These Are the Most Popular Vehicles for Each Generation

From Zoomers to Boomers, these are the most popular cars for each generation of drivers in 2021.

Each generation has its own unique and defining experiences, characteristics, and consumer preferences. Whether it’s a debate of the side vs. center part on TikTok or the proper amount to tip at a restaurant, Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers have all formed their distinct opinions about the world. 

These generational divides can even hold true for vehicular preferences. Despite the varying values and top priorities each generation holds for their car models of choice — not to mention the ever-evolving market — there are certain factors that make specific cars an optimal choice for a wide range of consumers. Certain cars are stand-out stars for more than one generation, appealing to drivers from all walks of life. To see how car preferences differ and overlap between different generations of American drivers, the data scientists at Insurify crunched the numbers to identify the most popular vehicles for Baby Boomer, Gen X, Millennial, and Gen Z drivers.

A bar graph showing the 2 most popular car models driven by each generation in 2021.

Insights

  • National averages. According to Insurify’s 2021 Insight on the Most Popular Cars in America, the Ford F-Series Pickup is the most commonly owned vehicle in the United States. The average MSRP for a new car is $41,044 as of July 2021, according to recent data from JD Power’s Automotive Forecast.
  • Less expensive models are popular across the board. The most popular vehicles across all generations, perhaps unsurprisingly, are all models with a reliable reputation and a practical price tag. All of the models in the rankings have an MSRP that’s lower than the national average of a new car on the market in 2021.
  • Tried and true. It’s clear that the average American driver gravitates towards vehicles that have stood the test of time as long-standing examples of safety, durability, and reliability. There’s some consistency between the models across multiple generations, particularly between Gen Z and Millennials and between Gen X and Baby Boomers, which goes to show that while generations may have different specific car preferences, certain models can transcend those preferences with their widespread appeal.

Methodology

The research team at Insurify, a site to compare auto insurance quotes, referred to their database of over 4 million car insurance applications to identify the most popular vehicle for each generation. When submitting applications for car insurance, drivers provide information including their age and the make and model of their vehicle.

Insurify’s data scientists looked at age subsets for each driver generation (Gen Z includes drivers between ages 15 and 24; Millennials include drivers between ages 25 and 41; Gen X includes drivers between ages 42 and 56; Baby Boomers include drivers between ages 57 and 77) and calculated the share of drivers per car model. The top two car models with the highest share of owners were identified as the most popular vehicles for each generation. Base price and mileage for each vehicle were derived from the manufacturer’s website and reflect the most recent vehicle model on the market.


The Most Popular Vehicles for Each Generation

Baby Boomers

1. Ford F-Series Pickup

  • Share of Baby Boomers driving: 3.94%
  • MSRP: $29,290
  • MPG: 25 city / 26 highway

2. Toyota Camry

  • Share of Baby Boomers driving: 2.53%
  • MSRP: $25,295
  • MPG: 28 city / 39 highway

The Ford F-Series Pickup is the top choice for Baby Boomers, followed by the Toyota Camry. Even though the Baby Boomer generation holds over half the overall wealth of U.S. households, according to Insurance Journal, they still tend to gravitate as a whole towards car models with lower price tags. Both the Camry and the F-Series Pickup boast affordable prices and solid mileage, so it’s no wonder that drivers with more years of experience on the roads often prefer these reputable and reliable models.

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Gen X

1. Ford F-Series Pickup

  • Share of Gen X’ers driving: 3.26%
  • MSRP: $29,290
  • MPG: 25 city / 26 highway

2. Honda Accord

  • Share of Gen X’ers driving: 2.60%
  • MSRP: $24,970
  • MPG: 30 city / 38 highway

Gen X may be less heavily discussed in generational debates, especially when compared to their Millennial peers, but this “in-between” generation is no less present on the car market. Making up approximately 20% of the population and holding 26.9% of the nation’s household wealth in 2021, Gen X represents a significant consumer base. Like Baby Boomers, Gen X’ers are partial to both the Ford F-Series Pickup and midsize vehicles. Gen X’ers, however, prefer the Honda Accord as their sedan of choice. 

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Millennials

1. Honda Accord

  • Share of Millennials driving: 3.13%
  • MSRP: $24,970
  • MPG: 30 city / 38 highway

2. Nissan Altima

  • Share of Millennials driving: 2.87%
  • MSRP: $24,550
  • MPG: 28 city / 39 highway

The most studied and perhaps most maligned generation to date, Millennials have often been misguidedly criticized for their spending habits: they’ve been blamed for the demise of diamonds, the decline of marriage rates, and chastised for enjoying avocado toast. When it comes to their vehicles of preference, however, Millennials subvert their frivolous reputation, as both of the most popular vehicles for their generational cohort are practical and reasonably-priced picks. Unlike Baby Boomers and Gen X, both of the top picks for Millennials are midsize sedans; 3.13 percent of Millennials drive Honda Accords and 2.87 percent opt for Nissan Altimas.

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Gen Z

1. Honda Accord

  • Share of Gen Z’ers driving: 4.63%
  • MSRP: $24,970
  • MPG: 30 city / 38 highway

2. Honda Civic

  • Share of Gen Z’ers driving: 4.00%
  • MSRP: $21,700
  • MPG: 31 city / 40 highway

The nation’s newest drivers are the most ethnically diverse and technologically connected generation to date, displaying a strong drive to fight for social change amidst an uncertain future. While many Gen Z’ers have yet to become drivers themselves, those of licensed age are following at least in part in the footsteps of the Millennials who came before them. The most popular cars for Gen Z drivers are both Hondas. The top choice is the Honda Accord, driven by 4.63 percent of Gen Z drivers, followed by the Honda Civic. These Hondas are both less expensive than other new cars on the market and are highly fuel-efficient, making them ideal choices for new drivers in a generation that prioritizes a lower carbon footprint.

Data Attribution

The information, statistics, and data visualizations on this page are free to use, we just ask that you attribute any full or partial use to Insurify with a link to this page. Thank you!

If you have any questions or comments about this article or would like to request the data, please contact insights@insurify.com.

Updated October 5, 2021

Insurify Insights

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.