The Honda CR-V once again tops SUV sales in April, although total volume dropped off by more than 7000 units from March's total. Last month's third-place Chevy Equinox knocked off Ford's soon-to-be-replaced Escape to take second place, and the Ford Explorer jumped from eighth to fifth, as well as posting an absolute sales gain over March, one of the few models this month to pull off the feat. The Toyota Highlander takes the tenth-place spot for April, narrowly out-sold by the Kia Sorento. The Nissan Rogue, which posted a solid fifth-place last month, dropped off the list entirely, with sales totaling only about half of its remarkable 16,972 units sold in March.
1. Honda CR-V - 23,627, Up 9.0 Percent
For the fourth consecutive month in 2012, the Honda CR-V tops the list of best-selling SUVs. Year-over-year, it posted a nine-percent gain over April 2011, but sales were well off the strong March 2012 performance of 30,868, narrowing its lead over its next-closest competitor from nearly 8000 units to only a little more than 5000.
2. Chevrolet Equinox - 18,282, Up 7.1 Percent
The Equinox moved up a notch in April, ahead of the Ford Escape. Sales were up 7.1 percent year-over-year, but down 1782 units from last month's sales numbers. Regardless, it topped the Escape by more than 1200 units for the month. But Chevy shouldn't be passing the cigars just yet. The all-new 2013 Escape is just a few months away from arriving in showrooms, and its fresh design, all-new powertrains and luxurious appointments could prove to be a serious rival against the slightly larger Equinox.
3. Ford Escape - 16,986, Down 20 Percent
The Escape lost ground to the Equinox this month, but an all-new model just around the corner could change the scenario significantly in the next few months. Some attribute the current model's enduring success to its square, truck-like styling in a field of jellybean-shaped rivals, but having recently driven the 2013 model, we think the new Escape's vastly improved refinement, fuel economy and technical sophistication will win plenty of converts.
4. Toyota RAV4 - 15,196, Down 2.5 Percent
Like the Escape, the Toyota RAV4 is due for a makeover, and we've heard some significant changes are in store for the 2013 model. Sadly for fans of the exterior-mounted spare and its "Skittles" body-color hard cover, the new model will likely have an underbody-mounted spare, or forgo a spare tire altogether in the name of fuel economy. The Nissan Rogue, which was only a few hundred units off from the RAV4's sales in March, has dropped way down on the April sales totals, making the RAV4 the second best-selling Japanese-brand SUV.
5. Ford Explorer - 13,419, Up 6.6 Percent
The Explorer was edged-out by its two-row stablemate (no pun intended) last month, but made a big comeback in April, besting the Edge's total by almost 3000 units. An anomaly among this month's top 10 list, the Explorer's April sales topped March's by more than 200 units, even though its year-over-year percentage gain over April 2011 was less than one percent.
6. Jeep Wrangler - 12,184, Up 35 Percent
The defiantly traditional Wrangler continues to be a strong performer for Jeep, posting a phenomenal 35-percent year-over-year gain, likely helped significantly by the addition of the Pentastar V-6 for 2012. Total sales volume was off by only 373 units from March.
7. Jeep Grand Cherokee - 11,834, Up 21 Percent
The Grand Cherokee dropped one notch to seventh place in April, and although posting a solid double-digit year-over-year gain from April 2011, came up 2235 units short of March's sales performance. But the Grand Cherokee proves there's still a market for a "sweet spot" model that combines the refinement of a crossover with the off-road capability of a true sport-utility.
8. Ford Edge - 10,520, Up 12.4 Percent
Down one place from its seventh-place ranking in March, the Edge showed a modest double-digit year-over-year gain for April, but was down more than 3500 units for the month. But as the Explorer's surprisingly strong performance this month proves, it's a fluid sales race in the SUV market.
9. Kia Sorento - 9610, Down 19.9 Percent
The Sorento has been on and off this top 10 list, and this month, it narrowly edged out the Toyota Highlander to take the ninth-place spot. The Sorento has transformed from the role of bit-player to a solid seller for Kia. The crossover is the brand's third best-selling model for April, behind the blockbuster Optima sedan and perennially popular Soul hatch.
10. Toyota Highlander - 9352, Up 5.2 Percent
The Highlander hangs on to the tenth spot for April, although some of the other players have changed. Year-over-year, the Highlander posted a modest 5.2 percent gain, but total volume was off 1692 units from March's sales total.