It’s a refrain the industry has been singing for nearly 20 years now: Carlike crossovers are dominating SUV sales and slowly killing off their gas-guzzling, truck-based competition. For proof, look at any of our sales reports, such as the one compiled here. On this list of the 10 bestselling SUVs on the market, 9 out of 10 are of a unibody design. Only the Jeep Wrangler has a traditional body-on-frame layout.
With crossovers firmly entrenched in consumers’ shopping lists, here are the 10 bestselling SUVs on the market in March 2016. Of note, the first four SUVs on this list often appear on the podium, and this month’s sales were no different.
Toyota RAV4: 29,045, up 15 percent
The RAV4 often appears in the Number One spot on this list. The recent redesign for the 2016 model year brought a Hybrid model that was both faster and more efficient than the conventional RAV4, and that vehicle no doubt has helped the SUV win the pocketbooks of small families, DINKs, and young people everywhere. We appreciate its smart styling and modern interior.
| 004 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
Ford Escape: 28,521, up 8 percent
With a sales surge compared to March 2015,
the Ford Escape takes the second spot on the list (and misses the first) by a relatively narrow margin. The Escape will be refreshed for the 2017 model year, bringing even more technology to the small crossover, including adaptive cruise control, active parking assistants, and the latest iteration of Sync, including the Sync Connect mobile app. That model will likely boost Escape sales.
| 2016 Ford Escape Front Three Quarter 01
Nissan Rogue: 27,713, up 1 percent
The Nissan Rogue is one of the smallest SUVs available with a third-row seat, so if your small family occasionally needs to drive the carpool, the Rogue is a good, inexpensive option. Although we’re not fans of the CVT transmission, the Rogue’s spacious interior, parsimonious fuel economy, and mini-Murano styling win it some fans in our office, as well as on the sales floor.
| 2016 Nissan Rogue Front Three Quarter
Honda CR-V: 26,730, down 3 percent
The Honda CR-V took a bit of a sales slip for March 2016, and it’s been awhile since it let all three of its major competition beat it out. It was the segment’s top seller in 2015, though, and its sales of 26,730 are still nothing to sneeze at.
| 2014 Honda CR V Front Right Side
Ford Explorer: 21,605, up 4 percent
The Explorer is the bestselling midsize SUV on the market, a title, Ford keenly points out, that has been a hallmark of the nameplate since it revolutionized the SUV market in the 1990s. The three-row crossover provides plenty of space, available all-wheel drive, and a variety of naturally aspirated and turbocharged engines to give each owner his or her ideal balance of economy and power.
| 2016 Ford Explorer Limited EcoBoost Front Htree Quarter In Motion 02
Chevrolet Equinox: 21,480, down 12 percent
Chevrolet’s compact Equinox is aging well, if its sales are to be believed. Introduced in 2010, the Equinox was one of the first of the small SUVs to break the 30-mpg mark, hitting 32 mpg on the highway. Although competition has caught up (and even surpassed) the Equinox’s fuel economy ratings, many buyers still appreciate the recently refreshed Equinox’s styling and twin-cowl interior.
| 2016 Chevrolet Equinox LTZ Front Three Quarters
Jeep Cherokee: 19,170, up 1 percent
The Jeep Cherokee is a key part of the brand’s revival, helping it hit more than 1,000,000 worldwide sales
for the first time ever in 2014. Traditional SUV fans bemoan the Cherokee’s midsize-car roots, although hardcore off-roaders will appreciate the Trailhawk model’s standard low-range transfer case, lifted suspension, and capable terrain management systems.
| 2016 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Front Three Quarters
Jeep Grand Cherokee: 19,170, up 1 percent
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is technically a crossover, featuring unibody construction and an independent suspension. However, bring almost any four-wheel-drive Grand to a trailhead and you’ll be impressed. Not only that but the Grand Cherokee is also a refined luxury SUV, giving midsize German luxury sedans a run for their country-club money. If you can find a better midsize off-road SUV, buy it.
| 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Side In Motion
Jeep Wrangler: 17,710, up 1 percent
The Jeep Wrangler, as we noted before, is the only traditional SUV on this list. Buyers of the legendary Wrangler appreciate its Pacific-theater styling, droptop fun, and rugged driving demeanor that compensate for its slightly unrefined highway manners. Its unassuming attitude is perfect for both outdoorsy adventurers and urban fashionistas.
| 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 75th Anniversary Edition Front Three Quarters
Toyota Highlander: 14,949, up 6.2 percent
As Toyota’s primary family SUV, the Highlander offers three rows of seats, three engines, and a bottom-dollar price tag of less than $30,000. The available Highlander Hybrid should entice families who’ve grown out of their Prius V, for those whose budget allows for it. For all others, a conventional gas V-6 and available gas I-4 provide economical transport as well.
| 2014 Toyota Highlander Limited AWD Front Three Quarters