440 pound-feet of torque, which is what diesels are all about, and it can tow 11,400 pounds with all the right equipment.
Regular-Cab F-150s are targeted at fleets, and maybe too the SuperCabs with small rear bench seats and rear-hinged rear doors, designed more for loading packages than passengers. The SuperCrew is the best-seller to individuals, being expansive inside, with reclining and folding rear seats that provide good lockable storage space. Beds of 5-foot-6, 6-foot-6, and 8-foot lengths come on various cab styles.