The average U.S. driver spends 61.3 minutes daily, or 15.5 days a year, behind the wheel, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.1 In a nation where driving is a necessity for most, Americans need vehicles that fit their daily needs and lifestyles.
Fittingly, U.S. drivers have diverse preferences for cars. Powerful pickups, practical SUVs, and sporty sedans are among the bestselling cars in America. The number of units sold reflects direct sales of new vehicles, not used cars, so the bestsellers aren’t necessarily the most common cars on the road.
However, looking at trends in new car sales gives a glimpse into what American drivers value in 2023. SUVs comprised half of the 10 bestsellers, and the top sedans feature roomy interiors, showing a national preference for comfort and cargo space.
To determine the bestselling cars of 2023, Insurify’s data scientists referred to data provided by GoodCarBadCar, which sources and consolidates sales data directly from car manufacturers. To uncover the true cost of ownership, Insurify’s data science team analyzed more than 90 million quotes to calculate the average monthly car insurance rate of the bestselling models.
- The Ford F-Series is the bestselling vehicle of 2023. The pickup has more than double the sales of the second-place Toyota RAV4, outpacing its closest competitor by 226,591 units.
- Toyota has the highest sales of any manufacturer, representing five of the top 10 bestsellers. The Toyota vehicles with the highest sales include a variety of trucks, sedans, and SUVs.
- The average price of the 10 most-sold vehicles is $29,721. The Ford Explorer is the most expensive, with an MSRP of $36,760 — nearly 68% higher than the cheapest model, the $21,900 Toyota Corolla. The bestselling cars cost nearly 40% less on average than the $48,808 price for all new cars, according to Kelley Blue Book (KBB).
- The monthly full-coverage insurance cost for the 10 bestselling vehicles is 44% higher than the national average, at $249 compared to $172.
- The Honda CR-V saw the biggest spike in sales, with a year-to-date increase of more than 42%. However, not all the bestsellers were more popular in 2023. The Toyota Corolla’s sales declined by nearly 12%.
- SUVs are the bestselling vehicle category in America, representing half of the top 10 cars. Pickup trucks, one of which sold the most total units, hold just two of the 10 bestselling spots.
- All 10 vehicles with the most sales come in hybrid or fully electric versions, including the No. 1 bestselling Ford F-Series. Though the F-150 Lightning is now KBB’s top pick for electric trucks, Ford originally introduced the gas-powered version in 1975 to circumvent stricter Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions standards.
Drivers’ car-buying habits may lead to higher overall car ownership costs
All 10 bestselling vehicles cost less than the average new car price of $48,808 but come with hidden ownership costs. Car insurance prices have spiked 17% in 2023, and drivers of the bestselling models pay 44% more than the rising national average of $172 for full-coverage insurance. The average monthly cost for the bestselling cars is $249.
Car insurance isn’t the only ownership cost on the rise. Drivers are paying more for auto repairs and maintenance due to the rising price of auto body parts and labor. The U.S. Consumer Price Index for motor vehicle maintenance and repair hit 391.40 in August 2023, up from 349.54 the previous year — a nearly 12% year-over-year increase.
The bright side for car buyers is that new vehicle prices are stabilizing after years of increases due to low stock and inflation. The price of new cars went up just 1.6% between June 2022 and June 2023 – the smallest year-over-year increase since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to KBB.
Best-selling car models of 2023
Americans typically favor larger cars, but the bestselling models of 2023 represent a wide range of vehicles.
10. Ford Explorer
Year-to-date sales in 2023: 113,057
Base model MSRP: $36,760
Average monthly insurance cost: $234
Drivers gravitate toward the Ford Explorer’s easy handling, comfortable seating, spacious cargo area, and powerful engine, but those desirable features come at a price. The model costs nearly 24% more than the average MSRP for the top 10 bestselling cars of 2023.
Now in its third decade and sixth generation, the Explorer has been a hit since Ford’s first-generation 1991 model placed third in truck sales. Ford made some major updates to the SUV over the years. The 2023 Explorer features connectivity technology, parking assistance, a 360-degree camera, a hybrid option, and a towing capacity of more than 5,000 pounds.
9. Honda Accord
Year-to-date sales in 2023: 117,718
Base model MSRP: $28,275
Average monthly insurance cost: $278
The Honda Accord debuted in 1976, and in 1982, it became the first car by a Japanese manufacturer produced in America. The roomy, reliable, and affordable sedan is a perennial bestseller. The 2024 model has a sleek new design, hands-free connectivity, and a robust suite of safety and driving assistance features.
The Accord also has numerous interchangeable parts between model years, from headlights to transmission systems, which makes repairs and replacements easier for owners. Unfortunately, the Accord is also popular among car thieves. The car is the ninth most frequently stolen vehicle in the U.S., which could contribute to higher insurance costs.
8. Hyundai Tucson
Year-to-date sales in 2023: 18,125
Base model MSRP: $27,250
Average monthly insurance cost: $200
The Hyundai Tucson has a sleek, futuristic design with high-tech features to match, including easy connectivity, advanced driving assistance systems, and hybrid or plug-in hybrid models. Robust safety features pay off for Tucson drivers. At $200 a month, the model has the lowest average insurance rate of the top 10 bestsellers.
The Tucson’s history isn’t as long as some in the top 10, but since entering the U.S. market in 2004, the crossover SUV has amassed more than a few fans. In 2020, the Hyundai Tucson surpassed 1 million sales nationally and 7 million globally.
7. Toyota Corolla
Year-to-date sales in 2023: 118,879
Base model MSRP: $21,900
Average monthly insurance cost: $285
In addition to being the most affordable car in the top 10 bestsellers, the Toyota Corolla has a reputation for safety and reliability backed by cutting-edge driving assistance systems. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has repeatedly recognized the model, most recently naming the Corolla a 2023 IIHS Top Safety Pick.
Modern features, including hybrid and plug-in hybrid options, voice-enabled connectivity, and remote folding seats for easy cargo loading, contribute to the Corolla’s enduring popularity. Introduced in 1966 and now in its 12th generation, the Corolla is the bestselling car in history, overtaking the beloved Volkswagen Beetle in 1997 and surpassing 50 million sales in 2021.
6. Toyota Highlander
Year-to-date sales in 2023: 121,854
Base model MSRP: $36,620
Average monthly insurance cost: $231
Currently in its fourth generation, the Toyota Highlander is the second-most expensive bestselling model. However, the Highlander’s light off-road capabilities, cutting-edge technology, and contoured design make it popular among drivers who want a vehicle that handles more smoothly than a minivan but still has extra room.
Since the Highlander debuted in 2000, the roomy SUV has been a practical choice for large families. The 2023 model seats up to eight people with second-row bench seats. Drivers who opt for captain’s chairs can seat up to seven.
5. Toyota Tacoma
Year-to-date sales in 2023: 136,971
Base model MSRP: $28,600
Average monthly insurance cost: $258
The Toyota Tacoma has grown in size and popularity since its debut as a compact truck in 1995. Now a midsize pickup, the Tacoma is small enough to handle narrow off-road trails but large enough to haul equipment. New models have modern safety features and technology, including an off-road system that automatically modulates the throttle and brakes on tough terrain.
Once the 2024 model goes on sale, the Tacoma will be the longest consecutively produced midsize truck. Toyota has made some significant updates, from the exterior to the engine, but the Tacoma has only been through three generations in 28 years of production.
4. Toyota Camry
Year-to-date sales in 2023: 175,852
Base model MSRP: $26,420
Average monthly insurance cost: $285
The Toyota Camry might have a reputation as a “boring” vehicle, but that didn’t deter more than 175,000 new owners (so far) in 2023. The car is also known for its longevity, and its enduring popularity means replacement parts are widely available and affordable. However, the Toyota Camry is tied with the Corolla for the most expensive average car insurance, at $285 a month.
After a successful release in Japan, the Toyota Camry made its U.S. debut in 1983. The sedan originally had a narrower body but graduated from small to midsize with the second-generation Camry in 1997. The Camry’s sales grew along with its size, reflecting Americans’ preference for larger vehicles.
3. Honda CR-V
Year-to-date sales in 2023: 196,794
Base model MSRP: $29,500
Average monthly insurance cost: $206
The Honda CR-V (which stands for “Comfortable Runabout Vehicle”) has spacious interiors, light off-road capabilities, and gas mileage that’s comparable to a sedan, making it one of the bestselling cars in America. The sixth-generation CR-V, which started with the 2023 model year, has extensive upgrades to the body, chassis, powertrain, and safety technology.
The improvements are clearly paying off. Honda CR-V sales skyrocketed more than 42% between Q2 2022 and Q2 2023 — the greatest year-to-date increase in sales among the 10 bestselling cars.
2. Toyota RAV4
Year-to-date sales in 2023: 224,838
Base model MSRP: $28,275
Average monthly insurance cost: $264
The Toyota RAV4 appeals to a wide range of drivers with all-weather capabilities, a comfortable interior, high-tech safety features, sport-tuned suspension, and 35 MPG highway fuel economy that’s comparable to sedans. The hybrid model has even better mileage, with an EPA-estimated 40 MPG combined rating. The RAV4 launched in the U.S. in 1996 and is widely considered the first crossover SUV, although the short-lived AMC Eagle technically has it beat by more than a decade. Still, the RAV4 helped define a new category of vehicles that looked like SUVs but handled like smaller cars.
1. Ford F-Series
Year-to-date sales in 2023: 451,429
Base model MSRP: $34,585
Average monthly insurance cost: $253
The Ford F-Series pickup is the bestselling vehicle in America, surpassing RAV4 sales by more than 226,000 units. The truck’s sales show no signs of slowing, with a 24% year-to-date increase from Q2 2022 to Q2 2023. The F-150 has a turbocharged engine and navigates tough terrain, making it a versatile “work hard, play hard” vehicle.
Despite high sales, the F-Series hasn’t seen completely smooth sailing in 2023. In February, Ford halted electric F-150 Lightning production because of a possible battery problem but resumed after a six-week shutdown. The pickup remains Kelley Blue Book’s top pick for 2023/2024 electric trucks.
The data scientists at Insurify referred to GoodCarBadCar’s consolidated car manufacturer data to determine the 10 most popular vehicles in the nation and the year-to-date change in units sold. The average MSRP comes from the base model price listed on Autoblog.
To determine the average monthly cost of car insurance for each model, Insurify data scientists turned to their database of more than 90 million car insurance quotes served to customers from partner insurance companies. The prices shown here represent the average monthly cost of insuring a 2023 model of each vehicle with a full-coverage policy for drivers between the ages of 20 and 70 with clean driving records and average or better credit.
To sum it up — SUVs reign supreme, but U.S. drivers have diverse tastes
While crossover SUVs sweep the top 10 bestsellers, U.S. drivers flock to a diverse group of vehicles, reflecting a wide range of needs and lifestyles.
Still, the cars Americans are buying most in 2023 have a few things in common. Automated driver assistance features and full connectivity are standard among bestselling vehicles.
Primarily, U.S. drivers gravitate toward more spacious vehicles. Most of the bestsellers are trucks and SUVs, and the Toyota Corolla is the only compact sedan that cracked the top 10. The Camry and Accord are considered midsize sedans.
Notably, all the bestselling models have hybrid or fully electric versions. High gas costs make these options attractive to drivers, but manufacturers have a different motivation. In April 2023, the EPA proposed more stringent emissions standards. To meet emissions goals, 67% of new-vehicle sales should be electric by 2032.
For now, the American-made Ford F-Series tops the list as the bestselling car in the country. However, current manufacturer data only reflects sales up to Q2 2023, so another model could still speed past the pickup on the race toward the Q4 finish line.
This article originally appeared on Insurify and was syndicated by MediaFeed.
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