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September 2012: Top 10 Best-Selling Crossovers

By Jacob Brown | October 04, 2012
Crossovers have some pretty well-established favorites among their ranks, and the segment that evolved from the sport utility craze of the 1990s and 2000s is still very much alive, albeit in a more fuel-efficient and family friendly package. In compiling the list of the Top 10 Best-Selling Crossovers for September 2012, some remnants of the truck-based SUV segment placed among the ranks--namely the Jeep Wrangler and Grand Cherokee--but were eliminated as they're practically lone wolfs competing in their segments. If you want a Jeep, you're most likely going to get a Jeep. It's not a vehicle that lends itself well to cross-shopping, lest you're still looking for another off-roader like the Toyota 4Runner or a more expensive Land Rover. With almost no surprises at all, here are the 10 best-selling crossovers for last month. Paragraphimage 10. Honda Pilot (10,045/YTD 85,288) A perennial favorite among full-size crossovers, the Honda Pilot occupies the tenth spot among last month's favorite crossovers. Having been around since 2009, there's not a whole lot new about the Pilot. It sells well because it's a Honda, a brand that in part built its reputation on reliability. Up 4 percent from last year, the Pilot was one of Honda's more stable products when the Japanese earthquakes cut off supplies last year. Still, it soldiers along as one of the few vehicles in its class that can carry eight passengers. Maybe that's why it's as popular as it is. Paragraphimage 9. Kia Sorento (10,066/YTD 88,164) Going on sale in the U.S. in early 2010 as a 2011 model, the Kia Sorento is starting to get a little long in the tooth, and its downward sales from this time last year show it. Still, it's hard to argue with its strengths: available seven-passenger seating; a fuel-efficient four-cylinder or 276-horsepower V-6; a ton of amenities; and a pretty good price, too. In fact, a very good price. One of the first Kias to break the 10,000-unit per month mark in the U.S., the Sorento is a vehicle we liked when we drove it, but hardly loved. Its 2014 refresh, which has already debuted in Korea, cannot come soon enough. Paragraphimage 8. Ford Edge (10,771/YTD 96,987) A solid buy for families in need of a safe, comfortable five-passenger midsize crossover, Ford Edge is ostensibly a tall, all-wheel-drive Ford Fusion. It's available with three engines: a base 3.5-liter V-6; a 2.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder; and a 305-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6. Sales are up 7 percent through September, probably indicating the beginning of the U.S.'s economic resurgence. Then again, the Ford Edge saw its best sales year ever in 2011 after being on the market for five full years. Could fleet sales be at work with this one? Perhaps your local Enterprise picked up a few last month. Paragraphimage 7. Toyota Highlander (10,927/YTD 90,481) Picking up a whopping 24 percent more sales through September when compared to 2011, the Toyota Highlander is something of a feelgood comeback story. Toyota lost much of its supplier network during last year's Japanese earthquakes and didn't start to get rolling again until about this time last year. Now, the seven-passenger crossover is trailing only our number four pick for segment supremacy. While nothing too fancy, the Toyota Highlander is one of the better vehicles in its class for hauling a brood off to school in the morning in comfort. Paragraphimage 6. Nissan Rogue (12,106/YTD 109,763) The first compact crossover to make the list, the Nissan Rogue is a straightforward, inexpensive crossover with a fairly conservative design, powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder paired exclusively to a continuously variable automatic transmission. Having already broken 100,000 sales on the year with three months left to go, we have three reasons why it's doing so well: 1) It's inoffensive and reliable; 2) Having been on sale 2008, a new one can be haggled for cheaply; and, 3) Fleet sales. Nissan doles out a fair amount of its overstock to rental car companies. With a full redesign just months away, we think Nissan dealers are giving customers quite the bargain and fleet sales reps are doing a killing, too. Paragraphimage 5. Toyota RAV4 (13,796/YTD 134,167) The Toyota RAV4's sales are up 40 percent on the year, and 80 percent compared to last September. As with the Highlander, Toyota had a dickens of a time last year due to natural disasters, but now that it's back online, Toyota is selling RAV4s as quickly as it can make them. While in its last model year before receiving a full redesign, the RAV4 has proven a solid value in the compact crossover segment, slightly bigger than most of its competition and available with a third row. In addition, the RAV4 has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder or a far-too-quick-for-its-own-good 3.5-liter V-6. Making up a small number of its sales are the RAV4 EVs, which we recently sampled. It's good, very good. Paragraphimage 4. Ford Explorer (14,049/YTD 117,803) Did you know that Nickelback is one of the best-selling rock bands in the world? What does that have to do with the Ford Explorer? Both are very popular with consumers, and both fail to impress critics. The Ford Explorer has always been a strong seller, but turning it from a truck-based SUV into a large crossover only further helped cement its popularity. One of the primary factors families in need of seven-passenger crossovers consider is safety. The Explorer is very safe. It's also pretty good-looking, too. So why do we dislike it? It's space-inefficient, feels ponderous on the road, and costs a whole lot. But some people like those kinds of things. Paragraphimage 3. Chevrolet Equinox (15,835/YTD 166,862) As American as apple pie made in Canada can be--hey, at least the engine is made in Tennessee--the Chevrolet Equinox is something of an in-betweener: not quite big enough to be a midsize crossover and not quite small enough to be a compact. Maybe that's part of its appeal. Powerful, fuel-efficient, and well-designed, the Chevrolet Equinox is a decent buy for a those who are indecisive on what he or she might want in a family vehicle, size-wise. Through 2012, sales are up 15 percent, meaning it should easily break 200,000 units by the end of the year for the first time ever, pending the apocalypse doesn't actually happen. Paragraphimage 2. Honda CR-V (22,268/YTD 213,381) If you're looking for a crossover that has already breached the 200,000 mark, look no further than the Honda CR-V. The CR-V was all-new for 2012, going on sale early this year. Still, sales have not slowed down one iota between the transition from the old body style and the new one. Besides growing a few inches in nearly every direction, sporting some new features, and getting a small boost in fuel efficiency, the CR-V is remarkably the same as it used to be: durable, a little basic, and solid. Crossover shoppers can't seem to get enough of it, with sales up 15 percent from last year. Paragraphimage 1. Ford Escape (23,148/YTD 200,075) The best-selling crossover for September is perhaps the most controversial one, too. The Ford Escape has always sold well, but it's always been a lot simpler, rebate-fed, and cheaper. Now, it's already had three recalls since going on sale just a few months ago due to complicated turbocharger ducting from its newly more complicated engine options. It's much more expensive, now topping out at nearly $40,000. And you can bet Ford's not putting much money on the hood of the Escape just yet. So why's it selling? It's new, for one. It's gotten plenty of high praise. And we're sure there are a lot of older 2012 Ford Escapes still sitting on dealer lots. Looking at how the 2013 model is doing this time next year should be a much better indicator of its popularity.
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