With as many crossovers as each automaker sells anymore, it’s a wonder how any of them got by without them. Then you remember that the crossover is simply an evolution of the SUV. And SUVs sold in gangbusters volumes throughout the 1990s and before gas prices skyrocketed in the 2000s.
October is generally a slower month than the hot season, and it shows. While sales are down in comparison to August and September, October was still bountiful for most automakers. And crossover sales were still way up over last year. Last month, the brand new 2013 Ford Escape made a surprise leap to the head of the pack, despite having gone through a few teething problems with early recalls. Would it repeat its first place finish for October? Read on to find out.
10. Ford Edge (8,406/105,393 YTD)
The first victim of slowing sales was the Ford Edge, slipping from eighths place to tenth, as competitors overtook its old rank among sales. Of course, it doesn’t help that with the fall slowdown, Ford saw 2,300 fewer takers for its midsize crossover than the month before. Year over year, it’s down 9 percent, having sold 9,161 Edges in October 2011. But it’s still doing all right for itself, up on the year by 5 percent. Last year at this time, the Ford Edge hadn’t yet cracked 100,000 sales; now it has.
9. Nissan Rogue (8,436/118,199 YTD)
Nissan’s compact Rogue also took a tumble, falling back from sixth place to ninth this month. A small, nimble crossover, the Rogue is way down on the month, selling 16 percent fewer than this time last year. Additionally, Nissan sold just over 12,000 Rogues last month. October has been quite the drop off. We wonder what kind of numbers went to fleets and rental agencies, who do most of their buying in the summer months.
8. Honda Pilot (8,828/94,116 YTD)
While up two spots from September, the Honda Pilot is still down in overall sales some from September. That’s to be expected. What isn’t is the massive deficit in sales the Honda Pilot experienced in comparison to last October, down by nearly 3,500 units. Last year at this time, Honda had just come back online completely after facing the Japanese earthquake in April. This year, there’s a much different excuse: Far better competition than there used to be.
7. Toyota Highlander (8,909/99,390 YTD)
The Toyota Highlander retains its seventh-place position among crossovers, gaining some ground from where it was last year, up 11 percent on the month and 23 percent on the year. That’s definitely supply-related, as the Japanese natural disasters hit Toyota the hardest. It’s also because the Toyota Highlander is a pretty decent crossover, with a soft, comfortable ride and space for up to seven passengers. We’re fans of it.
6. Kia Sorento (9,615/97,779 YTD)
The Kia Sorento was one of the automaker’s first 100,000-vehicle sellers, and and it looks to be heading that way again with two months left in the year. With powerful engines, good fuel economy, a stylish package, and a plenty of features at a good price, the Sorento has been a hard bargain to pass up. When we drove one earlier this year, we found merit in its value, but questioned the materials used in its cabin and its choppy ride. Now, Kia is lowering fuel economy numbers, starting in November, after the company was found to have errors in its testing procedures. We’ll see how sales fare with the wave of bad publicity that’s sure to follow.
5. Toyota RAV4 (10,936/145,103 YTD)
Again, Toyota is reaping the benefit of a reinvigorated supply of vehicles to sell, with the RAV4 up 2 percent on the month and a whopping 36 percent on the year. Despite its replacement rumored to be showing up this month at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the current Toyota RAV4 has been, and continues to be, an enormous success for Japan’s largest automaker. It holds its position from the previous month in terms of crossover sales.
4. Ford Explorer (14,220/132,023 YTD)
The Ford Explorer bucks the trend for crossover sales, moving a few more during a cold month than it did at the end of summer. Of course, the Explorer’s popularity has not yet waned, despite a tepid at best media reception to it. What do we know about cars, right? Powered by a 3.5-liter V-6, an optional 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder as an upgrade, and now joined by the turbocharged V-6 Explorer Sport, we don’t anticipate its popularity slowing down much, as the Explorer has always been a popular offering. We just question what its upcoming competition, such as the fantastic 2013 Nissan Pathfinder, is going to do to the three-row crossover segment as a whole.
3. Chevrolet Equinox (15,387/182,249 YTD)
Chevrolet hit a sweet spot with the Equinox, as it’s not quite large enough to be a midsizer, but it’s not as compromised as a compact. Going on a size-for-size basis, the Equinox is slightly larger inside than the Chevrolet Trailblazer it replaced several years ago, and that vehicle was considered a midsizer. Funny how definitions change with the times. Regardless, the 2013 Chevrolet Equinox has already hit dealer lots, the four-cylinder model retained while the V-6 got a major upgrade to 3.6 liters. We think it’ll do all right for itself.
2. Ford Escape (19,832/219,907 YTD)
Last month’s champion, the Ford Escape, lost its top spot to another top seller in the compact crossover segment. But it’s still up over the significantly incentivized previous-generation Escape. That’s a win for Ford, who has for too long relied on dumping cash on the hood of cars to move them off lots. It helps that Ford is selling a product that’s worth it; the Escape is the sort of crossover that Ford ought to be making, with efficient, high-tech engines, plenty of premium features, modern styling, and an an alright value. And it’s not like the Escape lost the top spot to a slouch or anything.
1. Honda CR-V (20,205/233,586 YTD)
And here we are at the number-one spot, the 2012 Honda CR-V, newly redesigned for this model year. It’s up 5 percent on the month, but more importantly, 30 percent on the year. That’s a more than 50,000-vehicle uptick, annihilating the competition on the sales sheet. Honda has enhanced production output, meeting a rabid level of demand. And it has an all-new crossover to fuel it. And fortunately for Honda, it’s actually pretty decent. We’ll see if Honda will be able to retain its title into the new year. First, it has to survive the rest of the year against a rapidly gaining Escape.