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10 Most Popular SUVs in Canada So Far in 2021

Canadians continue to buy new SUVs, and these are the best sellers.

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In the 1960s and '70s, the station wagon was a popular choice for car buyers who needed to haul a lot of people and a lot of stuff. In the '80s, it was the minivan. But by the '90s, the combined benefits of a station wagon body, all-wheel-drive and (eventually) 3-row minivan seating (in larger models) saw the birth of the modern sport utility vehicle (SUV).

Flash forward to 2021, and SUVs are now some of Canada's most popular new vehicles. They can range from inexpensive sub-compacts to full-size luxury models that can seat as many occupants as a minivan and coddle them like a luxury sedan. 

Based on the sales during the first half of 2021*, here are the 10 most popular new SUVs you can buy in Canada.


10th place: Nissan Kicks/9,628 sold/Sales up 82.4%**

The first of a pair of Nissan SUVs to make our top 10 list, the 2021 Nissan Kicks is the automaker's smallest SUV, and it gets both a styling refresh and new equipment this year. The 5-passenger, front-wheel-drive-only Kicks' tidy dimensions makes it ideal for confined urban dwellers who like the idea of riding up high but don't need or want a large SUV. The Kicks offers a roomy and versatile interior and is perfect for buyers looking for a stylish, feature-filled, safe, and fuel-efficient ride.


9th place: Toyota Highlander/10,403 sold/Sales up 107.6%

Canada's most popular mid-size 3-row SUV, the 2021 Toyota Highlander, is in the 2nd year of its 4th generation. Whether in front-wheel-drive (FWD) or all-wheel-drive (AWD) form, this latest Highlander isn't particularly innovative, but it doesn't need to be. It has greater interior space, extra tech, and new features over the outgoing generation—especially in the safety department. Plus, the Highlander's approach has consistently provided decent space for families, user-friendly features, excellent drivetrains, solid dependability, and room for up to 8 passengers.


8th place: Subaru Crosstrek/10,872 sold/Sales up 113.8%

With standard AWD and an elevated ride height, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek blurs the distinction between a small SUV and the economical 5-passenger Impreza compact hatchback it is based upon. For 2021, the big Crosstrek news is the availability of a 2.5-litre engine in the new Sport and the Limited models. It’s the same 4-cylinder engine found in the larger Forester compact SUV, and its 182 horsepower represents a 30-horsepower gain over the 2.0-litre engine still used in other trims.

 

7th place: Ford Escape/12,358 sold/Sales up 21.1%

Completely redesigned for the 2020 model year, the Ford Escape compact SUV plows into 2021 with no significant changes. The 5-passenger Escape is a comfortable and refined SUV with modern connectivity, a good safety suite, and pleasant driving manners. With its roomy back seat, four powertrain options (including Hybrid and  Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle versions), and either FWD or AWD, there’s an Escape for a wide range of buyers.


6th place: Hyundai Tucson/13,460 sold/Sales up 48.8%

One size up from the more popular sub-compact Kona, the 2022 Hyundai Tucson compact SUV is all-new and takes its styling, technology, and connectivity far beyond where it once was. Its sheet metal is angular and dramatic, and the interior is elegant and straightforward, with considerably better rear legroom. In addition to outstanding connectivity and an impressive list of new safety and convenience features, for the first time, the FWD or AWD Tucson is available with a choice of gas, hybrid, or plug-in hybrid powertrains.

 

5th place: Mazda CX-5/14,127 sold/Sales up 53.4%

If you need the practicality of a compact SUV but still enjoy clipping apexes like you did when you were single and had a Miata, the 2021 Mazda CX-5 is one of the sportiest compact SUVs available. Give credit to the Mazda's responsive steering and top-notch handling balance. What's more, the FWD or AWD 5-passenger CX-5 feels like it came from a luxury brand but is priced more like its mainstream competition. It's well equipped with convenience and safety features while possessing impressive build quality and solid reliability and safety ratings.

 

4th place: Hyundai Kona/15,715 sold/Sales up 67.0%

Small SUVs happen to be what many people want to drive these days. As Canada’s most popular sub-compact SUV, the 2021 Hyundai Kona leads this new vehicle segment. Blending bold looks, FWD or AWD, SUV practicality, zippy handling, and strong value, plus an extended 5-year/100,000-kilometre comprehensive warranty, the 5-passenger Kona is a popular pick. In addition to a pair of 4-cylinder engines, the Kona Electric can also travel up to 415 kilometres between charges.

 

3rd place: Nissan Rogue/17,462 sold/Sales up 77.2%

As Nissan Canada’s best-selling model, the Rogue competes in the hyper-competitive compact SUV segment with other popular models like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. For this reason, a tremendous amount of development has gone into crafting the all-new 5-passenger 2021 Rogue. About the same size as before but with blocky, more expressive styling, the FWD or AWD Nissan SUV benefits from a stiffer structure, added safety systems, more power, a quieter interior, more responsive AWD, available digital instrument cluster, and improved technology.

 

2nd place: Honda CR-V/26,716 sold/Sales up 51.3%

The 2021 Honda CR-V is one of the best compact SUVs you can buy. And Canadians seem to agree. Ingredients for the FWD or AWD Honda’s recipe for success include a decades-long history of reliability, easy and efficient driving manners, practicality, and among the roomiest interiors in its class. And it all comes at a price tag that’s digestible to everyday buyers. The CR-V’s 5-passenger interior space is one of its best attributes—impressive given that the previous generation was already among the most spacious in its class.

 

1st place: Toyota RAV4/37,908 sold/Sales up 84.1%

As this list proves, Canadians love SUVs. And so far, in 2021, the RAV4 is our favourite. And deservedly so. The Toyota compact SUV has a solid feel, excellent safety scores, generous standard equipment, plenty of interior space, and rides and handles more like a car than a high-riding truck. The RAV4 offers decent power and fuel economy, especially with its hybrid variants. This year, the big news is the addition of the RAV4 Prime Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle, which can travel up to 68 kilometres on electricity alone.

*Vehicle sales based on manufacturer-supplied information between January 1 and June 30, 2021. **Sales compared to the same period in 2020.
 

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