By on September 8, 2014

2013-Toyota-RAV4. Photo courtesy ToyotaDuring a month in which the Toyota Camry took a rare break from leading America’s passenger car sales results, the Toyota RAV4 soared to the top of the SUV/crossover leaderboard.

RAV4 sales hit record levels in July 2014, when 26,779 were sold, enough to make the RAV4 America’s second-ranked utility vehicle.

That record was smashed one month later, however, as Toyota reported 35,614 RAV4 sales in August 2014, enough to finish the month 1535 sales ahead of the Honda CR-V, which declined 2%, and 6618 sales ahead of the Ford Escape.

Through the first eight months of 2014, the RAV4 trails the CR-V by nearly 38,000 units; the Escape by more than 29,000. The fourth-ranked Chevrolet Equinox (which ranked fifth in August, as sales fell 15%) is 11,806 sales back of the RAV4, having led the RAV4 by more than 25,000 units at this stage a year ago.

Toyota’s 35,614-unit RAV4 sales performance in August equals a 52% improvement, year-over-year. This follows gains in May, June, and July, as well as improvements in January, February, and March, and in the final nine months of 2013.

Annually, RAV4 sales have increased in each of the last two years, rising to a record-high 218,249 units in 2013, the same year Chevrolet Equinox volume climbed to record levels, the same year Ford reported record-high sales of the Escape, and the same year the best-selling CR-V reached its highest U.S. yearly sales total ever, as well. The CR-V, Escape, and RAV4 are also all on pace for record-setting sales results in calendar year 2014.

August 2014 YTD U.S. SUV sales chartThe RAV4, of course, isn’t the only representative of Toyota’s utility vehicle strength. Toyota sold 57,623 SUVs and crossovers in August 2014 (plus 2793 Venzas) and 14,316 Lexus LX570s, GX460s, and RXs. The RX is consistently America’s top-selling premium brand utility vehicle. Over the last eight months the RX has sold 58% more often than the Acura MDX, 81% more often than the Cadillac SRX, and 140% more often than the Mercedes-Benz M-Class.

The still-fresh Toyota Highlander, sales of which fell 12% in August but are up 11% so far this year, is America’s second-best-selling three-row utility vehicle, and third-best-selling three-row vehicle overall, behind the Ford Explorer and Chrysler Town & Country. (Nissan has sold more Rogues, but the Rogue does not come equipped as standard with three-row seating. In fact, it’s only available on two of the Rogue’s three trim levels.)

The Toyota 4Runner is also returning to old form with sales rising 46% in 2014. Toyota USA has sold more 4Runners in the last eight months than in the full calendar years between 2008 and 2012, and before September is half way over, they’ll have sold more than in all of 2013, too.

But August was the RAV4’s month to shine, particularly as Camry sales, not unexpectedly, slid ever-so-slightly and as the Honda Accord stole the passenger car limelight.

The last time a Toyota was America’s best-selling utility vehicle was March 2010, when sales of the RAV4 surged 117% to 25,781, 6599 units clear of the second-ranked Ford Escape.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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98 Comments on “Record Sales Position Toyota’s RAV4 Atop All SUVs In August...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The RAV might be okay if it was a decent place inside to spend time. But it just_is_not.

    • 0 avatar
      Eiriksmal

      This. Absolutely this. My grandparents (now in their late-70s) replaced their loaded 2005 Avalon with a… 2014/15/whatever the new one is Rav4. I was completely and utterly baffled.

      I strongly encouraged them to buy a Venza–low car height is making it extremely difficult for my 5’10”-tall grandmother to egress with any shred of dignity, or even in a pain-free manner. It’s probably as comfortable as an Avalon as I only see older peopel driving them. My grandmother, however, loves the RAV4 as she can just sit straight down in the seat without having to climb up or drop down into it.

      “But the ride comfort!” I cried. It’s about the same, they claimed.

      “But the road noise, that dreadful wind around the tall box!” I wept. It’s about the same, they shrugged.

      “But that nasty, dreadful interior!” I moaned. It’s got heated leather and Sirius radio, they insisted.

      Sigh.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        Eirksmal, I can’t tell is your comment it a satire of the TTAC “I know what is better for other people” attitude or if you are serious.

        Assuming you are serious, your grandparents are very happy with their Rav4; if they are happy you should be too. Hell, if your grandparents are above ground you should be happy.

        Regarding comfort, when you get older your joints don’t work as well so a higher entry position and upright seating can be an advantage to seniors, not a disadvantage. Your grandparents, with 70+ years of sitting and standing experience, probably have a pretty good idea of what they find comfortable.

        Finally, telling somebody (particularly your grandparents) who just bought a new car that their choice is dreadful, uncomfortable, and nasty is at the very least boorish (obnoxious and rude also come to mind). You politely say “Nice car, glad you like it” and keep the rest to yourself.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          On the bright side, if they truly aren’t very discerning, perhaps they don’t mind being around their grandson.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            Is it any worse than going up to strangers and telling them they are reprehensible? You regaled us with that story of yours a few weeks back.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Reprehensible strangers /= own grandparents. You’re out of your depth.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            He didn’t say that his grandparents were reprehensible, either to their face or thought it. Just that he dodn’t agree with their purchase. Exactly what you do to anyone who doesn’t drive cars you like.
            You’re the one that also insult people you don’t know based on stereotypes and what opinions they hold. Then you turn around and critise others who allegedly do the same (like Liberals on your world). Consistency has never been your strong point Charles.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Nobody said his grandparents are reprehensible. My point was that being confrontational with reprehensible strangers that plaster their rolling tax subsidies with political statements is not the equivalent of being a heel to one’s grandparents, no matter how obtusely you pretend that it is. When you’re not arguing with other leftists, try to use logic.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            Why does everything come down to politics with you? Sad really. Everyone from Genghis Khan on down is probably a leftist to you.

            I work for a private sector employer, am not a member of a union, pay more income tax than I receive benefits back (one of the “47%”) and I also own a Toyota! So you should be happy. Also neither my company nor the industry was the beneficiary of bailout funds – unlike you. But as I said consistency isn`t your strong point.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            How was I the beneficiary of bailout funds exactly?

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @CJ in SD ,
            No not the best buy and has lost ability compared to the previous model
            http://www.caradvice.com.au/303611/toyota-rav4-review-gxl-4wd/

        • 0 avatar
          wsn

          Bashing a popular and reliable choice is the only way some people (think they) can “stand out” in the crowd.

        • 0 avatar

          I’m pretty sure it’s the former.

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          Hear hear! Or is it here here? Great comments – I fully agreed. When folks go against my advice or buy something I think is reprehensible, I just smile and nod.

          I’m glad for them that they are enjoying their new ride. Move on.

        • 0 avatar
          Eiriksmal

          Woah, you guys went a little, er, overboard in your responses to this.

          To clarify, that was a melodramatic dramatization of a conversation I had with my grandparents to suss out why the new RAV4 is a worthy replacement for their supremely comfortable Avalon.

          I did not tell them the RAV4 has a “nasty, dreadful interior,” I asked for how the new vehicle stacked up to the Avalon’s primary draws: Comfort and quality. Their verdict: Seat position trumps seat material quality. Noise is about the same. Toys are the same with the bonus of a backup camera. Doors are shorter, so it’s much easier to get in and out of the vehicle in parking lots. Rear seat room diminishes, but they rarely drive people around, anyway, so that’s a wash.

          I thought the Venza would be a suitable match for them as it’s tall like the CUVs and based on the Camry, so I presume it has a plush ride that’s not too far from their old Avalon. Hauling capabilities are a nice perk. My grandparents were originally considering the Highlander, so I suggested a vehicle of similar size, but slightly better fuel economy.

          The RAV4 came out of a search that included Highlanders and SRXes, so it caught me completely off-guard.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Funny, my own parents are looking to replace their loud, trucky, issue-prone 08 Pathfinder with a Toyota product. My dad is looking to spend too much money on a Highlander and was complaining. So I say hey, why not consider a Venza?

        My mom has apparently been put off by seeing a couple of examples in red (she doesn’t like red) and thinks it looks too much like a wagon.

        I think if I can get them to go drive one they will end up with it. They don’t need the third row seat.

        • 0 avatar
          Toad

          Maybe they would like a Rav4? Lower cost and seem to be a lot more popular.

          The Venza seems to be a lot like chastity: good for thee but not for me.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            RAV 4 does not sell well here. So I am a bit mystified why it sells well in the US

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            RobertRyan-

            Why are you mystified? Americans, unlike Australians, like crossovers, and buy plenty of them.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @bball40dtw,
            Yes they like their CUV’s and SUV’s here, but the current RAV 4 is not one of them

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            In 2013, the Rav4 was Australia’s 3rd bestselling CUV, behind the CX-5 and ix35 (Tucson). So, I guess its as popular there as it is here. The Rav4 ended last year as the 16th best selling vehicle in Australia and its the 16th best selling vehicle in the US YTD. We have a few more CUVs in the top 20 sales though. I apologize for prejudging you Australians as a bunch of offroading, small truck buyers. It seems the crossover invasion is happening there too.

            The Rav4 is to CUVs what the Camry is to midsized cars.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I’m glad I read this exchange.

          • 0 avatar
            petezeiss

            Death, where is thy sting?

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @bballl40tdw,
            They changed the specifications on the current model and as you have noted it has plummeted in popularity. That is why my surprise it has done so well in the US. We probably have more CUV/SUV’s in the overall vehicle population in Australian than the US

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            He didn’t say that and it doesn’t seem likely to be true, considering the new RAV4 was the 8th best selling car in Australia in April of 2014, hitting a new record for the model in total sales. I don’t have more recent numbers, but obviously Australia loves the new RAV4.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            In the US, the RAV4 is a success. Its market share YTD as of August was 1.4%. During 2013, it had market share of 1.6%.

            In Australia, the RAV4 had YTD market share of 1.8% as of May. During 2013, its market share was 1.5%.

            http://focus2move.com/australia-car-market-fell-2-may-mazda-falls-nissan-shines/

            Moral of the story: It’s a safe bet to take whatever Robert Ryan says and assume that the opposite is true. If you adopt that approach, then you’ll almost never be disappointed.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @bball49dtw,CJinSD,
            Actually the best selling SUV is the Grand Chrerokee, I do think it is in tenth position.

            As for the 4×4 comment it isn’t far from the truth. The pickup style utes are very big sellers here. 75% are 4×4 and 84% diesel. 3-4 are in the top ten.

            Toyota is losing ground to the new midsizers that offer SUV/CUV quality vehicles. Nissan will be out prior to Toyota. I bet Toyota will lose more ground.

            Now when you have 3 of them in the top ten and the Grand Chrerokee you will have quite a few 4x4s. This doesn’t include further down the list the many SUVs and utes that are similar in drive configuration. I would think over 30% of vehicles sold are 4×4.

            They you add to that Australia has the highest rate of performance vehicles per capita.

            CUVs are very big in Australia. But we might have a larger range available than in the US.

            CUVs are becoming very dominant on the roads.

            I do think Toyota is very slowly losing it’s allure. Yes they sell lots, but they are getting pressure from other manufacturers. Sooner or later Toyota will not sell because of it’s brand name.

            Interestingly Fiat with their Chrysler/Jeep vehicles are doing quite well in Australia. They offer cheap and competitive vehicle, as is shown by the Grand Cherokee figures.

            They are challenging the Koreans’. I don’t know if this is a great spot to be on the market. Chasing the low profits.

            The Euro’s on the other hand are at the higher end. More profit.

            Different philosophies.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @CJ in SD
            Another comparison test
            http://www.caradvice.com.au/295571/medium-suv-comparison-jeep-cherokee-v-mazda-cx-5-v-toyota-rav4-v-nissan-x-trail-v-ford-kuga-v-subaru-forester-v-hyundai-ix35-v-honda-cr-v-v-mitsubishi-outlander-v-kia-sportage/

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            CJ in SD
            Top 10 selling models July 2014
            Model Sales
            1. Toyota Corolla 3800
            2. Mazda3 3421
            3. Toyota HiLux 3140
            4. Holden Commodore 2469
            5. Hyundai i30 2434
            6. Ford Ranger 2203
            7. Mazda CX-5 1895
            8. Toyota Camry 1805
            9. Holden Cruze 1747
            10. Holden Colorado 1443

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            CJ in SD,
            Last nail,in the coffin for its popularity was it’s reduced towing ability
            http://www.themotorreport.com.au/56005/toyota-australia-towing-cautiously-with-new-diesel-rav4

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            “RAV 4 does not sell well here. So I am a bit mystified why it sells well in the US”

            From the comparison test you linked to, “The Toyota RAV4 is the second most popular SUV in the class, followed by the recently facelifted Hyundai ix35, Subaru Forester, Honda CR-V, Mitsubishi Outlander, Kia Sportage and Ford Kuga to round out our 10-strong test.”

            I don’t care how little caradvice reviewers like the RAV4, it is as popular in Australia as it is in the US.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            The Rav4 is a bit too small I think. It’s not one they would consider.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            CJ in SD
            No this is what is killing its popularity and the Jeep is probably selling better, it’s feeble tow rating. That and that prior comparison tests have helped kill its rating in the segment
            http://www.motoring.com.au/news/2013/toyota/rav4/toyota-ups-rav4-diesel-tow-capacity-36841

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            @Robert,

            The RAV4 is up 17% YTD following August’s market collapse. You’re only convincing yourself. It was third in class last month behind the Mazda and Hyundai.

            http://bestsellingcarsblog.com/2014/09/05/australia-august-2014-toyota-corolla-takes-tiny-steps-towards-annual-1/

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The RAV4 is unpopular in Australia. We know this because Robert Ryan doesn’t like it.

            The actual sales data and trends don’t matter.

        • 0 avatar
          turboprius

          Corey: The Venza is great. My aunt, who used to buy luxury cars every few years, has kept her fully loaded Venza since 2009. We got a RAV4 because of price.

          Try finding a CPO Venza, probably a 2013-onward. Those updates, such as the nicer steering wheel, help a lot. They were just rolling onto the lots when we bought the RAV4. The 2013 RAV4 Limited I sat in last year was light years ahead of mom’s 2012, in terms of comfort, room, and features. Clearly understandable why they’re selling so well. Not to mention a FWD XLE costs 23 grand or so, which is an excellent deal. Much better than our Limited.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Rumor has it that the Venza may be dropped either for 2015 or 2016.

            I would not like to see that happen, since the Venza AWD provides an option that is clearly aimed at the niche that buys that sort of stationwagon.

            But Venza sales are dismal, even at the outrageous prices they go for these days.

            Bottom line: people who bought a Venza and are happy with it should keep it until it is no longer economically feasible to fix it.

            Once they are gone, the only option left is to buy a CUV or an SUV, not something that everyone buys into.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I will see if I can get them to check out a 13+.

            @HDC, I agree the sales are dismal, but when you’re comparing the used prices of a Venza to a Highlander, they don’t seem too bad at all.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            CoreyDL, I was part of a discussion late last night on an auto-dealer site and the trend seems to be that more people are willing to buy used.

            Many buyers who choose to do so, do so because of the outrageous prices for new cars, but many others do it to avoid getting cars that have the Data Recorder that will testify against the driver.

            A lot of people have difficulty with that tell-tale spy in their car, even if they don’t subscribe to On-Star or like services.

            Everyone understands that it is just a matter of time when older cars can no longer be kept running and have to be recycled, but the demand for older used cars is still surprising. I think C4C had a lot to do with that.

            Some really decent cars were destroyed because of C4C that otherwise would have been resold to people who didn’t give a damn about mpg or fuel economy. I hated to see luxo-barges and especially pickup trucks get destroyed.

            When it comes to the Venza though, they start off pricey and just go up from there, especially if the buyer is looking for an AWD version, like in Ski-country or other places where it snows.

            And in reference to our 2008 Highlander, we have been asked by people (strangers) in the Wal-Mart parking lot if we would be interested in selling it. They said they would give us top dollar for it! Ditto with my wife’s 2012 Grand Cherokee.

            Not everyone likes the looks of the Venza, and that leaves me to believe that the greater demand for the Highlander is what keeps up the prices for used Highlanders. And yes, those used Highlander prices are indeed insane!

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            CJ in SD,
            Pos Model Aug-14 % /13 Jul 2014 % Pos FY13
            1 Toyota Corolla 3,247 3.7% -12% 1 29,213 4.0% 1 1
            2 Mazda3 3,124 3.5% -25% 2 29,069 3.9% 2 2
            3 Toyota Hilux 2,918 3.3% 1% 3 25,218 3.4% 3 3
            4 Hyundai i30 2,651 3.0% 4% 5 20,777 2.8% 5 4
            5 Holden Commodore 2,344 2.7% -17% 4 21,168 2.9% 4 5
            6 Ford Ranger 2,222 2.5% 32% 6 17,688 2.4% 6 11
            7 Mitsubishi Triton 1,799 2.0% 31% 14 14,838 2.0% 7 7
            8 Toyota Camry 1,685 1.9% -26% 8 13,608 1.8% 9 6
            9 Mazda CX-5 1,649 1.9% -14% 7 14,550 2.0% 8 12
            10 Holden Colorado 1,637 1.9% -5% 10 11,737 1.6% 14 16
            11 Jeep Grand Cherokee 1,477 1.7% 12% 11 11,496 1.6% 15 27
            12 Hyundai ix35 1,447 1.6% -14% 13 11,953 1.6% 13 14
            13 Holden Cruze (e) 1,350 1.5% -43% 9 12,504 1.7% 12 8
            14 Toyota RAV4 1,307 1.5% -27% 15 12,610 1.7% 11 17
            15 VW Golf 1,284 1.5% n/a 12 13,378 1.8% 9 15
            Toyota Kluger 1,267 1.4% n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 28
            From chart Kluger or Highlander, to knock it off as a new model. Unlike the US this is not the BEST SELLING SUV in Australia. Still mystified why it is doing so well in US. You have Mazda, Hyundai and Jeep in the same class in front of it, from Matts chart. Weakening of towing ability means it is going downwards

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        I used to subscribe to the notion that CUVs were easier to get in and out of. But on some models, “Watch that first step! It’s a doozy!”

        I found myself stumbling out of a RAV4. Help your elders in and out until they get used to the elevated height.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          The solution for my grandparents is: Tall cars that have a step running board. My grandma drives around in a Chevrolet Savanna 2500 conversion van (Gladiator) all the time. She loves it because she can see so much, and it can carry whatever crap she needs to put in there.

          My grandpa has an extended cab, long bed Sierra with running boards.

  • avatar
    mike978

    Just as the Camry is getting old and replaced explained some of its drop (in spite of incentives). The RAV4 is new and up against competitors a couple of years old, or older, and this explains its surge.

    Was it all retail?

  • avatar
    alsorl

    It’s an attractive SUV for the segment. But we rented one a few months ago as most if my rentals lately have been Toyoda’s and the rav 4 had some of the worst brakes. It felt like my 1981 Plymouth Champ. Almost gocart in feel and strength. I told the rental agent. And he said all the rav4 have those brakes.

  • avatar
    carve

    It looks OK from the sides, but the front and rear have been beaten with an ugly club. There’s also less cargo space, and power has gone from best in class to average. Interior went from bad to so-so but way behind a CRV. Other than Japanese reliability, everything that made this car stand out is gone. I’m disappointed sales haven’t tanked- it would’ve been a good message that you need to stand out in some quality. Guess I was wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      alsorl

      The Forester offers a more well put together package.

      • 0 avatar
        djsyndrome

        Not everyone needs/wants AWD, and not everyone has easy access to a Subaru dealership. The lack of infotainment and some creature comforts is also a downer.

        (and I say this as a Forester owner!)

    • 0 avatar
      Eiriksmal

      +1. They dragged out the biggest ugly-stick they could muster, gag.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      There’s also less cargo space, and power has gone from best in class to average.

      Less cargo space than what? It has more than an Equinox and about the same as a CR-V (maybe a tad more). And power is only of interest as it pertains to performance. The Equinox is 340lbs heavier and makes 4 more hp (although at higher RPM). The smidgen of difference in power won’t make up for the 10% penalty in weight that the Equinox carries. The CR-V also makes more power but at much higher RPM and peak torque is lower. By the numbers, it’s very competitive.

      Nobody’s buying these things for drag racing, anyway, and I guess Toyota did their homework and figured out that few Rav4 buyers were pulling anything over 1500lbs, so the V6 was unnecessary in this vehicle class.

      • 0 avatar
        carve

        Less than the previous RAV4, due to the spare tire being moved inside. Less power than the old RAV4 by almost 100 hp, due to no more optional V6. It wasn’t for everyone, but it made the car stand out, and it’s a deal breaker for people who won’t buy a slow car. You don’t have to be a drag racer to want decent power- especially if you want to pass someone going uphill on a high mountain road.

        • 0 avatar
          KixStart

          carve,

          By that logic, no one is buying the CR-V, either.

          Except that they do. It might surprise you to find that a power to weight ratio of 1:20 turns out to be perfectly acceptable to most people especially if it’s hooked to a decent transmission.

          I think you would be safe to assume that Toyota did their market research on this. And the numbers speak for themselves… if people were testing the Rav4 and finding it lacking, it wouldn’t be selling 30K+/month.

          If you want a V6, you can always go to the Equinox… but you’ll spend a lot more time pumping gas into it and people aren’t buying into this class because they enjoy pumping gas.

          In terms of actual capacity, the Rav4 is at or near the top of its class, regardless of what they’ve done with the spare tire.

  • avatar
    GoFaster58

    Toyota is highly over rated. There are many vehicles out there that are equally as good if not better. They sell only on the perception that they are better. Plus, all Toyotas are ugly!

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      The GT-86 is a great design. They have also made improvements to their styling. Not as cohesive as Honda’s (Camry vs Accord for example) but getting better.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      “They sell only on the perception that they are better.”

      That’s the end result of decades spent making sure the cars deliver value. I guess they didn’t teach that wherever Roger Smith and Rick Wagoner got their MBAs.

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      The Rav4 does have a locking center differential, under 25mph, which is something most vehicles don’t have. It’s a boring SUV, but at least it has some off-road cred. And in my opinion, the design looks better than the Mazda CX-5.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I’d rather have an Escape or CX-5 or a Forester XT, but the RAV4 arguably does the CUV thing better than most of its competitors so I’m not surprised it is selling well. It nails the utilitarian aspect, has benign & forgettable road manners, a great reliability reputation, and just enough ride comfort and road noise suppression to not chase folks away.

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    call it what it is, a minivan.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      You insult minivans, John,
      -Minivans can fit 7 people comfortably. 8 in a pinch.
      -Minivans have tons of cargo space
      -Minivans are driven by people who are smart enough to buy winter tires if they need them, not rely on AWD (I hope!)
      -Minivans don’t pretend to be something they are not. Nobody buys a Sienna to go rockhopping
      -Minivans get great gas mileage, considering the amount of passengers and cargo they carry.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Not minivan. Station wagon. These replaced station wagons.

      Monster crossovers like the Traverse are the minivan substitutes.

  • avatar
    hachee

    Interesting comments about the RAV4, because I’ve noticed that I seem to really see a lot of these lately, and I’ve thought they look really good….which is not what I’ve been able to say about most new Toyotas lately. And while I haven’t actually been in one, I’ve looked inside, and I thought they looked pretty nice and appeared to be of high quality, but again, this is just based on a peak through a window.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    ” really see a lot of these lately”

    They’re everywhere! At a pit-stop in the center of the Kansas Turnpike one day, I parked alongside and next to five of them, albeit of different years.

    And there must have been at least that many CR-Vs scattered around the immediate parking spaces at that same time.

    Ironically, as I recall, what crawled into and out of these little CUVs were OLD couples!

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      “Ironically, as I recall, what crawled into and out of these little CUVs were OLD couples!”

      Hmmm… not the demographic that leads to a lot of repeat business!

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        No, but it is very popular with them, the old folks. Hell, we travel in a 2012 Grand Cherokee because we like more room than either the RAV-4 or CR-V offer.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        Of course you see old people climbing out of CUV’s: have more money to spend on cars! If they planned things right their homes are generally paid for, kids out of the house and self supporting, and other expenses are relatively low. Older people are a great target market.

        Although I am solidly middle age, I can’t understand the efforts made to market cars to the 18-35 age group since they don’t have any money. Their wages are declining in many (most?) cases, and what money they do have is often tied up in housing and kids. Older people have a LOT more disposable income and are inclined to spend it.

        Automakers might be smart to throw a couple good looking 50 somethings into their advertising mix now and then. That’s where the dollars are.

        • 0 avatar
          KixStart

          “Although I am solidly middle age, I can’t understand the efforts made to market cars to the 18-35 age group since they don’t have any money.”

          Because they’re not done buying cars. If you can hook a 20 year old on something that serves him well, he might be back every few years for a very long time.

          • 0 avatar
            Toad

            I think that argument might have worked pre internet. Is any 20 year old (assuming you can find one that can afford a new car) going to turn his love of his new Chevy Spark into a lifelong loyalty?

            Most buyers are on the hunt for the most appealing car at the time they are ready to buy. Lifetime loyalty is dead or at least very sick.

            BTW, most of those old people you see stepping out of Rav4’s, Scion Xb’s, and CRVs were domestic automaker buyers 20+ years ago. So much for loyalty.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Toad, I’m solidly with you on that!

          “Of course you see old people climbing out of CUV’s: have more money to spend on cars! If they planned things right their homes are generally paid for, kids out of the house and self supporting, and other expenses are relatively low. Older people are a great target market.”

          But, old people are also a dying demographic in a demographic where the tastes change or evolve as the statistical population of that demographic ages and dies off. Each generation brings its own faves as it enters old age.

          For instance, my parents, born in 1917 and 1920, loved Big Band music, cars of the fifties, sixties and seventies.

          I grew up with all that but MY tastes in music and cars is much, much different, now that I am their age.

          You are right in that MOST old people are rolling in the dough, and are spending their kids’ and grandkids’ inheritance these days; a drastic departure from what my parents did by conserving their wealth for their kids and grandkids to give them a leg up.

          But I do find it surprising that so many old people choose the RAV-4 or the CR-V to do their traveling in.

          Maybe their 1/2-ton pickup truck is too cumbersome and harsh for long distance travel, and maybe their sedan is too low to the ground to easily get in and out of when rigor mortise sets in after 600 miles of driving.

          And many oldsters are remarkably tech-savvy and most of them actually gravitate to the latest and greatest in smartphones, phablets, tablets, Flatscreen TVs and other personal electronics, stuff that MY grandkids can only drool about even at their respectable salaries.

          Many like us also pass those electronics down to our grandkids when we upgrade. I know an 85-yo widow who runs her iPad Air all her waking hours using it to watch videos, play games, read up, watch news, etc etc etc.

          Before the current iPad Air, she had an iPad 2, which she gave to her 8-yo great-grand daughter when she bought the iPad Air.

          Many like us do their best to keep our grandkids today from starting off in the financial hole that holds so many young people back.

          The dollars indeed are with the HUGE demographic of people age 62 and older, the aging baby-boomers.

          • 0 avatar
            Toad

            True that old people are a dying demographic, but they constantly get replaced by “new” old people at a better than one for one rate. The demographic never goes away since it gets a continuous infusion of new members.

            Marketers make a mistake looking at the members of the 40+ demographic as static instead of dynamic.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I want my “old” old people back, these new old people aren’t cutting it IMO.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “I want my “old” old people back, these new old people aren’t cutting it IMO.”

            It’s been said that the old people of MY generation, born in 1946 – 1966, are turning America and our entire world upside down.

            It truly is a remarkable generation, maybe not as great as the Greatest Generation of WWII fame, but remarkable nevertheless.

            My generation has effected changes like no other. Frankly, I like it, and it suits me fine.

            What we in my generation choose to drive is an indication of how much individuality exists in this bulging demographic. How we vote, even more so.

            So far, the generations that followed us are pretty lame, comparatively speaking. Less productive as a whole, and much less inclined to think for themselves.

            Why is that? And maybe that’s why car makers all seem to make cars that look like molten blobs, sans styling.

          • 0 avatar
            turboprius

            Which old people are y’all hanging with? My grandparents don’t have the most money, their house doesn’t have an internet connection, and my grandfather’s cell phone is a flip phone. And they have a 2001 RAV4 that we gave them for a good price. When I think of seniors, I think of people like them. It’s weird seeing someone over 70 driving a vehicle newer than the 2005 model year, and especially freaky seeing someone using a smartphone. I understand people my age (between 14 and 18) using them, but older folks? No.

            Or maybe it’s because I was a young kid in the mid-2000’s, when everyone had flip phones and drove 1990’s cars.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “Which old people are y’all hanging with?” My guess would be “old people who got out of the ‘hood and got into retirement life elsewhere.”

            I don’t know if you’ve ever been to retirement communities, or assisted-living communities, but there is a staggering number of oldsters, usually starting around age 55, who are cashing out of the ‘hood and buying into a retirement life in less-expensive places.

            Regrettably, many of those are flocking to Arizona, New Mexico and West Texas. It’s great for the real-estate businesses (like that of my wife and her family) and new-car dealers who transact many sales based on cash purchases, but not so good for the people who were already there.

            The amount of people migrating West from the East and West Coasts is mind boggling.

            One guy who moved here from New Jersey turned over his house and Plumbing business to his son. Gets a FedEx care package with money in it every month.

            Another guy from NYC who moved here after he retired from the NYCPD sold his house there and moved here. Does security work for cash money here and drives a brand new truck (Suburban) every other year.

            My brother’s in-laws turned over their condo in the financial district of Manhattan to their daughter and bought lots of acreage between Taos and Santa Fe.

            My grandson’s in-laws turned over their house in Fallbrook, CA to their daughter and bought a house in Arizona, and a time-share in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. Six months living at the beach in Ensenada, the other six months split between Sedona and Fallbrook. What a life!

            We used to own some property in Grand Junction, CO, and the amount of people cashing out of California and moving to Grand Junction was more than the builders there could keep up with. So we sold the properties we had there, at amazing prices.

            I think that by and large, old people today are much better off than their parents were at the same age.

            That certainly is the case for me and my sibs.

            My four brothers became millionaires after the sale of their car dealerships.

            My youngest sister is married to a Jewish guy from NYC who retired in West Palm Beach, FL.

            And my other sister is married to a Canadian fellow who derives all his income from parking garages and rentals his parents left him.

            I’m kinda like the poorest relative they have, but I do OK. Not rich, but not destitute either. And always eager for more.

          • 0 avatar
            turboprius

            My grandma lived in one. She died in 2009, and was the last living parent on mom’s side. Only being 8 the last time I went there, I don’t remember much, and age was different (four years old was really old back then). Dad’s parents are the ones that live in southern Alabama and are poor. Y’all have such an neat past. I wonder what life would be like if we were millionaires; it wouldn’t be the same, but we’d probably have a Venza. ;) (hey, connects to the post! Good job self).

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            ” Y’all have such an neat past.”

            But most people don’t consider themselves as having a neat past IF they lived through the hard times and adapted to and overcame the hurdles before them.

            Just remember, everyone is not offered the same opportunities in life. Some people try and try all their life only to find they are doomed to failure time and again.

            At some point, you try a different tangent. Such was the case with my brothers – none of them was happy in the profession they had chosen before trying a partnership of retailing new and used cars.

            None had the business background or MBA. So they asked me to provide input and recommendations to them and their partners. IOW, I was drafted because I have the MBA, and because I don’t let blood down.

            The rest is history. More than 30 years affiliation with the car bid’ness. And that’s why I get cynical reading comments from know-it-alls who never had to make the hard decisions or make payroll but expound their idealistic views on the interpretation of “facts” or benefits of unionism.

            If everyone interpreted the facts about the US auto industry the same way in 2007, we would all have turned out the same way.

            Instead, some of us who cashed out of GM stock prior to the middle of 2008 got a lot of money for their interpretation of those same facts.

            I was indeed fortunate to have a broker who knew facts from fiction.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I guess you do not need to offer a manual transmission to be #1.

    At least Subaru and Mazda still offer a stick.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      My observation has been, although it be a narrow observation, that many people who buy or choose these are old folks.

      Most old people don’t want to row through the gears of a manual. And from personal observation I can tell you that an automatic goes a long way to alleviating stress and strain on my creaky knees and hips.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    What is incentive spending in this segment.

    Honda’s lead is all the more impressive given they typically put the least amount of cash on the hood on their products compared to the other mainstream brands. I know some models in the broad stable are getting near give away leases (ILX comes to mind in the Acura space).

    Would be curious to see what incentive spending is (not to confuse incentive spending with dealer discounts)

    I would speculate roughly from least to most

    * CR-V –> by a wide margin
    * Escape
    * RAV-4 –> would guess a close tie to the Escape
    * Equinox
    * Explorer –> would guess a close tie to the Equinox

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      At the moment, the Rav4, per Edmunds, offers only some loan incentives. It’s 0% for 36 months, .9% for 48 months and 1.9% for 60 months. No cash. That’s hardly generous in today’s market. Maybe they’re doing something for the dealers when they move one but it seems unlikley. If the car’s selling at the 30K/month rate, it’s fairly popular and shouldn’t need a lot of push.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        That’s part of the question – we know that when you look at GMs total incentive packages, there is a dealer portion and a cash on the hood portion (and then dealer discounts on top of that).

        It is my understanding that Toyota is not big on dealer incentives historically – but the incentive landscape has changed a lot in the last 12 to 18 months.

        The lack of incentives in leafy greeny cash money makes the gain even more impressive.

  • avatar
    bills79jeep

    Through family, I’ve driven this RAV-4, and the prior gen RAV-4 and CRV. I was pleasantly surprised by both iterations of the RAV-4. Enthusiast car it is not, but it’s a good package. As far CUVs go, I thought both had decently communicative steering and handled competently in regular traffic situations. I’d say my one sentence review is that it drove smaller and lighter than it actually is.

    I certainly prefer it to the prior gen CRV, which was woefully inadequate in transmission mapping for the mountain passes of WV I drove it through, exhibits more body roll with no reward in a smoother ride, and had similar NVH. Finally, I’m not sure anyone in the biz does a cheaper rubber steering wheel than Honda.

    All this got me thinking – any chance TTAC ups the number of normal consumer car reviews in the post-Barth era?

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      “any chance TTAC ups the number of normal consumer car reviews in the post-Barth era?”

      My hope as well but Baruth keeps showing up. Could Derek get a restraining order?

    • 0 avatar

      You can watch Dykes’ videos if you want. About as close as one can get to normal car review. Sadly, he’s gone totally video, and you cannot read him anymore. If only we got someone like that, but owning a computer keyboard.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I just can’t get past how cheap the current RAV4 looks. The cheap grey plastic rear bumper screams “1988 Camry DX.” And it’s still cheap grey plastic even on the highest trim level. The interior looks the same — like cost of manufacture was the first criterion.

    The last one, I think, came across as a more premium product. In this segment, though, I’d buy a Subie for the full-time AWD alone.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    I know, “boo hoo” say the car guys, they want manual sport wagons or coupes for all. Well, average people don’t care about car purism. They want features, room, and ride height.

    A floaty Avalon is out of style, and Ford Panthers are six feet under for current 65-79 y/o buyers, who pay in full.

    Most 18-29 y/os still live at home, or crash with roommates, and ‘ride share’ [Uber]. They see car ownership as “marriage”, to be “put off til 30+”.

    So, car guys have to get used to the ‘new normal’. No legions of kids driving Acura Integras right out of collage as 10-15 years ago.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    How do you not love vehicles like this RAV4, the CR-V and all their cross-shopped competitors? Tall, roomy, fuel efficient and most importantly supremely ergonomically friendly.

    They’re the New Balance cross trainers of the vehicle world.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      We love our ’14 Rav4 Limited. Easy on gas, tons of space, proven reliable drivetrain (no CVTs, thanks), easy to drive, and the ability to lock torque split to 50:50 under 25mph. The seats are fantastic (for a mainline product), too. Memory seats, power lift gate, nav, moonroof, fake leather that feels quite nice, blind spot monitoring, JBL radio, lane departure warning, cross traffic warning, reclining and folding rear seats for a negotiated $30k (invoice pricing). And the lowest load floor in the class. It is just a lot of car for the money. My only complaints are the touchscreen being difficult to see in direct sunlight and the ride is a little firm (the positive is that handling is pretty good).

      • 0 avatar
        petezeiss

        Good to hear. My wife and I have had 4 CR-Vs between us and feel the same. We’d never even consider going back to sedans or coupes.

        CUVs are simply the most efficient and comfortable way ever devised to package some seats, an engine and cargo space.

        • 0 avatar
          superchan7

          Did you consider the Odyssey?

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            We have one kid (and that is all that is planned) and AWD was a requirement. No need for something as big as a van.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Hey Quentin,

            Not being snarky, just wondering, why did you prefer/require AWD?

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            My wife and I live on the west side of the Appalachian mountains that cut through West Virginia. My parents live on the east side of the range. Of the 220 miles between my house and their house, ~80 of it is WV state road with lots of twists and lots of elevation change. That 80 miles is quite the bear in FWD on snow tires — I did that for 3 winters in my MKV GTI. The little extra clearance and AWD (especially with diff lock) gives me a little more capability to get over the mountains. Plus, we both have fun, 2WD daily drivers (MINI cooper S for her, FR-S for me), so I just wanted capable, practical, reliable, and easy to drive when we were car shopping this winter.

            FWD resale value is terrible in this area, too.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Thanks for the reply. Makes a lot of sense. I get by with 2WD and snows, and I travel a lot outside the city, but I rarely venture across the Rockies in winter, so I’ve always done fine. Crossing the range regularly, I may have opted for a Forester. Even an XV.

  • avatar
    maxwell_2

    Unattractive, cheap looks inside, noisy and it sells, I dont get it.

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