October was a solid sales month for SUVs, with many brands showing double-digit year-over-year gains and one model showing a phenomenal triple-digit gain. The Honda CR-V edged out the Ford Escape by a narrow 301-unit margin for the month, with both models showing a double-digit year-over-year October gain. The Toyota RAV4 knocked off the long-running third place Chevrolet Equinox by a few hundred units.
Among the mid-sizers, the Jeep Grand Cherokee took the top spot, followed by the Ford Explorer. The Subaru Forester surged a remarkable 137 percent to take eighth place in this month's ranking with 12,581 units.
Honda CR-V – 22,554, Up 11.6 Percent
Honda's all-conquering compact crossover once again took the sales crown for October, just a few hundred units ahead of archrival Ford Escape. Right now, it's looking like the CR-V will probably take the 2013 cumulative sales crown, but an especially strong November or December for the Escape could put it over the top.
Ford Escape – 22,253, Up 12.2 Percent
As is usually the case, the Ford Escape was almost neck and neck with the Honda CR-V, cumulative year-to-date sales are also very close between the two models, making the annual sales total race a real competition between the two. Unlike the few variations offered by the CR-V, the Escape offers the choice of three different engines, and multiple trim levels.
Toyota RAV4 – 17,590, Up 60.8 Percent
The Chevrolet Equinox has long held the third-place spot in SUV sales, but the RAV4 knocked it off its perch once again, by a little over 400 units for the month. The RAV4 follows the Honda CR-V's simpler is better strategy, with a single powertrain with the choice of front or all-wheel drive, and just a few trim levels.
Chevrolet Equinox – 17,163, Up 11.5 Percent
It may have been knocked down to third place, but sales for the Chevrolet Equinox are still up 11.5 percent year over year, and put it comfortably ahead of any of the midsize SUVs in overall sales. On the larger end of the spectrum of compact SUVs, it's within a few inches of Ford's Edge two-row mid-sizer.
Jeep Grand Cherokee – 14,263, Up 20 Percent
Improvements made for the 2014 model year for the Grand Cherokee have struck a chord with customers, who continue to snap up Jeep's acclaimed mid-sizer at a healthy pace. Year-to-year October sales are up 20 percent. The arrival of the EcoDiesel in the next few months should help the Grand Cherokee further strengthen its standing.
Ford Explorer – 13,584, Up 0.3 Percent
The Explorer was up a modest 0.3 percent for October, well behind the pace set by the Grand Cherokee, but it remains Ford's second-best-selling SUV behind the Escape.
Nissan Rogue – 12,919, Up 53.1 Percent
Sales of the Rogue were up a healthy 53.1 percent, as the 2014 model joins the outgoing model in Nissan showrooms, which will continue to be sold into 2014 as the Rogue Select. This two-model approach could help the Rogue move up the list in the months ahead.
Subaru Forester – 12,581, Up 137 Percent
Our just-announced SUV of the Year is a winner not just with our judges, but with consumers, too. Sales are up an outstanding 137 percent over last year. Major improvements were made to the 2014 model in fuel economy and technology.
Jeep Wrangler – 11,780, Up 4 Percent
The Wrangler continues to defy critics that claim the traditional SUV is dead. The availability of two- and four-door models increases its appeal to a broad swath of the SUV buying public, and the last update gave the Wrangler an impressive level of refinement that makes it suitable as a daily driver. It's not the most fuel-efficient choice on the market, but it's by far the most capable off-roader on the market below $50,000.
Toyota Highlander – 9323, Up 4.6 Percent
The Highlander comes in 10th this month, pulling ahead of the Kia Sorento as well as the Subaru Outback, the sometimes top-10-list contender. A new 2014 model is in showrooms with improved third-row space and more aggressive styling, and finally, the addition of a six-speed automatic with the V-6 model.