CARS.COM — Maybe Santa did grant a few of those Christmas wishes this year, at least if they were SUVs. By the time the clock struck Mariah Carey Meltdown Hour, shoppers had driven popular models like the Chevrolet Equinox, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue and Toyota’s RAV4 and Highlander to double-digit December sales gains.
The Rogue, CR-V and RAV4 are among December’s top 10 best-selling cars, with the No. 4 Rogue landing as the month’s most popular non-pickup truck. We combed through 60 months of past sales and the Rogue has never held that title; Nissan says December was the SUV’s best sales month ever. Indeed, backed by a Wookie-sized “Star Wars” marketing tie-in, the refreshed Rogue flew 52.9 percent versus its record year-ago month.
Sales for the CR-V (up 21.1 percent) flourished as shoppers found more to choose from — Honda had 66 days’ CR-V inventory in December, per Automotive News, versus just 49 days a year ago — as well as an incoming redesign for the 2017 model year. The 2017 CR-V isn’t everywhere just yet, but as of today, it accounts for more than 1 in 5 new CR-Vs in Cars.com inventory.
The RAV4 (up 16.8 percent) and Highlander (up 57.9 percent) both notched double-digit gains. Both models have recent updates, and shoppers found higher purchase incentives on the Highlander in December versus a year ago, per Automotive News. Unsurprisingly, non-luxury SUV segments of all stripes gained steam in December. Even full-sized, truck-based models — an age-old group that’s been long surpassed in sales by three-row crossovers — gained 27.3 percent.