Nearly six in ten new vehicles sold in Canada are now SUVs and crossovers, and just under a third of all SUVs and crossovers sold come from ten type plates. Six different car brands top the list of Canada’s 10 best-selling commercial vehicles in the first quarter of 2022, a small group that now generates more sales than the entire Canadian passenger car industry.
This is the world of the SUV; cars just live in it. And they barely last.
Inventory shortages, such as the auto industry has not seen in generations, have taken the volume of almost every automaker and the vast majority of individual vehicle nameplates. However, Canada’s SUV sector was nowhere near as bad as the overall market in the first three months of 2022.
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Driving by number: Canada’s 10 best-selling SUVs in 2021
Commercial vehicle volume was behind the decent pace of 2021 by a narrow margin of 7 percent. The rest of the market? Sales of non-SUVs fell by a 18 percent clip† The crisis in the automotive supply chain has certainly not spread evenly across all corners of the market, and that applies to the SUV market as much as it does to any other sector. Canada’s best-selling commercial vehicle experienced a particularly sharp decline in sales; The third-place candidate in the first quarter of 2021 saw its volume halved.
Even so, Canada’s SUV standings are still full of home runs, including a new third-place vehicle that happens to bear the most famous SUV badge in history.
10. Toyota Highlander: 4,448, up 2 percent
Of the vehicles that come standard with three-row seats, none are sold more often in Canada than the Toyota Highlander. Even before the pandemic (and a number of other factors) led to a vicious supply crisis and high second-hand prices, the Toyota Highlander was a leftover juggernaut, assuring owners of high long-term value. Everything that was true for the Highlander is now just more true.
9. Hyundai Tucson: 4,449, down 8 percent
Four brands managed to place two vehicles on the list of Canada’s best-selling SUV/crossovers: Toyota, Jeep, Nissan and Hyundai. For too long, Hyundai persisted without an expansive commercial vehicle lineup, moving forward with the Santa Fe and Tucson as brands like Toyota and Jeep tried to fill niches above and below. But in 2022, Hyundai will be a big SUV seller. The brand now generates 72 percent of its turnover with commercial vehicles. Hyundai sells more commercial vehicles in Canada than GM’s four brands combined.
8. Nissan Rogue: 4,648, down 50 percent
No high-volume SUV in Canada has struggled more than the Rogue to keep up with sales in the first quarter of 2021. Fortunately, with no Rogues to sell, Nissan dealers have been able to close some of the gap with other small commercial vehicles. As a result, brand-wide volume is down 13 percent, which is in line with the annual decline in the Canadian market. Last year around this time, the Rogue was Canada’s third best-selling commercial vehicle.
7. Jeep Grand Cherokee: 4,979, up 10 percent
With a wider line-up than we’ve ever seen of the Grand Cherokee, including a long-wheelbase three-row variant, this former flagship is well-positioned for the modern auto industry. The Grand Cherokee breaks through typical class designations: is it a luxury SUV, a true off-roader or a rough commuter destined for the schoolyard? It’s all those things. Plus, Stellantis dealers actually have Grand Cherokees for sale, which clearly makes all the difference.
6. Nissan Qashqai: 5,169, up 73 percent
The Qashqai’s 73 percent rise in the top 10 is certainly a surprise, but Nissan’s ability to sell at a high level is nothing new. Before the Hyundai Kona took over the subcompact crossover segment in 2019, the Qashqai was the sales leader. Given the Rogue’s severe inventory shortage, the Qashqai’s presence at Nissan dealerships this winter was certainly a welcome change.
5. Hyundai Kona: 5,363, down 22 percent
While narrowly maintaining its position atop the subcompact crossover standings, the Hyundai Kona is not currently Hyundai Canada’s bestseller. A rising Elantra has even put a car at the top of Hyundai’s sales charts again. Aside from the inventory issues that plague all brands, how long can the Kona reasonably be expected to dominate its segment? 2022 is the fifth model year of the first-generation Kona.
4. Mazda CX-5: 5,442, down 15 percent
The Mazda CX-5 will be joined by what is sure to be a noble challenger this month, the equally large but more aggressive Mazda CX-50. Whether the two will get along in the sandbox remains to be seen — Mazda originally kept both the CX-30 and CX-3, but has since canceled the CX-3. The MX-5 Miata may be Mazda’s heart and soul, but in the wider market, the CX-5 is Mazda’s public face; the identity of the brand. Better than four in ten Mazdas sold in Canada are CX-5s. It actually easily outperforms Mazda’s other commercial vehicles combined.
3. Jeep Wrangler: 6,642, up 47 percent
The Wrangler, the only true body-on-frame SUV on this list of best-selling SUVs, has been a relatively large-volume SUV since the arrival of the JK Wrangler in 2007. Wrangler, Canada’s eighth best-selling SUV to date a year ago. Competition, in the form of Ford’s scarce Bronco, hasn’t had any negative impact on the Wrangler. For the record, Ford reported 1,718 Bronco sales in the first quarter.
2. Honda CR-V: 7,828, 32 percent lower
Despite the Canadian-built Honda CR-V losing a third of its volume from the first quarter of 2021, it is closing the gap with its primary Canadian-built challenger. A year ago at the end of March, the CR-V trailed the Canadian SUV sales leader by more than 4,100 units. This year the margin is below 2,100 units. Things won’t get any easier for the CR-V, though, as Honda nears a production shift ahead of the sixth-generation CR-V arriving later in 2022.
1. Toyota RAV4: 9899, down 37 percent
Despite all the headwinds that came from the 2020 crisis in the auto industry, Toyota Canada managed to sell more RAV4s in 2021 than in 2020. But the year didn’t end on such a high level: fourth-quarter sales fell. by 44 percent. That’s the unfortunate trend that continues for Canada’s best-selling non-pickup truck. Toyota lost nearly 5,800 RAV4 sales in the first three months of the year. This proves how dominant the RAV4 has become since taking on the role of Canada’s best-selling SUV in 2016. Even with its losses, the RAV4 still outsells its closest competitor by a 26 percent margin.