In the ongoing horse race between Honda and Ford for the title of best-selling SUV, the Escape grabbed the title back from Honda for February, outselling its archrival by more than 2000 units. But the biggest February surprise was the second-place spot, with the Chevrolet Equinox taking second for the first time in recent memory, outselling the Toyota RAV4 by more than 5000 units and pulling ahead of the CR-V by 828 units.
The perennially popular Jeep Wrangler barely misses making the Top 10 list, with its little brother Cherokee stealing the thunder for February, posting even higher sales number than it did in January. The Nissan Rogue also pulled ahead of the Toyota RAV4 by 746 units.
Ford Escape – 23,145, Down 4.0 Percent
Month to month, the CR-V and Escape trade places on the sales chart, but for February, the margin was a fairly significant 2386 units. The status may flip-flop in March, but there's no denying the CR-V and Escape are the models to beat in SUV sales.
Chevrolet Equinox – 21,587, Up 4.5 Percent
The Equinox scored a major upset in February, outselling the Honda CR-V by more than 800 units, and getting closer than it's ever been to the Escape's first-place performance. If you add in sales of the Equinox's sister vehicle, the GMC Terrain, the duo would comfortably occupy the first-place spot by a margin of more than 7000 units.
Honda CR-V – 20,759, Up 0.4 Percent
Despite being behind the Escape in overall volume for February, it actually posted a modest year-over-year February percentage gain, whereas the Escape declined slightly. Expect warmer weather to heat up CR-V sales in the coming months.
Nissan Rogue – 17,197, Up 72.6 Percent
Another upset in the usual SUV pecking order was the Nissan Rogue knocking off the Toyota RAV4 with a 72.6-percent February sales surge. Remember the Rogue is selling in two different models, with the outgoing style still sold as the Rogue Select, and the all-new model bringing in shoppers with its sharp styling and three-row capability.
Toyota RAV4 – 16,451, Up 23.4 Percent
The RAV4 still rules Toyota's SUV sales charts, but got knocked down several notches from its usual third- or fourth-place ranking by surprisingly resurgent performances by Chevrolet and Nissan. Despite dropping on the charts by a couple of notches, it still managed a 23.4-percent year-over-year February gain.
Ford Explorer – 12,921, Down 22.1 Percent
The Explorer and Grand Cherokee trade places on the February chart, and we have a paradoxical scenario of the Explorer showing a double-digit year-over-year decline, yet still coming out ahead of the Jeep in overall volume. The Explorer is still solidly the second-best selling Ford SUV behind the Escape.
Jeep Grand Cherokee – 12,691, Up 34 Percent
The Grand Cherokee came just a few hundred units short of the Explorer's February total, but nonetheless showed a strong 34 percent year-over-year February gain. Most dealerships should now have EcoDiesel models in inventory, and despite the substantial price premium, the Grand Cherokee diesel has an unmatched combination of capability and fuel-efficiency in its class.
Toyota Highlander – 12,052, Up 29.5 Percent
February brought a respectable eighth-place ranking for the Highlander, with a 29.5 percent year-over-year February gain. The 2014 redesign with a much-larger third row likely appealed to practicality-minded family shoppers.
Jeep Cherokee – 11,795
The Cherokee continues its hot streak with a solid February performance of 11,795 units, up from its January performance of 10,505. Mixed critical reviews don't seem to be hurting the Cherokee's popularity with customers, who appear to be embracing the fashion-forward SUV.
Ford Edge – 10,965, Up 13.2 Percent
The Edge barely took the tenth-place spot ahead of the Subaru Forester, which posted a remarkable 95-percent year-over-year February gain. The Edge's 13.2-percent gain for February is respectable for the model, and gives Ford the distinction of having three out of 10 models on this month's list.