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The Ford F-150 has been the best-selling truck in the United States for decades. It’s also the best-selling vehicle in the country. But what if it isn’t anymore? Registration of new vehicles at the beginning of 2021 showed that the Ford F-150 has fallen behind the Toyota RAV4.

The Ford F-150 has been a dominant force for years

Ford and its F-150 truck have been a dominant force for many years. It’s been the best-selling truck in the U.S. since 1977 and the best-selling vehicle since 1981, according to Business Insider.

Pickup trucks in general have a lot to offer. They provide versatility along with luxury, technology, and practicality. The F-150 offers a number of options and trims for buyers to pick among, ranging from work trucks to luxury trucks. The F-150 also benefits from strong loyalty to the Ford brand.

Its popularity shows up in sales numbers for Ford and the F-150. Experian analyzed registrations of new vehicles in the first quarter of the past several years. Ford was solidly the most registered brand in 2017, 2018, and 2019, claiming 14.0 percent, 13.8 percent, and 13.6 percent of registrations respectively.

In 2020, Ford and Toyota were nearly tied. Ford had 12.8 percent and Toyota had 12.9 percent. Experian noticed a shift in registrations for 2021. Toyota claimed the top spot for the first quarter, with 13.7 percent of new registrations. Ford had 12.1 percent for the same period.

For each of these years, the F-150 continued to be Ford’s most registered vehicle during the first quarter; however, it has been slipping in the past two years. It held steady for 2017 (3.3 percent), 2018 (3.3 percent), and 2019 (3.4 percent). It started to drop in 2020 (3.1 percent) and 2021 (2.7 percent). The F-150 is still the top truck, though, beating both the Ram 1500 and the Chevrolet Silverado.

The Toyota RAV4 stole the top spot

Toyota North America's Jack Hollis, group Vice president and general manager, introduces the red 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show
The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime | FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

Some of the growth for Toyota has come from the RAV4, which has seen great growth in the past few years. In 2017, it claimed 2.1 percent of first-quarter new-vehicle registrations, placing it sixth. That increased to 2.2 percent in 2018 and 2019 and 2.9 percent in 2020 and 2021. With this growth, the Toyota RAV4 stole the top spot from the F-150 for the first time.

The RAV4 isn’t Toyota’s only popular vehicle. The auto manufacturer was the top one in the first quarter of 2021. “Toyota is the [dominant] light-duty brand leader of new registrations in Q1 2021, taking over the spot held by Ford for many years. With 5 of the top 11 new model registrations, it may be hard to unseat Toyota for a while,” says Experian.

The Toyota Camry, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Tacoma, and Toyota Highlander join the RAV4 in the top 11 most-registered vehicles of 2021 quarter one.

What the 2021 Toyota RAV4 offers

While U.S. News ranks the 2021 Toyota RAV4 sixth on its list of compact SUVs, it points out the Toyota “RAV4’s refined interior, remarkable fuel economy, and well-balanced performance.” Also, the RAV4 received the 2021 Best Compact SUV for Families award from U.S. News.

Its 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine has plenty of power, with 203 hp, and is fuel-efficient, but it is a bit noisy. There are also hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains. The RAV4 has plenty of room for passengers and cargo and has a nice list of standard tech and safety features. The interior of the RAV4 is finished with high-quality materials.

A 7.0-inch touchscreen is standard, but an 8.0-inch display is available. Also standard are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hotspot, a USB port, satellite radio, a six-speaker stereo, and Bluetooth. Navigation, four extra USB ports, wireless device charging, an 11-speaker sound system, and a 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster are available.

Other available features include proximity keyless entry, a push-button start, and either a regular moonroof or a panoramic moonroof. The six trims available for the 2021 RAV4 include two off-road options.

Both the Ford F-150 and the Toyota RAV4 are great vehicles that remain popular with buyers. Everyone will have to stay tuned to see if the RAV4 remains in the top spot in the future.


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