Sport utility vehicles have become so popular in the United States that they make up more than half of all new U.S. vehicle sales. But why?
The answer should come as no surprise. In a 2019 survey of U.S. SUV owners by Volkswagen, an overwhelming majority of respondents cited safety, comfort, and increased driving confidence as primary reasons for their choice of car. And nearly one in 10 respondents said they considered themselves lifetime buyers of this larger, heavier, roomier, less-fuel efficient vehicle type.
To determine the best-selling SUVs in America, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed SUV sales data from vehicle data site GoodCarBadCar. Vehicles were ranked by total unit sales from Jan. 1, 2021 to July 31, 2021. We also reviewed the change in sales compared to the same period in 2020. Name plates that were introduced or re-introduced to the market this calendar year were not considered. Some of the SUVs on the list are among the most American-made cars you can buy.
While SUV drivers may feel safer, some transportation studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggest that SUVs are contributing to an increase in pedestrian deaths. This could be because of their higher seating position and increased driving confidence that make it harder to detect nearby pedestrians and cyclists. An IIHS study also found a big jump in the number of SUVs fatally striking pedestrians from 2009 to 2016. Here’s a list of the most expensive cars to insure.
Not all SUVs are alike, however. Some are larger than others, and this category also often includes crossover vehicles, which are small SUVs typically built on smaller, more cost-efficient sedan platforms. The popular Honda CR-V, for example, shares its platform with the Honda Civic.
The lower cost, better fuel economy, comparable comfort, and elevated driving position has made crossovers the most popular vehicle type in the United States. Crossovers might not be very exciting to drive, and they all tend to look more or less alike, but they offer reliable compromise for buyers who want something roomier than a sedan without the ostentatiousness and higher cost of owning a full-size SUV. The top three best-selling SUVs in the U.S. market are all crossovers.