Just this morning on our way to the office, we were at the end of a line of vehicles turning left, and we kid you not, there were seven crossovers in a row (including our test vehicle, a Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition). Not a single sedan, hatchback, minivan, or station wagon. It's truly a sign of the times.
If that's not proof enough for you that crossovers are taking over the world, just take a look at the recent sales figures. The top three spots are now occupied by crossovers, which is a true reflection of the domestic car market. Though sedans still hang on and take up five of the ten spots, that grip is clearly starting to slip. You might not have noticed, but none of the vehicles in the top ten is from an American brand. In fact, every model in the top ten spots is from a Japanese automaker.
Here's the official list for sales volume so far this year.
- Toyota RAV4 (362,121)
- Honda CR-V (314,083)
- Nissan Rogue (299,382)
- Toyota Camry (285,058)
- Honda Civic (279,061)
- Toyota Corolla (256,356)
- Honda Accord (226,152)
- Toyota Tacoma (207,347)
- Toyota Highlander (199,026)
- Nissan Altima (173,500)
Crossovers aren't all that great to drive for the most part. The new RAV4 is better than the previous generation, and the Honda CR-V is one of the better-driving crossovers. The Accord, Civic, and Camry are all better when it comes to the driving experience, but it seems ride height, cargo space, and all-wheel drive matter more to buyers. At least next year's Camry will get all-wheel drive added to the mix.
What's important to note, aside from just the overall sales volumes for the top-sellers, is the fact that most of the sedans show a decline in sales compared to last year, except for the Honda Civic, while all the top crossovers have increased volumes over last year, except for the aging Nissan Rogue.
Of course, you have to account for the fact that both GM and Ford no longer publish monthly sales figures for their pickup trucks, and there's limited data. Body-on-frame trucks also aren't typically considered passenger vehicles, though the Toyota Tacoma does show up in the top ten list. Ford F-Series trucks are still the best selling vehicle overall and have been for decades, while pickups from Chevy and Ram also outsell passenger vehicles. It's really no surprise that pickup trucks still sell like hotcakes, and that will continue to be the case.
The shift from sedans to crossovers isn't something new, but the surge by more than just one crossover model reflects the onslaught that's only just begun. In 2016, the top three best-selling passenger vehicles were the Toyota Camry, Toyota Corolla, and the Honda Civic, respectively. No crossovers made the top three. The Honda CR-V was #4, the Toyota RAV4 was #5, and the #6 spot was taken by the Honda Accord. Then things start to shift in 2017 when the RAV4 was the top seller, followed by the Nissan Rogue and then the Toyota Camry in the #3 spot.
While you shouldn't give up on sedans (they generally drive better than crossovers, and they also tend to have more distinctive style due to their three-box design), it's obvious who the class favorites are. This trend will only continue, and the fact that automakers are paring back on their sedan production and diversity of models will only contribute to the dominance of crossovers. Personally, we're sad to see sedans slip, and someday they may be an extinct segment as crossovers continue to crush sales figures.