For five consecutive years between 2012 and 2016, the Honda CR-V has been America’s most popular utility vehicle.
In fact, the CR-V has topped America’s SUV/crossover sales charts in nine of the last 10 years, a streak of dominance that began in 2007.
It appears increasingly likely in 2017, however, that the Honda CR-V’s streak will be broken by the Toyota RAV4. Thanks to 20-percent year-over-year growth through the first three-quarters of 2017, the RAV4 leads the CR-V by more than 31,000 sales and the Nissan Rogue/Rogue Sport by more than 15,000 sales with scant time remaining for the RAV4’s rivals to make up the gap.
The difference maker? Toyota’sÂ RAV4 Hybrid.
36,352 copies of the RAV4 Hybrid have been sold so far this year, without which the RAV4 is not America’s top-selling utility vehicle. RAV4 Hybrid sales are up 10 percent this year. Sales of the conventional RAV4, meanwhile, are up 21 percent.
Among America’s 10 most popular utility vehicles so far this year, the RAV4 is joined by one other Toyota, the surging Highlander. No top-selling SUV/crossover is growing faster, year-over-year, than the Highlander. Ford, with the Escape and Explorer, and Jeep, with the Grand Cherokee and Wrangler, are the only other automakers with two vehicles in the top 10. The Escape is the only top seller that has attracted fewer buyers this year than last, albeit by only the slightest of margins.Â America’s leading subcompact crossover, the Jeep Renegade, ranks 21st overall. The top-selling premium brand contender is the 24th-ranked Lexus RX.
In a market that has declined 2 percent from 2016’s record pace in 2017, U.S. SUV/crossover sales are up 6 percent. That year-over-year gain of 324,000 units has caused SUV/crossover market share to rise to 42 percent in 2017, up from 39 percent in 2016.
Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor ofÂ GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.
[Image: Toyota, Honda]