By on July 26, 2017

2017 Nissan Rogue Sport and Rogue - Image: NissanCars are not at the top of the heap.

In fact, not since 2013, when the Toyota Camry was America’s third-best-selling new vehicle, has a passenger car claimed a podium position on the U.S. automotive sales leaderboard. Fast forward to 2017 and passenger cars are way down the list of America’s top-selling new vehicles.

With pickup trucks so obviously differentiated from conventional consumer-oriented vehicles, and with the top-selling trio of pickup trucks (Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado, Ram P/U) so distinctly more common, we’ve compiled this list of America’s 20 top-selling vehicles that aren’t pickup trucks, a halfway measuring stick that shows which vehicles are the dominant market forces through 2017’s first six months. Not including the pickup trucks that own 16 percent of the industry, of course.

The top-ranked nameplate deserves an asterisk — an asterisk that will grow in size over the coming months. And cars? Even with pickup trucks excluded, they miss the podium altogether.

Rank Vehicle 2017 First Half 2016 First Half % Change
#1 Nissan Rogue 195,689 148,883 31.4%
#2 Honda CR-V 187,256 159,075 17.7%
#3 Toyota RAV4 184,766 165,900 11.4%
#4 Toyota Camry 176,897 199,761 -11.4%
#5 Toyota Corolla 176,527 191,274 -7.7%
#6 Honda Civic 175,763 189,840 -7.4%
#7 Honda Accord 160,091 169,354 -5.5%
#8 Ford Escape 156,956 155,378 1.0%
#9 Nissan Altima 146,284 172,695 -15.3%
#10 Ford Explorer 135,551 129,107 5.0%
#11 Chevrolet Equinox 133,454 121,320 10.0%
#12 Jeep Grand Cherokee 116,379 100,355 16.0%
#13 Nissan Sentra 112,574 123,014 -8.5%
#14 Ford Fusion 107,225 146,833 -27.0%
#15 Chevrolet Cruze 105,188 86,731 21.3%
#16 Hyundai Elantra 100,252 96,306 4.1%
#17 Toyota Highlander 99,975 81,929 22.0%
#18 Jeep Wrangler 98,922 100,412 -1.5%
#19 Subaru Forester 87,957 80,255 9.6%
#20 Subaru Outback 86,253 77,386 11.5%

Nissan USA has determined that the best means of reporting Nissan Rogue Sport sales is to include the Rogue Sport, known elsewhere as the Qashqai, within the Rogue’s figures. It’s not an unheard-of process — four of the vehicles excluded from this list (F-Series, Silverado, Ram, Sierra) include various bodystyles and distinct architectures. Nevertheless, as the Rogue seeks to disrupt the Toyota Camry’s reign as America’s top-selling non-pickup truck, its eventual victory will be sullied by a lack of reporting transparency.

The Rogue is nevertheless just one of three compact crossovers to outsell the Camry so far this year, a trio that includes the Honda CR-V (America’s top-selling utility vehicle in each of the past five years) and the Camry’s own RAV4 sibling. Will the second-half of 2017 see real Camry recovery as the 2018 model reaches dealers? Toyota thinks the Camry may revitalize the midsize sedan category, sales of which are down 18 percent, year-over-year, in 2017.

Including the Subaru Outback, a crossing-over-crossover if ever there was one, utility vehicles earned 11 of this best seller list’s 20 positions. 10 of those 11 SUVs/crossovers are selling more often this year than last. Of the nine cars, only two (Chevrolet Cruze, Hyundai Elantra) are selling more often in 2017 than in 2016, though 2016 sales of those two cars were down significantly. In fact, the Cruze is 28 percent off 2014’s best-ever Cruze sales pace; the Elantra is 22 percent behind its record sales pace in 2015.

Compared with the list of America’s 20 best-selling vehicles that aren’t pickup trucks from 2016’s halfway point, the Jeep Cherokee, Ford Focus, Hyundai Sonata, and Chevrolet Malibu have all been removed, making way for the Subaru Outback, Subaru Forester, Toyota Highlander, and Chevrolet Cruze.

[Image: Nissan]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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24 Comments on “America’s 20 Top-Selling Vehicles That Aren’t Pickup Trucks in 2017’s First Half...”


  • avatar
    brettc

    Seems that every driveway I go past has a friggin’ Rogue in it. The sales numbers back that up.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    Poor, cursed Malibu. Failed you have.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Overall Ford isn’t travelling well.

    Boy, I can see why they need the Bronco and Ranger.

    Ford is going to end up like FCA, all that is needed now is for Sergio to defect and take over Ford.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Had a Nissan Rogue rental in Texas approx 3 1/2 weeks ago.

    What a steaming pile of total and complete excrement – either they are literally giving those away, or Americans are even far more stupid organisms than I had previously imagined

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      Packard’s “Ask The Man Who Owns One” slogan was recognized as one of the great selling lines of all time.

      Nissan – “Ask the man who rents one”. Is a recent twist w/ the fully opposite meaning.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      DW, all of the above. I’m continually surprised as to how well imported junk sells. The Nissan Rogue is an excellent example.

  • avatar
    zip89123

    Nissan’s, Dodge’s, and Hyundai’s are all over Las Vegas. Bottom line is they’re cheap to buy new, thus they win.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Wow – How the mighty have fallen – GM, Ford, and FCA would be dead and gone if it wasn’t for pickups. Toyota, Honda, and Nissan have 8 of the top 10 spots, with Ford barely hanging on in number 8 and 10, and Chevy shut out completely.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Only 7 “domestic” nameplates in the top 20. Wow. Of course the vast majority on the list are North American manufactured so that’s good….

    FWIW we had a Rogue rental last week for a long road trip and it did quite well with 5 passengers and luggage.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I had a Rogue with less than 4,000 miles on the odometer, decently equipped, on the flat roads of Texas for 4 1/2 days.

      The transmission was dim’witted, the motor was absolutely gutless, the steering was lifeless/numb, and worst of all, as is the case with many vehicles, no matter how shiny and gizmo-laden they crank them out, the chassis was insubstantial feeling (IOW I’d bet Nissan paid little heed to the torsional rigidity of the chassis in terms of twist/flex), and the suspension cheap-feeling.

      I could write an entire series of articles as to why a vehicle can’t truly be deemed great, very good or even good, unless it has a chassis with fairly high torsional rigidity, no matter how many other features or technology it has, or how good the styling is, or how fast it is, etc.

      Everything begins with torsional rigidity

      Add a responsive and intelligently programmed transmission (assuming it’s a slushbox)

      Throw in a stout, powerful and well-mannered motor

      And add a proper suspension all around –

      – and one has the makings of a good, very good or great vehicle.

      Without paying careful heed to these 4 factors (most of which play in concert with the others listed), an automaker has no chance of producing a truly good or great vehicle, regardless of the vehicle segment that it occupies.

      *Accurate, good feedback steering is a huge plus, as is a great manual shifter, in certain categories of vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        I agree, but most consumers would rather have the latest in-car entertainment and connectivity features and ventilated seats than a properly engineered chassis and drivetrain, so guess where the budget brands and some luxury brands put most of their efforts?

  • avatar
    RS

    That list has many CVT’s.

    • 0 avatar

      Non enthusiasts are fine with CVT’s in fact I have had several relatives comment on how much they like the CVT’s in their Subarus.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        As slush mixers go, they’re no worse than alternative implementations, as long as they are reliable.

        For highway driving, they are strictly superior to the newer high gear count boxes, where top gear is so tall that a 0.00000001% grade, or someone sneezing in the direction of the car, causes a downshift. Then an up shift on the down slope of the speed bump, then back down again…..

        Their main downside, is they are even more rubbery and unpredictable than other common automatic implementations (TQ and DCT), hence make stop and go gridlock even more accordion’ish, as opposed to piston’ish, than before. But the ones who could even conceivably wrap their heads around that one, equip their cars with proper transmissions anyway….

  • avatar

    The list illustrates that the American auto industry is about to get out of the car making business. Trucks and SUVs are fine, but if that is all you sell then you are venerable when gas prices raises. The reason Toyota and Nissan have pulled ahead of both GM and Ford in international market share is because they have a well-round selection of cars, trucks, and SUVs.

    GM – what a disgrace!

  • avatar
    mchan1

    It’s not surprising that the top 3 are foreign CUVs from the likes of Nissan, Honda and Toyota.

    The Nissan Rogue is very common in New England for whatever reason.

    If I had to buy a CUV, I’d consider the hybrid version so that’ll narrow it down to the Toyota Rav4 & Nissan Rogue. The 2018 VW Tiguan hasn’t come out yet but it looks Better and bigger than the previous version which is quite Small for tall people.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Why would anyone care about vehicles that aren’t pickup trucks? (^_^)

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