For the first time in many months, there are some major upsets on the top 10 SUV list. And we're not just talking about the perennial battle between the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape, although there is news on that front as well. The Toyota Highlander, a regular fixture on the list in the 10th-place spot, is now well off this list, with the #10 spot occupied by a robust performance by the Subaru Forester, which surged a remarkable 89.2 percent year over year, with a sales total of 13,163.
Although Toyota's midsizer got bumped off the list, the RAV4 had a strong August, surging 49.8 percent to take fourth place behind the third-place Chevrolet Equinox, which also had a double-digit gain for the month of 23.9 percent.
Unfortunately for Ford, that puts Chevy just a little more than 1600 units away from its second-place spot. In months past, the gap between the CR-V and Escape has been thin, but not this month. The CR-V outsold the Escape by almost 8000 units, a decisive victory in anyone's book. Let's take a look at the rest of this month's top 10 SUV sales rundown.
Honda CR-V - 34,654, Up 45.1 Percent
The champagne and after-hours cocktails must be flowing freely in Torrance and Tokyo, with a resounding 34,654 CR-Vs sold for August. That's the best sales performance in the compact crossover's history, beating the previous record set in March 2012 of 30,868.
Ford Escape - 26,714, Down 5.2 Percent
August 2013 was a humbling one for Ford, with its decisive sales thumping by the CR-V, but don't feel too badly for Dearborn. The Escape still holds a strong second place, although with its drop and the Chevy Equinox's gain, the prospect emerges of a potential second-place upset. We have a feeling the Escape will rally again in the months ahead.
Chevrolet Equinox - 25,073, Up 23.9 Percent
The Equinox once again takes its rightful third-place spot, pulling ahead of the Toyota RAV4, which toppled it from third place in July. With a gap of only 1641 units from the Ford in August, the potential exists for the Equinox to take second place, but based on history, we'd still say it's a long-shot.
Toyota RAV4 - 23,502, Up 49.8 Percent
It looks like Kaley Cuoco is still working her marketing magic with Toyota's compact crossover, with a nearly 50-percent year-over-year surge for August, and sales well above the 20,000 unit mark. Also, Toyota's single-powertrain strategy doesn't look like it's hurting the RAV4's popularity, with the combination of the 2.5L I-4 and six-speed combination proving capable of fulfilling most buyers' needs.
Jeep Grand Cherokee - 17,976, Up 40 Percent
With the 2014 models finally in ample supply in dealerships, customers are warming to the substantial updates given to Jeep's midsize standard-bearer. There was no breakdown in sales for the model by powertrain, and based on a preliminary online search, the EcoDiesel models are still hard to come by, if they're even starting to roll into dealerships at all. Regardless, it's the best sales month for the Grand Cherokee in a decade.
Nissan Rogue - 17,273, Up 36.8 Percent
Nissan's compact crossover once again made a strong showing in August, and with an all-new 2014 model just around the corner with some substantial updates (that we know about, but can't yet talk about) look for the Rogue to continue to climb up the charts in the months ahead.
Jeep Wrangler - 15,825, Up 19 Percent
One of the few "authentic" SUVs on this list, and arguably the originator of the breed, the Wrangler continues to win fans with its straightforward, no-nonsense personality and packaging. Jeep continues to roll out various packages and trims to keep consumer interest up.
Honda Pilot - 14,877, Up 40.2 Percent
The Honda Pilot has blipped onto the top 10 radar once or twice over the last year, but for August, it has the distinction of topping Ford's usually strong-selling Explorer by more than 700 units. Not the most exciting-to-drive option in the segment, the Pilot nonetheless impresses with its practicality, efficiency and refinement, a formula it seems a lot of consumers are looking for.
Ford Explorer - 14,148, Up 7.4 Percent
With the Edge falling off the bottom of the list, Ford shares the distinction of having two models on the top 10 list with Honda and Jeep. Although up more than seven percent, the modest gain wasn't enough to shake the Pilot's robust double-digit surge for August. With several months still left in the fourth quarter, we can safely predict that the Explorer may climb the chart a few notches in the months ahead.
Subaru Forester - 13,163, Up 89.2 Percent
This month, the 10th-place spot is taken by the Forester, a distinction it has shared with its wagonish sibling Outback at various points this year. The Forester's combination of ruggedness, room, and features is a hit with customers, even against more stylish, more affordable rivals. Like the CR-V, August was a record-setter for the Forester.