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The Top 3 Selling SUVs on the Market

America has long had a fascination with SUVs, and the popular rides have undergone a severe transformation over the past decade. Gas-guzzling behemoths used to own the road and occupied every inch of their lane -- but not anymore. Those types of vehicles are mostly a thing of the past, and the most popular SUVs these days are smaller and can get upwards of 25 to 30 miles per gallon, making them a very popular ride. Let's look at the cream of the crop in sales through July. 

1. Ford Escape

Ford's (NYSE: F  ) Escape tops the list with nearly 179,000 vehicles sold through July, an impressive 20.3% increase over last year. The Escape has been a huge success and is on pace to do something no other vehicle besides the F-Series has done for Ford in nine years -- break 300,000 in annual sales. It also took home the 2013 award for "Best Compact SUV for the Money" from U.S. News and World Report's Rankings and Reviews. Like the CR-V, which came in second, it handles well for a larger vehicle and gets good fuel economy even with the optional four-wheel drive. Check out how sales of the Escape have surged over the years.

Information via Automotive News DataCenter. 2013 Estimated using first half of annual sales.

2. Honda CR-V

Honda's 2013 CR-V. Photo Courtesy of Honda Motor Company.

Honda's CR-V comes in second by just a handful of vehicles, at about 173,000 vehicles sold through July. That's only a 3.4% increase over last year, but it topped the U.S. News Rankings and Reviews list of "Affordable Compact SUVs." The CR-V sells well because it offers a nimble ride with a roomy interior and impressive standard technology features. It also manages to get 23 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway. With a starting MSRP of around $23,000, it's no surprise it's a hot seller right now. 

3. Chevrolet Equinox

Chevrolet's 2014 Equinox. Photo Courtesy of General Motors.

Rounding out the top three is the Chevy Equinox, which sold almost 145,000 vehicles and is up 10.8% over last year. It shouldn't be surprising that two of the top three best-selling SUVs in 2013 are from Ford and General Motors (NYSE: GM  ) . Those two were kings of the gas-guzzling SUV versions and have learned something as consumer tastes transitioned to a more fuel-efficient ride. For the Equinox's 2013 model, it received a new 3.6L V6 engine and got suspension upgrades. It also has one of the industry's best infotainment and navigation packages with the Chevy MyLink system.

Investing takeaway
The SUV segment is one of the hottest-selling segments in the U.S. market and is a great way for companies to gain market share on their competitors. These vehicles are valuable not only for market share, but for fatter profit margins as well. Standard MSRPs are higher than standard vehicles, and with the extra space, the interior can provide more options -- bringing in extra dollars per transaction.

Smaller SUVs are also catching on overseas, especially in China -- the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive market. As transaction prices rise, as well as the volume of SUV sales, these vehicles become more and more important, and these top three will be key for future success in the world's most important markets.

Ford is in great shape, as it has consolidated its platforms and will really benefit from improving margins as sales of the Escape continue to grow globally -- adding just another reason Ford remains one of the best automotive stocks right now.

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Read/Post Comments (13) | Recommend This Article (9)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On August 04, 2013, at 10:49 AM, mr091468 wrote:

    Happy birthday, Fool. Keep up the good work.

  • Report this Comment On August 04, 2013, at 11:18 AM, r4561 wrote:

    I have owned two ford rangers and do not regret the experience. I am now driving the 2004 model working my way to the 2000 mile mark, what a dependable little truck. I have had the opportunity to drive three different ford escapes from a former employer and was very impressed with how these vehicles handle here in the state of Maine. It is sad the ranger is out of production, but I hope the escape will still be around when it's time for my next purchase.

  • Report this Comment On August 04, 2013, at 12:11 PM, normgarry wrote:

    Econoboxes on stilts.

  • Report this Comment On August 04, 2013, at 12:12 PM, normgarry wrote:

    I took a friend shopping for a RAV 4. Those things are ridiculously expensive. Then we cross shopped the Sportage which seemed more reasonable.

  • Report this Comment On August 04, 2013, at 12:18 PM, kca124cain wrote:

    I have owned domestic, European, and Asian vehicles. My 2003 Chevy Suburban is without question, the best vehicle I have ever owned.

  • Report this Comment On August 04, 2013, at 12:53 PM, strat1163 wrote:

    Hyundai are the best vehicles without question. I own a 2005 Hyundai Sante Fe and it has been flawless since new. The only thing I've had to do to it are brakes, oil, fluid changes and new exhaust; .....all maintenance. On the other hand, my wife used to prefer domestic vehicles until she got sick of the repair bills. She bought a used 2006 grand caravan, and then when she had too many issues (new transmission at 37,000m, rack and pinion, air conditioner, a short in electrical system) bought a 2009 dodge journey that had more issues than the caravan and she traded this in before the warranty was up. Both of these vehicles were horrible. She now owns a 2010 Sante Fe and has not had a single issue with it and she loves it! I had contacted Chrysler corp a few years ago to communicate our issues with both Mopar vehicles and they sent a letter saying " the quality of our new vehicle lineup has improved significantly"...and that was it. They and other domestic manufacturers just "don't "get it" and will all probably end up declaring bankruptcy again because they are behind the Asian manufacturers. Still not convinced? Go to any site and read the consumer reviews for any Hyundai auto built after 2004. Reliability, quality, craftsmanship, and top notch warranty....awesome.

  • Report this Comment On August 04, 2013, at 12:59 PM, Shaft63 wrote:

    These vehicle are not a SUV you are not fooling me they are for what we call small people. I don't care what the mpg are just give me a BIG TRUCK USA MADE. the best workers and trucks in the world GMC,Ford.

  • Report this Comment On August 04, 2013, at 1:03 PM, Shaft63 wrote:

    A RAV 4 I would not be caught dead in that thing. Why do I see a lot of them in West Hollywood.

  • Report this Comment On August 04, 2013, at 3:13 PM, jnjguy wrote:

    Ford is making a better and better product to compete with the imports. Congrats to them. I can't see the Chevy Equinox beating the RAV 4. I have ridden in many Equinox's. Marginal at best. Toyota makes a far superior product.

  • Report this Comment On August 04, 2013, at 3:14 PM, JDerek40 wrote:

    "Gas-guzzling behemoths used to own the road and occupied every inch of their lane" I find this ironic. They would have NEVER been "Gas-guzzling behemoths" if Auto makers had of been building cars that the people, meaning for family haulers, WANTED in the first place. The Suburban not withstanding, SUVs were small for their time so they could fit the Trails. The full size Bronco and Blazer were built on Truck platforms yet they were short bed. They started growing and putting on weight when they became popular with the Mall crowd who wanted all the Luxury. This was a direct result of the cracker box front drive cars that started being forced down our throats. When the original Small SUVs hit the market, Moms flocked to them because they seemed safer than the cars that were on the market. They were REAR WHEEL DRIVE, when not in 4WD if they even bought the 4x4s which they ALL were in the begining, body on frame construction. That is what made them seem safer and repair easier. If you look at the history of their popularity, it bares this out. Even the Jeep Wrangler that is "Trail Rated" today is sorely underpowered, overweight and fragile for what their Original intent was unless you go all out for the Big Dog Rubicon. The originals were basic and easy to maintain in the back yard. Look under just about any SUV today, and trucks for that matter, and you will find all kinds of stuff that can and does get caught on the least little brush, rock or caked with mud/snow and the whole thing shuts down or you get a dashboard lit up like a Christmas tree. You can forget about disconnecting anything either. Add on the fact that replacing it is EXPENSIVE and you have what we have today. There is a SMALL portion of people that have been SCREAMING for a back to basics SUV yet just as with the SRT Viper, it is a very SMALL portion and unlike the Viper, they aren't cost effective for the Companies so no one offers one. Not even Jeep. This is why the original SUVs are getting expensive but there again you have a Catch 22. The people that want them for their intended purpose can't afford them.

  • Report this Comment On August 04, 2013, at 9:41 PM, z56 wrote:

    The GMC TERRAIN is another choice to look at. It basically is a Chevy, but nicer. You may pay a small amount more, but it's worth it. Before you buy, go to or even better, go to a GMC dealer, and look for yourself. My wife and I did this, and bought one. We LOVE IT ! It is a very good and solid vehicle. And should be considered by anyone who is ready to buy. We bought the SLT-2 trim package. WOW, so many options !!! Absolutely the best buy for the money. It drives and rides very well, and is loaded with more features than most of the others. Do some'll see. GMC TERRAIN is great !!!

  • Report this Comment On August 04, 2013, at 10:05 PM, bcweir wrote:

    Strictly speaking, these are NOT SUV's. These are CROSSOVERS. Yes, naysayers, there IS a difference. SUV's are typically truck-based, full frame vehicles that are basically trucks with a completely enclosed passenger/cargo area, instead of the segregated passenger cab and cargo bed in the back. Cross-overs are based closer to passenger cars for people who need the utility and high seating position of an SUV, but without the heavy weight and high appetite for gasoline of a truck based vehicle. I wish FOOL would stick to what it knows best (investment advice) and not delve into topics it clearly knows nothing about (such as the difference between an SUV and a crossover). All that writing talent wasted on a deceptively titled article. I wasn't expecting Shakespeare in what's supposed to be a journalism article but come on! A fifth grader could pull off a more informed article.

  • Report this Comment On August 05, 2013, at 3:16 AM, crash3085 wrote:

    Where are the SUVs? I only see compact station wagons.

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