The Most Popular Cars in America (2021)

Insurify Insights

By: Insurify Insights

Published January 19, 2021

Reading time: 8 minutes

Click here to see Most Popular Cars in America report for 2022.

Which vehicles have Americans loved to drive the most this year?

COVID-19 has strongly informed consumer trends over the past year, including new and used car buying behavior. The coronavirus pandemic has shaped how we travel, and with restrictions on and advisories against public transportation use, many Americans opted to get behind the wheel themselves. According to Apple Maps Mobility Trends Reports, driving patterns have leveled out to typical pre-pandemic rates as of January 2021,  while transit use still lags at a 54% decrease from March 2020.

Cars have remained a reliable necessity for many, despite the uncertainty of the times. The country’s return to normal driving patterns, when compared to the reluctance for many to get back on public transit, illustrates the resiliency of the automotive market. In fact, despite seeing an overall decline in auto retail sales in 2020 by approximately 15%, this loss is projected to be less than that of the decline during the 2008 Great Recession (18%). Additionally, car retailers benefited from the demand for individual mobility, with many dealer groups reporting record profits in the third quarter of 2020. Given the extraordinary challenges presented by the pandemic, this relative stability of the market is remarkable.

Curious to see how the pandemic has affected consumer behavior in the auto industry, the research team at Insurify crunched the numbers to identify the most popular vehicle in each state for 2021.

Color map indicating the most popular car model for each state in 2021.

Insights

  • Pickup sales picked up. The popularity of pickup trucks in the United States was widespread this year. 3 out of the 10 most popular vehicles on the list are pickups. In fact, the Ford F-Series is the most popular vehicle among car owners in 18 out of 50 states. The rise of the pickup truck over the past year has been noted in the auto industry; factors including low-interest financing offers and less strict lockdown orders in pickup-loving regions have contributed to the pickup truck’s emergence as a top pick in many states this year, according to a 2020 report by USA Today.

  • Honda and Chevrolet tied for top manufacturers. Of the ten most popular vehicles in the United States, three models each from Honda and Chevrolet made the rankings for 2021.

  • Regional preferences. Across the nation, many states share car preferences with their neighbors. Hondas tend to rule the coasts — the Honda Civic and Honda Accord are the most popular vehicles in states along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, respectively. On the other hand, Ford F-Series Pickups have a stronghold throughout middle America, from the north to the south.

  • Affordability across the board. All ten of the most popular cars in America share one thing in common: they are some of the more affordable vehicles on the market. All of the cars have an MSRP that is below the national average of $37,851 by an average of $12,600.

Methodology

To determine the most popular vehicle in each state, the research team at Insurify, a site to compare auto insurance quotes, turned to their database of over 2.9 million car insurance applications. Applicants must disclose their driving history and information about the make and model of their vehicle when applying for car insurance, in addition to their state of residence. The vehicles with the highest number of drivers in each state were named the most popular car for their respective states. The models were then ranked by the number of states in which that vehicle holds the number one spot. To round out the list to include the top 10 vehicles in the United States, the vehicle in the tenth spot is the second-most popular vehicle across the nation (but does not hold the number one spot in a particular state).

MSRP and MPG were taken from the manufacturers’ websites for the 2021 starting price for that model. Safety ratings come from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s evaluations (out of 5 stars) for the most recent year of each model. Data on the average price of a new car was gathered from Kelley Blue Book.

What's the best selling car in America?

The Ford F-Series Pickup is the best selling and most popular car in America. In 2021, it was the most common vehicle in 19 states, and it had a base-model MSRP of $28,940.

Insurify Insights
Insurify Insights

Data & Research Team

Insurify’s team of data scientists and content specialists presents Insurify Insights, a series of automotive, home, and health studies focusing on the topics that impact us all. Through expert analysis of over 4 million car insurance applications and an array of top data sources, the Insurify Insights team produces new data-driven articles, trend analyses, regional superlatives, and national rankings every week. See Insurify Insights as featured in Forbes, Fox News, USA Today, NPR, and more.

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