For the first time in many months, there's been a major shakeup in the pecking order of SUV sales. With most of the sales activity in the compact SUV segment, the sector is closely watched by industry analysts. The Honda CR-V once again overtook the Ford Escape, with a more than 4000-unit lead.
But that wasn't the only shakeup in the segment. After enjoying a long-running comfortable third-place spot, the Chevrolet Equinox was knocked down to fourth by a surprisingly strong performance from the Toyota RAV4. Further down the list, the Nissan Rogue enjoys a strong July, with a 28.8-percent gain, and Jeep dominates the midsize segment with the Grand Cherokee and Wrangler both enjoying a comfortable lead over the Ford Explorer and Edge for the month.
Honda CR-V - 27,226, Up 32.5 Percent
The champagne is probably flowing in Torrance and Tokyo, as this is a major, though possibly fleeting, victory for Honda's small SUV. The CR-V and Escape have long been in a two-way race for the title of best-selling SUV in America. This time, Honda took the title, but things could change in the months ahead.
Ford Escape - 22,343, Up 3.6 Percent
After enjoying months of sales supremacy over the CR-V, the Escape's showroom archrival finally pulls out a win over Dearborn's compact SUV. There are still several months left in 2013, and Ford believes 2013 sales totals may favor the Escape. Time will tell.
Toyota RAV4 - 19,538, Up 28.1 Percent
After being in a reliable fourth place for much of the year, the Toyota RAV4 had a strong July, toppling the long-running Chevrolet Equinox from its third-place spot. Consumers seem to be responding well to Toyota's simplified formula of just one engine, not missing the power of last year's V-6.
Chevrolet Equinox - 18,507, Down 7.0 Percent
Enjoying a comfortable third-place spot for much of 2013, the Equinox was bumped off its perch by the Toyota RAV4, with unit sales down 7 percent from 2012. A new Equinox may be coming for the 2015 model year, reportedly smaller than the current model, and closer in size to the segment sales leaders.
Nissan Rogue - 16,992, Up 28.8 Percent
Despite being one of the older compact SUV designs on the market, the Nissan Rogue continues to be a favorite with small SUV shoppers, with a strong 28.8-percent gain in July. An all-new Rogue is around the corner, and could become a formidable player in the segment, potentially even threatening the CR-V and Escape's duopoly at the top of the charts.
Jeep Grand Cherokee - 15,019, Up 30 Percent
With the 2014 model in dealer showrooms in abundance, customers are responding favorably to the updates, headlined by the addition of a new eight-speed transmission bringing improved fuel economy, new styling inside and out, and the availability of a turbodiesel option. Sales were up a big 30 percent for July.
Jeep Wrangler - 14,404, Up 18 Percent
Not quite the chart-buster its suburban sibling was this month, the Wrangler nonetheless enjoyed a respectable 18 percent gain for the month, outselling the mainstream Ford Explorer by more than 1500 units.
Ford Explorer - 12,742, Up 12.6 Percent
Not quite the crushing sales behemoth it was in the 1990s, the Explorer fell behind the surprisingly strong Jeeps, but still enjoyed a 12.6-percent year-over-year gain for July.
Toyota Highlander - 10,908, Up 2.2 Percent
The 2014 Toyota Highlander has been shown, but won't hit showrooms until late fall. It's possible some potential buyers are holding off until the new model arrives, but Toyota will likely offer rebates and financing deals to entice buyers to buy 2013s in the meantime.
Ford Edge - 10,541, Up 14.9 Percent
The Edge drops one place to take tenth for July, but still showed a 14.9-percent year-over-year gain for the month. The two-row midsizer continues to find customers who find the three-row Explorer too big, and the compact Escape too small.