By on August 11, 2015

TTAC COTD best-selling SUV sales streak Honda CR-V

Beginning in September 2014, the Honda CR-V began a streak as America’s best-selling SUV/crossover, a streak which has now extended through July 2015. Eleven consecutive months is no mean feat — the Toyota Camry’s current streak as America’s best-selling car is only six months long.

The CR-V is strengthening, however. In July, year-over-year volume jumped 11 percent to 31,785 units, 2,532 units more than the second-ranked Ford Escape managed. During this increasingly lengthy period of dominance, no one challenger has really stood up to take the fight to the CR-V.

Since the beginning of 2015, the Ford Escape has been the second-place finisher twice (in January and July), the Toyota RAV4 twice (in February and June), the Chevrolet Equinox twice (in April and May), and the Nissan Rogue once (in March). It’s as though James Harden is shooting around on a basketball court beside some playground in Los Angeles waiting for a one-on-one matchup while kids peeking out from around the corner keep pushing one of their friends out to put up a fight.

2015 Honda CR-V

Although this particular streak displays special CR-V strength — sales climbed to a record high 335,019 units in calendar year 2014 and are on pace to top 350,000 in 2015 — we’re not witnessing something new from Honda. The CR-V was America’s best-selling utility vehicle for four consecutive years beginning in 2007 and then, after a one-year break, it was America’s best-selling utility vehicle in each of the last three years, as well.

The difference now is the vehicle’s astounding consistency, like a tennis player that not only ends the year as the top-ranked player but also wins every tournament every weekend.

In 2012, when the current annual CR-V streak began, the Escape was the top-selling utility vehicle in America in June, July, August, and September. In 2013, the Escape led in each of the first three months and in May, June, and in September. Again in 2014, the Escape led in January, February, and March; the RAV4 in August.

Now things have changed. Month after month, no SUV or crossover sells as often in America as the Honda CR-V. Moreover, CR-V sales are growing despite the increasing breadth of the SUV/CUV market. In nine of the last eleven months, year-over-year CR-V volume has increased.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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77 Comments on “Chart Of The Day: July Marks 11 Months On Top For The Honda CR-V...”


  • avatar
    RideHeight

    What people who want the finest transportation appliance graduate to from 3-boxes once they can no longer abide what CAFE and styling have done to those.

    • 0 avatar

      …or realize that they prefer the ingress/egress height of a CUV, or the space, or the visibility, or the ground clearance (after grinding the front bumper off of a curb for the nth time), or the only slight increase in fuel consumption, or…

      Oh, ahem, sorry, right…let’s blame the government for this. Don’t know what I was thinking. It’s our duty as car nerds. Thanks Obama or whatever.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        If I’m immune to Pch101’s constant admonitions on this topic, you ain’t gettin’ nowhere, laddie.

        And all those advantages you mentioned are exactly what has been destroyed in slammed-top little crampy cars with the current FE-über-alles pressure on manufacturers.

        But you don’t have to take my opinion seriously… just watch the same thing happen to CUVs now that they account for so many sales. Case in point: HR-V.

        • 0 avatar

          “And all those advantages you mentioned are exactly what has been destroyed in slammed-top little crampy cars with the current FE-über-alles pressure on manufacturers.”

          Wut? The sedan hasn’t changed significantly in shape (except for styling reasons) or quality of looks for a long time. It’s not like the populous went out and said “GOD, that is just too large, refined, and efficient for me, I’ll buy a CUV instead.”

          The automakers provided a better option that presents minimal downsides, plenty of pros, and the market has spoken. Stop blaming the government for market dynamics.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “The automakers provided a better option that presents minimal downsides, plenty of pros, and the market has spoken.”

            Completely agree. And after market forces comes CAFE to to mock the vox populi by denuding yet another segment in the service of aerodynamics for FE.

            Just look at the A-pillars of everything, even pickups. The newer, the slantier, the squashier the greenhouse.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Unless you plan on growing plants inside your car, I don’t quite get the greenhouse obsession.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            I know. I’m also obsessed with haircuts.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            RideHeight needs to go get a used Scion xB.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Forget that. Buy a nice old panel van instead.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            “Stop blaming the government for market dynamics.”

            In places where speed limits better reflects the dynamic envelopes of modern cars, cars with a more dynamically proper COG tends to remain stronger. As do motorcycles that have evolved at least a little bit beyond their immediate post war roots. And you know what, last I checked, government sets speed limits. Not “markets.” Nor competent people.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          “And all those advantages you mentioned are exactly what has been destroyed in slammed-top little crampy cars…”

          Really? I’ve been SHOPPING compact cars recently. Have you?

          And you know what? None feel remotely cramped to me, despite my prodigious butt.

          Seriously, dude…if you want a taller car, buy one. It’s your money.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Thanks for your contribution. Now contribute me a list of USDM “compact cars” with a roof height ≥ 60″.

            Only one I know of is the Fit and there’s already one in our garage.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      CAFE isn’t the reason A-pillars are so thick and leaned back; crash ratings are. Your wonderful pencil thin a-pillars buckle and help initiate fun contact between things like humans and steering wheels/dashboards etc. FFS if you are going to go into a DeadWeight grade troll trance at least do so for some kind of rational reason.

      And o yea the whole “the masses dont buy the cars I dont like because theyre stupid” is a nice original touch too. If you want vision unencumbered by a-pillars go ride a motorcycle with a brain bucket.

  • avatar
    mike978

    The consistency almost took a fall in February, March and April this year alone with different competitors nearly winning. It will happen one year, but is irrelevant whether the CRV is first or second on any given month. It is the best selling CUV and deservedly so.

  • avatar
    threeer

    What are the HR-V’s opening numbers looking like? If the CR-V stays strong and HR-V sales maintain their strength, Honda looks to be in the driver’s seat for compact and small(ish) SUVs. I guess that’s why my parking lot at work is chock full o’ CR-Vs! I’m starting to see HR-Vs, but it appears that the dealers can’t keep them in any significant quantity.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      Avail yourself of Mr. Cain’s magnificent compendium:

      http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      HR-V looks ugly and cheap in person, just like the Encore! I have not been impressed.

      • 0 avatar
        philadlj

        $19,115 IS cheap these days!

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        “HR-V looks ugly and cheap in person”

        I went to test drive and came away meh. Like it’s the result of a JV with Nissan. Crampy inside and kinda choppy on the road.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        These are the new B-segment cars. Expectations should be set accordingly. They sell for a little more than conventional B-segment cars, but all that buys you is the ride height and big tires.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        May be “cheap” (with respect to the interior) but in line with the rest of the (presently) small group of subcompact CUVs.

        Yes on the ugly tho, but that didn’t exactly stop the previous CR-V from selling boatloads.

        One big reason why the HR-V is selling so well is the lack of competition – pretty much just the Encore/Trax and maybe something like the Soul and Juke until the CX-3 hits the lots.

        Also, previous sedan buyers/owners when switching over to a crossover tend to go down one segment – so the majority of Civic owners opting for the HR-V instead of the pricier CR-V.

        • 0 avatar
          RideHeight

          “One big reason why the HR-V is selling so well is the lack of competition”

          Especially Japanese competition. But Akio’s C-HR (aka King Rat) should be just around the corner.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Wifey revealed to me that she wants something she “sits higher in” than her Rabbit. We will also want something that will be easy to load infants into. Is the CR-V a secret enthusiast’s choice like my Civic or would I do better to not even look at it? I want a poor man’s Macan.

    • 0 avatar
      rickhamilton620

      It’s pretty bland these days, likely a underlying cause of it’s sales success.

      For what you’re looking for (fun to drive), you’re pretty much looking at CX-5 with Ford Escape a distant second. The CX-5 is that good.

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        Agreed that the CX-5 is the only real option, but let’s be clear about expectations: this is a _really_ poor man’s Macan. The engine is decent (for the segment) but can dog when the revs aren’t up, and the steering is tight (for the segment) but there’s no steering feel to speak of. My wife’s CX-5 certainly doesn’t get in its own way, but nor does it ever make me want to leave the GTI in the garage.

        That said, if she’s coming out of a Rabbit, she’s not exactly used to a high-performance vehicle, so the CX-5 should be more than adequate.

        • 0 avatar
          GiddyHitch

          CX-5 got crossed off if my list as a family hauler for two reasons – very poor iPod integration and lack of rear AC vents. These may not be deal breakers for Mrs. sportaccordy but they were for me and my kids. The vast middle ground between a CX-5 and a Macan would include an SQ5 (what I just got), X3/X5 with Sport package, EX/FX, and maybe even an RX F-Sport. That’s playing fast and loose with size classes though. The Macan is big on the outside but pretty tiny on the inside – one of the deal breakers for me personally.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        My parents just got an Escape after testing the Rav4 and CR-V. They said that the Mazda was the best driver of them all, very car like – quick, agile. The deciding factor was the Ford came with memory seats (Titanium edition aka fully loaded), the others did not. However I believe the ’16 CR-V does, but they were looking at ’15 models.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Ditto.

        The CX-5 (best handling) and then the Escape (not as good handling as the CX-5 but available with more power) – I’d also throw in the new Tucson into the mix as well, primarily for the sleek sheetmetal.

        Nothing about the CR-V stands out, but at the same time, the CR-V doesn’t really do anything wrong.

        And if one wants a compact crossover primarily to serve as a family-duty vehicle, the CR-V offers the best utility/room without having to go up a whole segment or even half a segment (Edge, Santa Fe Sport, Sorento, Murano).

        Can totally see why the CR-V is the choice as the “family” CUV in the compact segement (which is probably why we are hearing talk of the next gen CR-V getting even roomier and adding a small 3rd row).

        And it’s very likely that the sales of the Accord have been hurt by the increase in sales of the CR-V as sedan owners tend to drop down a size segment when they switch over to crossovers – so more Accord owners switching to the CR-V than the Pilot.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Yea I am thinking an MK7 GTI will be my next ride as well. That’s a bummer though.

      What about the next class up? RDX? Q5? How do used ones compare?

    • 0 avatar

      Can you pop-up to a QX50? Because it’s the poor man’s Macan IMO. It may be an old design, but the interior stands up well, and its one of the few ‘affordable’ RWD CUV options out there, plus it has a fantastic V6 as standard. The updated one (new this year) has an elongated platform which offers more rear seat space. They’re also fantastic value used, if slightly ugly.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        I am a big FM platform fan… that gas mileage is brutal though. I want something that will be in shooting range of my wife’s Rabbit which is probably getting like 22-23 MPG average (dismal for its size). All the Nissan VQ 5 passenger SUVs would work if not for that. Eh maybe we will just go that route anyway. Murano, EX, FX, they are all great values outside of their thirst. Wifey’s commute is pretty short so it might not be that big of a deal.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          You’d be at 18-20 depending how she drives with an FM car anyway. Not that big of a difference. My car is as heavy or heavier than a Murano and EX and I get 18-19 in 90% town driving at 40mph, short trips of 3 miles each way on commute.

          I end up filling up once a month. It just doesn’t matter enough.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            I averaged 19-22 over a ~35 mile each way commute in my Z depending on the weather. My driving style is generally spot on with Fuelly estimates and the VQ CUVs are in the ~19MPG range. A little steep, though gas is cheap down here.

          • 0 avatar

            Exactly, CoreyDL…I help people (lots of retirees) buy cars and they fret about fuel economy but only put 10,000kms on their cars a year. At that point, the difference between a 3.5 Infiniti and 2.4 Accord is just not really large enough to matter when you account for more significant costs like insurance, etc.

        • 0 avatar

          The 2011+ EX35 got the 7-speed which, especially on the highway, offered some significant improvements. I agree, for its size, its not great, but they are otherwise lovely to drive. I prefer the size of an EX, since I’m but one person with no kids, but the FX could make a lot more sense for you.

          A T6 XC70 is my ideal next car, but reality and superior used value means the EX is the more likely purchase for me.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Very few enthusiast’s choices, secret or otherwise, in the compact CUV segment unless you spring for a premium brand. CX-5 for handling, Escape 2.0T or Forester XT for acceleration.

      The mentioned EX/QX50 is basically a slightly taller G37, but with even less interior space. It may not be tall enough for your wife.

    • 0 avatar
      formula m

      My parents bought a 2014 CRV and love it but it’s no poor man’s Macan. The 2016 Ford Escape with the 2.0L Ecoboost with 240hp is the closest to that on the market. Seriously fast with fwd or awd.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Aren’t they tear-your-hair-out unreliable though? Did they ever figure out how to make a transmission?

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          The Escape’s 6F35 transmission had some early issues. Most were related to shift feel and drivability. I won’t tell you that it’s the smartest transmission in the world, but it is reliable.

          That being said, the AWD system is voodoo magic. I have had zero issues with the similar, but more HD, system in my MkT, but don’t listen to Ford when they say the PTU (thing that sends power to rear wheels) fluid is a lifetime fill. There were PTU problems in the late 00s, but they are also fixed now.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    This is most impressive when you factor in that of the top selling CUV’s the CRV is one of the few (only) that does not pad retail deliveries with fleet units. I wood think if it were possible to take the fleet sales out, the margin would be much wider.

    Secondly, two of my neighbors have one of these. One I don’t talk with much, very introverted. The other is a good friend. He hates his CRV, passionately. Fortunately for him, it is his wife’s car. They took it on a road trip to California and had to stop early on and by ear plugs at Lowes for himself and wife (kids had earphones) as the stupid thing was so loud.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      My wife had the pre-facelift model. While it did nothing to interest me, it was a very good package of all the essentials at a very good price with a surprisingly spacious interior wrapped in a not-as-big feeling exterior.

      My understanding is that the facelift fixed a few of my biggest complaints: lackluster fuel economy has improved (slightly), overall engine performance improved, much better sound deadening and insulation, some interior bits cleaned up and improved.

      If I weren’t interested in cars for anything other than transportation, the upgraded CRV would be at the top of my list.

      That said, when it came time to turn in the lease, wifey was bored with it and wanted a Grand Cherokee which, outside of fuel economy, is a major step up in all aspects from the Honda. Granted, the Honda was a $26,000 vehicle and the Jeep is $41,000…

      My only issue with the Honda is that there were three major repairs during our ownership; All under warranty: heater core failed, power steering rack was replaced, and two days before it was due to be turned in (at 35,850 of 36,000 miles on the lease…) the driveshaft to the rear cracked and was replaced. I was a bit surprised by these failures (because…Honda!), but then again my friend’s Odyssey went through four (4!) transmissions during the period he owned it (though he reminds me that only 2 of those came out of his own pocket).

  • avatar
    ant

    I think that Honda should expand drive-train options.

    A FWD version with manual.

    And an AWD version with torque vectoring, equipped with snow tires, a modest lift, and available with both auto and manual transmissions.

    How hard would it be to build these?

    Make them EX trim.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Equinox is the best of the bunch. It’s not a segment leader in any category, but it does everything well, and it offers drama-free driving for a really good price. A local dealer in my area has a couple of fwd models listed close to $20,000.

    My sister has a 2010 Equinox (same model as the outgoing 2015). It has been a great car for her, and it’s a decent driving experience as far as compact CUVs go.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      “Equinox is the best of the bunch”

      No. I can think of at least 5 compact CUVs I like better. Escape, CX-5, CR-V, Rav-4, Forrester. Now, in terms of value, the ‘Nox is up there. You can get them cheap.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      Yeah, sorry. Don’t see the Equinox anywhere near “the best of the bunch”

    • 0 avatar

      I agree w/TW5. Our 2011 LTZ rides much better than the neighbors’ 2013 Escape Titanium. We like the room and it handles well for being a CUV.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The Equinox is bigger and heavier than most of the segment. That means better ride isolation and a bit more room at the expense of poor city fuel economy and poor dynamics.

      The interior is also just plain out of date at this point. A new one is coming soon and it’s about time.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        The problem is that once you compare the Equinox to vehicles like the Edge and Murano, which are about the same size, the ‘Nox looks even more sad.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        agreed – the ‘Nox as most Chevy models have class-leading or near-class leading rides.

        Yes, the interior is outdated, but not that much worse than some of the newer competition

        The biggest issue is probably it’s poor fuel economy.

        The next ‘Nox should be a lot better all around.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I guess ultimately I don’t really care about the CR-V. To me, it’s the CUV version of a Honda Element. For many, a good car, practical, but far from being attractive. This thing is in desperate need of a restyle.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      It’s just been restyled. This is the new, 2012 model, with a high belt line, raked windshield, side windows that get small in the back, and down-sloping roof in the rear. If they restyled it any more, it would be a 4-door coupe, and that’s not practical.

      Seriously, if you’re a Honda fan, you know Honda uses a 6-7 year cycle with a front/rear clip refresh in between. The 2016 has been refreshed, so you won’t see a restyle (next generation) until 2018. That’s just how they (and most other makers) roll, so forget about a restyle every 3-4 years, nobody does that anymore, except “premium” small production makers.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    …yawn…

    I’m sorry, was someone talking about CUVs?

  • avatar
    stuki

    Doesn’t surprise me. It’s not my kind of car (too big and clumsy to be a satisfying drive, too small to sleep in stretched out), but it is fantastically good at being what it sets out to be. Kind of like an E30 BMW or a Prius, just for a different set of priorities.

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