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Compact SUVs: The Rise and Fall of 2023

The compact SUV segment, traditionally one of the most competitive and sought-after vehicle categories, has witnessed a noteworthy shuffle in 2023. As the automotive world continues to evolve with emerging technologies, changing consumer preferences, and global supply challenges, certain models have managed to gain significant traction, while others have seen a slump. Let’s dive into the YTD sales of compact SUVs and highlight the winners and losers based on the YTD sales data through 9/30/2023 compared to the same period last year.

Compact SUVs with Increased Sales:

ModelMarket ShareYTD SalesPrev. YTD SalesChange
Nissan Rogue13.6%285,601227,93625.3%
Hyundai Tucson6.7%140,721123,65713.8%
Mazda CX-57.8%163,940146,42012.0%
Honda CR-V17.2%361,271323,50211.7%
Kia Sportage4.2%88,68884,3435.2%
Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

Nissan Rogue (+25.3%):

Nissan’s Rogue has clinched the top spot among the gainers with a commendable 25.3% increase in sales. Previously registering sales at 227,936 units, the Rogue has surged to 285,601 units this year. The vehicle’s revamped design, advanced safety features, and the brand’s continued push for marketing have potentially contributed to this growth, making it a top contender in the segment.

Hyundai Tucson (+13.8%):

The Hyundai Tucson has displayed a robust growth of 13.8%, increasing its sales from 123,657 units to 140,721 units. With its striking aesthetics, packed tech features, and competitive pricing, the Tucson has resonated well with consumers looking for a well-rounded compact SUV.

Mazda CX-5 (+12.0%):

With a sales increment of 12.0%, Mazda’s CX-5 continues to solidify its position in the market. This increase from 146,420 to 163,940 units can be attributed to the model’s upscale interior, sporty performance, and the brand’s commitment to delivering a premium experience at an affordable price point.

Honda CR-V (+11.7%):

The Honda CR-V has shown a remarkable growth trajectory, narrowing its sales gap with the segment leader, Toyota RAV4. An increase of 11.7% propelled the CR-V’s sales from 323,502 to 361,271 units. Its reliability, spacious cabin, and fuel efficiency continue to make it a favorite among consumers.

Kia Sportage (+5.2%):

Registering a growth of 5.2%, the Kia Sportage has made its presence felt with sales numbers moving from 84,343 to 88,688 units. Kia’s emphasis on design innovation and the inclusion of modern tech features have bolstered the Sportage’s appeal.

Compact SUVs with Decreased Sales:

ModelMarket ShareYTD SalesPrev. YTD SalesChange
Chevrolet Equinox7.9%165,325270,994-39.0%
Jeep Compass3.6%75,642107,968-29.9%
Ford Escape6.9%145,415178,495-18.5%
Subaru Forester7.4%154,723176,996-12.6%
Toyota RAV419.4%407,739430,387-5.3%
Volkswagen Tiguan5.2%109,742110,502-0.7%
Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

Chevrolet Equinox (-39.0%):

The biggest dip in the segment is witnessed by Chevrolet’s Equinox, plummeting by a significant 39.0%. Its sales dwindled from 270,994 units to 165,325 units. As one of the three domestic automakers experiencing a decline, there are various attributing factors, including fierce competition and possibly supply chain disruptions.

Jeep Compass (-29.9%):

The Jeep Compass has faced a challenging year with sales receding by 29.9%, translating to a dip from 107,968 to 75,642 units. Despite its off-roading capabilities and brand lineage, it seems the Compass couldn’t fend off competition from international brands.

Ford Escape (-18.5%):

Another domestic automaker on the list, Ford’s Escape has seen its sales drop from 178,495 to 145,415 units, marking an 18.5% decline. While the Escape offers a comfortable ride and good fuel economy, it seems to have struggled to capture a larger market share this year.

Subaru Forester (-12.6%):

Subaru’s Forester, renowned for its safety features and all-wheel-drive system, has seen a decline of 12.6%, moving from 176,996 to 154,723 units. Changes in consumer preferences and competition might have impacted its sales figures.

Toyota RAV4 (-5.3%):

As the erstwhile leader in the segment, Toyota’s RAV4 witnessed a surprising downturn this year. Sales dropped by 5.3%, indicating that even market leaders aren’t exempt from challenges. Despite its reputation for reliability and performance, the RAV4 faced stiff competition, which might have impacted its sales figures.

Volkswagen Tiguan (-0.7%):

Volkswagen’s Tiguan, though seeing a minor dip, has registered a 0.7% decrease in sales. This marginal decline might be a result of changing market dynamics, but with such a small percentage, it’s clear that the VW Tiguan remains a consistent performer in the segment.

Wrapping It Up

2023 has proven to be a year of shifts in the small SUV segment. While models like the Nissan Rogue and Honda CR-V have surged forward, domestic giants like Chevrolet, Jeep, and Ford have faced the heat. As consumer preferences evolve and the automotive industry adapts, it remains to be seen how these dynamics will play out in the coming years. offers accurate estimates of new and used car loan payments based on self-selected credit score, current rebates, down payment, and trade equity or negative equity, without customers having to provide their personal identifying information such as email and phone.

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