America's Best-Selling SUVs and Crossovers Through 2017 Q3: Toyota RAV4 Primed to Break Honda CR-V Streak

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
We’re committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using links in our articles. Learn more here
america s best selling suvs and crossovers through 2017 q3 toyota rav4 primed to

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’s 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. 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.

RankSUV/Crossover2017 YTD2016 YTD% Change RAV4312,230260,39519.9% Rogue/Rogue Sport296,927241,61922.9% CR-V280,933263,4936.6% Escape233,878234,764-0.4% Equinox212,735173,73622.4% Explorer199,034188,4255.6% Grand Cherokee181,245153,92617.7% Highlander158,196127,04524.5% Wrangler150,142148,6271.0% Outback140,491126,42611.1%

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.

[Image: Toyota, Honda]

Timothy Cain
Timothy Cain

More by Timothy Cain

Join the conversation
2 of 24 comments
  • Scathma Scathma on Oct 19, 2017

    Any chance we could see a chart for the whole segment?

  • Hamish42 Hamish42 on Oct 19, 2017

    I don't understand Honda's ethics in offering a comprehensive safety (nanny) package to upscale buyers and selling a less safe car to people at the entry level. If you can easily provide such a package in a nearly identical car you have no business selling cars which are less safe.

  • Analoggrotto Where is this now? Dead. The Kia Soul rules this segment as Kia rules every segment, and Genesis above it rules the luxury realm.
  • Oberkanone Nope. $8 grand for $120k miles economy hatchback is too much. Over 10 years old. Condition does not change the result.
  • Master Baiter ____________ doesn't want electric _____________.
  • MaintenanceCosts Too bad it's not a Sport; the styling on those is a bit nicer. There's a first-gen Fit Sport with some subtle mods (lowering, perfectly chosen wheels, tint) that used to live in my neighborhood and it may be the best-looking subcompact I've ever seen.
  • Oberkanone BMW, Ford, Honda, and Volkswagen have different fleet emissions rules than Stellantis and other manufacturers. This is unfair trade practice and California is the leader of this criminal conspiracy. Unified emissions regulations are needed. Disjointed patchwork of CARB and Federal emissions states results in harm to our economy inefficient manufacturing. CARB emissions regulations violate the Commerce Clause by engaging in extraterritorial regulation.