With 2016 on the fast track to a close, the U.S. auto industry is already presenting bragging rights for the best-selling cars of the year. With end-of-the-year sales deals right around the corner, you’ll undoubtedly be pondering a new car - but which ones are best and why are they selling so well?
To help you make a smarter decision, here’s a list of the top 10 best-selling vehicles of 2016 so far, and why they’re finding more new homes than any other model on the market.
The pickup truck lineup from The Blue Oval has taken the top-spot in vehicle sales for decades, and it’s been said that a Ford F-Series is sold 4.55 times every minute. While the current generation may have received a good round of skepticism for its aluminum body work, the F-Series is America’s jack of all trades with functionality and configurations for everyone starting at a reasonable $26,540.
Besides there being more than four million ways for you to configure and build your F-150, from bare bones regular cab, short bed work trucks, to off-road racing SVT Raptors, the F-Series is the prince of American pride and there’s nothing wrong with indulging in some patriotism when shopping for your next vehicle.
While Chevrolet may continuously sell less Silverado trucks than the F-Series, the pickup with the bowtie is still a solid, medium-duty offering. Launched in 2013, the current generation Silverado 1500 offers three engines - one efficient V6, and two powerful V8s. A new-for-2015 eight speed automatic can help the heavy truck achieve 21 mpg on the freeway even with a brawny, 6.2 liter 420 horsepower V8.
Americans love trucks and it’s safe to say we’re a divided nation among Ford, Chevrolet, and the pickup from Mopar - the Ram. FCA’s truck offering appeals to its loyal shoppers for its brawny looks, exceptional engine selection, including a medium-duty diesel, and supple yet desirable coil spring rear suspension. Base price for the Ram 1500 undercuts the Ford by $395, but like its competitors, the Mopar can be configured from bare bones to premium utility - making it appealing for virtually anyone.
Like most cars on this list, the Camry earns hordes of new buyers every year because of loyalty. When someone has spent nearly two decades driving a comfortable, dependable, roomy, and inexpensive sedan without major fault, they tend to stick with what they know when shopping for a replacement. This is the story with the Camry’s success and why nearly 300,000 models have already been sold in 2016.
For decades, Honda has defied all odds by manufacturing a small, economical, and engaging car that is liked by almost everyone - from college professors to street racers. The Civic has been around for 10 generations, with the current launched in 2016 sporting a bigger, sportier body and an available turbocharged engine. While there was heavy controversy and criticism regarding the then-new 2012 model year, Honda listened and heavily revised the 2013-2015 models, helping them maintain their popularity among people who just want a reliable and efficient car.
Just need a small car? Try the Corolla. While the current generation Corolla has received some criticism from automotive enthusiasts for being very similar if not exactly the same underneath as decade-old models, those underpinnings were so good to begin with that they’ve captured the attention of 275,818 new buyers in 2016 alone. It’s hard to argue against Toyota’s recipe. What the Corolla does is package at least one likable thing for nearly every person into a handsome, reliable and affordable package.
Need a crossover? It’s hard not to recognize the wide reaching skills of the versatile Honda CR-V, which has been a segment namesake for nearly twenty years. While the soon-to-launch fifth generation may be turbocharged and ride on an all-new chassis, the current 2016 CR-V is still one of the best selling vehicles in America - with 263,493 models sold year to date. What makes it so popular? Familiarity and reliability. Despite a slightly dated powertrain, the Honda is a crossover shoppers can rely on to work - no matter what.
Where the CR-V is successful, the Toyota RAV4 hits all the same high marks but with a different style and flavor. With nearly three extra cubic feet of total interior space compared to the Honda, Toyota’s small crossover appeals to drivers looking for a roomier SUV that has a traditional driving feel given it’s tried and true six-speed automatic transmission versus the CVT fitted to the Honda. This tank-like construction has attracted 260,380 new RAV4 owners since the start of 2016.
When the prestigious auto magazine, Car & Driver, rallies their picks for the 10 best cars of the year, it’s inevitable that the Honda Accord will make the cut as it has done so 30 times. The reason for its continuous winning and opportunity to rub elbows with Corvettes and Porsches is for its flexibility and likability. The Accord adds a bit of flare and spice to the mid-size market with powerful and engaging engines, a variety of transmissions including the enthusiast-minded six speed manual that can be had with a powerful 3.5 liter V6 in the handsome coupe model. The Accord wins because it can be appeal to a wide range of drivers.
Don’t like the Camry and can’t get behind the Accord? Buy a Nissan Altima - that’s what 242,321 people have done so far in 2016. The reason for the Nissan’s growing popularity may stem from its near 40 mpg highway rating in non-hybrid form, or its low MSRP of $22,500 that includes Bluetooth and an Advanced Driver-Assist Display. More likely, the Altima is finding new buyers for its aggressive looks and compelling driving dynamics that use Active Understeer Control (a Nissan first) and ZF Sachs dampers as standard.
These 10 vehicles are America’s current sweethearts. While some may not get as much media fanfare as, say, a Corvette, it’s the top-selling makes and models that reveal what Americans want out of new vehicles: familiarity, utility, reliability, and efficiency.