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The Toyota Corolla has long dominated the global sales charts as the world’s best-selling car. However, in 2021, another Toyota model, the immensely popular RAV4 compact SUV, took the top spot as the best-selling car in the world.

The Toyota RAV4 is the world’s best-selling car

Front angle view of the popular 2022 Toyota RAV4 SUV, which is the best selling car in the world
2022 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

In 2021, Toyota sold 1,132,000 units of the RAV4, which makes it the world’s best-selling car. The Toyota RAV4 edged out the Toyota Corolla, with 1,104,000 units of the compact car sold in 2021. Following the Corolla, the next best-selling cars are the Honda CR-V compact SUV (903,000 units sold) and the Nissan Sentra compact car (693,000 units sold). 

What were the best-selling cars in the world in 2021?

Rear angle view of the popular 2022 Toyota RAV4, the best selling car in the world
2022 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

Here’s the top 10 list of the best-selling cars in the world in 2021:

  1. Toyota RAV4: 1,132,000 units sold
  2. Toyota Corolla: 1,104,000 units sold
  3. Honda CR-V: 903,000 units sold
  4. Nissan Senta: 693,000 units sold
  5. Toyota Camry: 681,000 units sold
  6. Honda HR-V: 670,000 units sold
  7. Ford F-150: 562,000 units sold
  8. Toyota Hilux: 549,000 units sold
  9. Tesla Model 3: 508,000 units sold
  10. Honda Accord: 481,000 units sold

As you can see, Toyota dominates the list of the world’s best-selling cars, according to IOL. Along with the RAV4 and Corolla, the Camry midsize car and the Hilux midsize pickup truck made the top 10. Honda also has a few models on the list, including the aforementioned CR-V compact SUV, as well as the HR-V subcompact SUV and the Accord midsize car. 

What were the best-selling cars in the United States in 2021?

Dashboard and front seats in the popular 2022 Toyota RAV4 SUV, the best-selling car in the world
2022 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

Here’s the top 10 list of the best-selling cars in the United States in 2021:

  1. Ford F-Series: 726,004 units sold
  2. Ram Pickup: 569,388 units sold
  3. Chevrolet Silverado: 519,774 units sold
  4. Toyota RAV4: 407,739 units sold
  5. Honda CR-V: 361,271 units sold
  6. Toyota Camry: 313,795 units sold
  7. Nissan Rogue: 285,602 units sold
  8. Jeep Grand Cherokee: 264,444 units sold
  9. Toyota Highlander: 264,128 units sold
  10. Honda Civic: 263,787 units sold

As you can see, it’s a somewhat different story in the U.S. compared to the rest of the world. Unlike in other countries, full-size pickup trucks are very popular in the U.S. The three best-selling cars in America are full-size trucks: the Ford F-Series (726,004 units sold), the Ram Pickup (569,388 units sold), and the Chevrolet Silverado (519,774 units sold). 

However, the Toyota RAV4 more than holds its own in America. With 407,739 units sold in 2021, the RAV4 is the best-selling non-pickup truck model in the U.S.

Why is the Toyota RAV4 SUV so popular?

The high sales total of the Toyota RAV4 is due to a number of reasons. For one, compact SUVs like the RAV4 are becoming increasingly popular in both the U.S. and the world. Also, the RAV4 is very versatile. It has the utility of an SUV but the maneuverability and high fuel economy of a sedan.

Also, the RAV4 caters to a wide range of buyers. You can go budget-friendly with the LE trim or luxurious with the Limited trim. For ultra-high fuel economy, the RAV4 offers a hybrid model, as well as a plug-in hybrid model with the RAV4 Prime. And for off-roading enthusiasts, the RAV4 offers the TRD Off-Road trim.

Thirdly, the RAV4 is fun-to-drive. This is especially the case with the RAV4 Prime, which delivers sports car acceleration with a 0-60 mph time of only 5.5 seconds.

Additionally, the RAV4 offers many advanced technologies. This includes a user-friendly infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, as well as driving assistance technologies like lane-tracing assist and dynamic radar cruise control. 

Furthermore, the RAV4 is a very reliable vehicle, with a much-deserved reputation for lasting many miles and years. On top of that, the RAV4 has attractive styling, with a bold and sporty design.

Will the popularity of the Toyota RAV4 continue?

Front angle view of Midnight Black Metallic 2023 Toyota RAV4 crossover SUV
2023 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

The Toyota RAV4 earned the title of the best-selling car world — despite not getting a redesign since the 2019 model year. Often when a car gets a redesign, the sales will increase, while outdated models sometimes don’t sell as well. 

Toyota often follows six-year cycles for redesigns, so the RAV4 is due for one in a couple of years. However, until then, given its history and all that it has to offer, there’s no reason to think that the popularity of the RAV4 won’t continue.


2023 Toyota RAV4 Beats the 2023 Honda CR-V