You win some, you lose some. Customers, that is. Every year, some vehicle models shine, others go stale. Here are the winners and losers in 2016, from sub-compacts to family sedans and SUVs to hunky trucks.
2016 sales winners
Let’s start with one model that wins every year. This year, as in every other year in the past several decades, Americans will buy more Ford pickup trucks than any other vehicle. The final tally for 2016 will come in around 800,000, according to Bloomberg, which compiled all these figures. Other big trucks don’t even come close.
The other top five 2016 sales winners are all SUVS and crossovers, not a sedan in the bunch, reflecting our return to larger cars when gas prices got smaller. That could change again in 2017 as gas prices have been inching up again.
Although the best-selling Toyota Camry and Honda Civic continue to be best-sellers, their numbers are rock steady, not like these models which definitely have moved into the fast lane.
Infiniti QX50 (+272%)
Nissan’s luxury brand, now makes four sizes of SUVs or crossovers. The QX50 crossover is the second-smallest among the four, and exactly the size and shape of vehicle that Americans want to buy right now, more than anything else. The latest iteration is a little larger and sportier than before. Bloomberg describes it as the poor man’s Porsche Macan, with similar performance for almost half the cost.
Mercedes-Benz GLE (+221%)
Depending on how you slice it, the Mercedes family now has about 25 members. In that bustling Stuttgart house, the GLE crossover is now the second-favorite sibling. It topped both the E-class sedan and its smaller, cheaper SUV siblings in U.S. sales this year. Sure, the C-class sedan is still the most popular model. But for much of the world, a GLE is now the Mercedes to aspire to.
Volvo XC90 (+202%)
The XC90 picked up Motor Trend’s coveted SUV of the Year award in 2015, and Volvo ramped up production. The past year saw the brand make good on this extensive investment with pots of money from its new Chinese owners.
Audi TT (+201%)
Few people care for little sports cars anymore unless they are named Porsche or Mazda Miata, so it’s impressive that Audi managed to move about 3,000 TTs in 2016. By comparison, Alfa-Romeo will be lucky to offload 500 of its dead-sexy 4C. Credit Audi’s popularity to a 2015 refresh that included a new, lightweight aluminum body, very cool headlights, and futuristic interior design.
BMW X1 (+88%)
BMW’s starter crossover makes good on BMW’s driving dynamics, and buyers like it’s higher riding position. But do owners really take their Beemers over the river and through the woods? Nah. That’s just for photos.