By on February 26, 2015

2015 Honda CR-VAfter averaging around than 230,000 U.S. sales between 2007 and 2013, a period in which Honda averaged 295,000 annual Civic sales and 324,000 annual Accord sales, the CR-V was the second-best-selling Honda in America for the first time ever in 2014.

Much of the CR-V’s Civic-besting work was done in a second half which saw Civic volume slide 10%. Moreover, 54% of the CR-V’s 2014 U.S. volume was generated in a strong second-half.

But the CR-V didn’t stop with the Civic. In each of 2014’s final three months, the CR-V also outsold the Accord, America’s second-best-selling car.

A brief spurt of extraordinary achievement? Perhaps not. In the first month of 2015, the CR-V was once again the best-selling Honda in America.

The CR-V outsold the Accord by 2129 units in October; the Civic by 5103. In November, the gap widened considerably, with the CR-V outselling the Accord by 7103 units; the Civic by 9318. In the final month of 2014, as Accord volume slid 2% year-over-year, the CR-V outsold the midsize Honda by 780 units; the Civic 7032. In the fourth-quarter of 2014, American Honda reported 94,004 CR-V sales, equal to 28% of the brand’s total, up from 23% the same period one year earlier.

Honda sales chart 2014-2015The Civic’s share of Honda’s pie fell from 26% in the fourth-quarter of 2013 to 22%. The Accord’s share slid from 26% to 25%.

Then, in concert with its fifth consecutive month as America’s top-selling SUV/crossover, the CR-V was the top Honda for the fourth month running in January 2015. As non-CR-V Hondas collectively achieved a 7% year-over-year improvement, equal to 4415 extra sales compared with January 2014, CR-V volume jumped 27%, or 4979 units.

In fact, despite being outsold by Nissan, the Honda brand reported record January sales in 2015, with no large amount of thanks to their car division, which slipped 1.5%. But in addition to a record January from the CR-V, a clear-out of remaining second-gen Pilots helped the bigger Honda crossover to a near-doubling of January volume: 12,315 units, up 89% from 6224 in January 2014.

The CR-V is not alone in its car-conquering ways. Pickup trucks aside, the Escape, America’s second-best-selling utility vehicle, was Ford’s top seller in each of the last five months, although it trailed the Fusion by a scant 648 units at year’s end. The Escape was Ford’s best-selling non-pickup-truck in 2011, 2012, 2013, as well.

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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46 Comments on “Question Of The Day: Will The CR-V Continue To Be America’s Best-Selling Honda?...”


  • avatar

    I didn’t realize till I took someone carshopping how expensive the Rav4 actually is. Anyone building an inexpensive 4×4 / AWD CUV is golden right now.

    • 0 avatar
      Boxofrain

      And who would that be? All these things are overpriced!

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Mazda CX-5
        Jeep Renegade/Patriot/Compass/Wrangler
        Nissan Xterra/Rogue

        Cheap 4x4s

        • 0 avatar
          Boxofrain

          Not here in Canada, and the base models usually come with nasty stamped steel wheels and lack the features that even a much cheaper Covic has. You have to spend $32,000 before you get a sunroof or leather wrapped steering wheel on a CR-V in Canada. A Civic EX has those features for $22,000, and the Accord Sport has them at $26,000. CX-5 is only cheap with the 2.0 litre FWD model, which cheap stamped steel wheels.The Xterra starts at $34,000 here in Canada.

          The cheap base price for SUVs is always a FWD model, which less features than the cars sold by the same company.

          • 0 avatar
            Dave M.

            I’m not too good at the maths regarding USD:CND, but the Forrester Premium with a sunroof sells for +/- $25k USD

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            The Forester has pretty good resale value around these parts in OH. They go on sale not often, and when they do they go quickly.

        • 0 avatar

          Well, Wrangler does have a sunroof that you love so much, you just need to stow it behind the seats when it’s open (Jeep provides a special case for it, that hangs onto headrests). :-)

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I think the Rogue is pretty cheap, yea?

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          It’s also pretty “cheap”, if ya know what I mean. But I have two friends whose wives absolutely love them.

          The only things in this class that have any appeal to me are the Renegade/500X, and the Cherokee. But reality is I would buy a used Land Rover instead.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I agree, it’s a seemingly bare bones car. I do believe they improved this current generation Rogue drastically.

            I wasn’t even impressed with the 2012 Murano I had for a week, and look what they charge for those things!

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    I would think the CRV would be the best selling but I bet the HRV eats into sales. Also has been reported that the 2015 has bad shaking problems:

    http://www.wjla.com/articles/2015/02/owners-of-best-selling-2015-honda-cr-v-complain-of-vibration-problems-111800.html

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      Indeed. From my review: “The CR-V’s new continuously variable transmission, implemented surprisingly well alongside the a 185-horsepower 2.4L four-cylinder, periodically allows revs to fall so low that an unnecessary amount of vibration enters the cabin.” https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/capsule-review-2015-honda-cr-v-touring/

      • 0 avatar
        AprilFools

        Indeed this is the issue, not sure why, but there is a low idle and under low acceleration, the CVT allows the engine to go below 1500 which causes vibration. I’m sure they will tweak the software to make it better.

    • 0 avatar
      Nedmundo

      Probably, but I expect the HR-V to eat into Fit (and possibly Civic) sales more than CR-V sales, at least in urban areas like Philly. Around here, both CUV’s and small cars like the Fit are extremely popular, but the ride height and suspension travel of CUV’s are advantageous for visibility and dealing with all the potholes. So, I suspect lots of potential Fit buyers will migrate to the HR-V, just as many Impreza buyers seem to go for the Crosstrek, which is very popular here. If folks want something bigger, they’ll step up to the CR-V class. I expect to replace our wonderful Mazda 5 with a CR-V, CX-5 or Forester in a couple of years.

      • 0 avatar
        rdclark

        In addition to cannibalizing some Fit sales, though, I expect the HR-V to strongly compete with the Kia Soul, which is also quite popular in areas like Philly. It will also attract buyers who might have looked at the Scion xB had Toyota not abused and abandoned it, and generally buyers who are looking for a small car but want to sit up high.

        The CR-V’s success is the crest of the segment’s success, a tide that has floated all but the most incompetent boats. People realize that the footprint of a sedan can be filled by a taller, more capacious vehicle that has better visibility and (finally) acceptable fuel economy, and that isn’t much more expensive. How much more does a CR-V cost than a Civic, when they are comparably equipped?

        • 0 avatar
          Boxofrain

          Here in Canada you can get way more Accord for $30,000 than you can CR-V. Other than AWD, the Accord EX-L offers way more features than the CR-V SE, including but not limited to a sunroof, better stereo system, dual zone climate control, leather seats and steering wheel, fog lights, heated rear seats, Lanewatch, Forward Collision Warning, Auto dim rear view mirror, Sirius XM. The CR-V SE has none of those features for $30,000.

  • avatar
    duffman13

    The CR-V makes a very good argument for staying at the top of Honda’s sales unless consumers become more gas-price sensitive, or more price sensitive move towards the Civic. Looking at their website build function, the CR-V maintains pricing parity (within $500) with similar trim variants of the Accord.

    Unless your are buying a V6 Accord , you are getting similar power to weight, similar amenities, and AWD capabilities, a better back seat, and a massively functional hatch for a penalty of 5-7mpg. To some people that’s important, in the mileage range these cars are operating in, that’s a difference of less than a couple hundred a year in total gas consumption.

    While it is relatively soulless, it provides what the vast majority of consumers want; the benefits over a midsizer are enough that I don’t see any reason that the market would really swing back beyond financial incentives.

  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    Noticed one of these in Touring trim last night on my way home. Is it me or does the chrome on the rear liftgate make it look like Honda put some fake bull horns on the back of it. Made me laugh and now I can’t unsee it.

    • 0 avatar
      sco

      We’ve got the exact 2015 CRV in the picture at the top of the article and yes the chrome strip in the back is bling-y. The 2014 version had just a black strip which at least gave you the impression of having a bigger rear window instead of reminding you that you didn’t. Bull horns, oh that’s just great – I’m not going to look at the car for a few days.

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    The CR-V has nearly the same interior dimensions a 2003-2007 generation Accord but can handle the semi-annual Ikea/Goodwill run when you have to haul some furniture.

    If you’re a household that has 1/0 kids, CR-V is all the car you need.

    And with the CVT/4-cyl. if you can afford a CR-V, you can still afford driving it if gas hits $4/gallon.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Yes. Crossovers are now the default car for Americans, and the CR-V is the mainstream product of the future for Honda. Think back to 2005 or so, when the CR-V was a niche product and the Accord was Honda’s bread and butter. Today the Accord is still a big deal, but by 2020 it will be the one looking more and more niche.

    Honda really needs to keep working on refinement for the CR-V. The Accord still has the CR-V way beat in that respect.

  • avatar
    Sam Hell Jr

    Tangentially related: wow, the cost of a mid-grade Escape buys you a whole lot of hatchback Focus. And a not-untolerable Fusion.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    Six years of austerity have left roads in a terrible state in large parts of the US.

    SUVs, CUVs and pickups will continue to be top-sellers for most brands until the roads are fixed, which is probably never.

    The mileage penalty between a 4 cylinder automatic Accord and a CR-V is only 1 MPG, so current customers may not want to go back to sedans. We’ll have to wait for the next generation to decide they don’t want to drive their parents’ car.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      With a gun to my head I would certainly choose a CRV over a much less useful Accord sedan, even in a place where the roads are good. Neither is THAT fantastic to drive, so you might as well get the added utility of the wagon on stilts.

      Though that said, of this class of vehicle the CRV is pretty far down my list of favorites.

      I really think fashion-victim wheel sizes and lack of decent visibility are doing a number on car sales these days.

      • 0 avatar
        Boxofrain

        I agree. SUVs aren’t anything special, but most cars are pretty lackluster too, so why not get something that’s practical? V6 Accords are pretty pricey, as are V6 Camrys now.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I wouldn’t doubt that the CR-V continues to sell well – it’s not the most this-or-that vehicle, but everything it does it does extraordinary well!

    Our 2002 EX still rolls good, although some rust has appeared around the fuel filler door.

    A CR-V will most likely be my next ride – really.

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    I wonder if the Camry/Rav4, Mazda6/CX5, Altima/Rogue, etc, are seeing similar changeovers. I think dal20402 is right, we are seeing firsthand the transition of the default car in America.

    Some of these new CVTs seem like your shifting from 2nd to 4th in a manual transmission. Lot of lugging the engine going on at low speed to get those mileage numbers, resulting in vibrations in the driveline, exhaust, etc. I don’t care for them but their implementation will only become more widespread.

    • 0 avatar
      rockets

      Our ’15 Forester with CVT does “whir” a bit at lower speeds when selecting the right “bandwidth” (for lack of a better term with no gears to select), but it always has good torque and zip when you need it. It is rated at 25-32mpg; we usually get 22-23 in town but up to 33 on the road (at 55-60) and 28-29 or so (at 70+) with a pretty full load. After a while, you just forget about having a CVT.

    • 0 avatar
      Boxofrain

      Well the Mazda6 sure isn’t outselling much of anything, let alone the CX-5. Acura has already turned into an SUV company, as has Subaru. Take the SUV out of the Subaru or Acura lineup and they would be out of business.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Yes. CR-V is the Ford Explorer for Gen X women.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    The CR-V does a lot of things for a lot of people. It appeals across the age/race/demographic spectrum. It’s kind of the F-Series of Small SUVs.

    It can do just about anything and has an interior like Mary Poppins’ bag proportional to its exterior.

    No wonder it’s a hit.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Answer – Yes. Next topic.

    Is anyone actually surprised that this is the best selling Honda?

  • avatar
    superchan7

    I don’t doubt that the CR-V will stay at the top of Honda’s US sales. It has a usefully tall profile and no load lip which makes it easy to pull bulky items out. This is a critical advantage of the liftgate design.

    Then, despite the new alien-face styling, it’s still a Honda and it’s still perceived to be no-nonsense and cheap to own for the long run. A mid-grade CR-V is one of the safest new car choices for non-penalty-box transportation.

  • avatar
    210delray

    I get the popularity of these smallish crossovers, but they’re not for me. As an empty nester with a spouse (and the rest of the family out of state), I prefer sedans and hatchbacks — better handling and fuel economy, plus I don’t like privacy glass in the rear side windows and backlite (unavoidable in all but base model crossovers).

    Midsize sedans and the Prius hatchback are fine for carrying four (five in many cases with reasonable comfort), and today’s cars have big enough trunks or cargo areas plus most have fold-down rear seats.

  • avatar
    bd2

    Honda started the month with a 114 day supply of the Civic (which is why they have cut production the most on the Civic).

    Nissan has been able to gain on Honda due to its aggressive pricing (as has Toyota) and having a larger CUV/SUV lineup.

    Both Toyota and Nissan in effect have been “subsidizing” sedan sales (lower margins) with the higher margins on their CUVs and SUVs.

    Honda doesn’t have the lineup of CUVs and SUVs to do so.

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