If you follow the U.S. auto industry, you know SUVs and crossovers made huge sales gains in recent years. More American consumers prefer riding high in these versatile vehicles than ever before. On the flip side, though buyers purchased over 6 million sedans and coupes in 2017, the family car has been on the decline, sales-wise.
You will see the changes in the year’s top 10 in sales. In 2016, Toyota Camry and Corolla both made the top five, with Honda Civic and Accord also among the 10 best sellers. With year’s final tally in the books, RAV4 bumped Camry out of the top five while Honda CR-V displaced the brand’s top-selling sedans.
This trend continued among the industry’s biggest movers. According to stats from GoodCarBadCar (GCBC), several vehicles with the biggest gains from 2016-17 were SUVs. However, a luxury sedan and a minivan also checked in among models that truly caught fire with consumers. Here are the 10 vehicles that really flew off dealer’s lots in 2017.
10. Subaru Impreza
Sales gains: 32.5%
For car companies that gauge feedback strictly by sales, the redesigned Subaru Impreza would have to be a winner. 2017 marked the all-time best for this model with 117,401 sales of the compact sedan and hatchback variants. Altogether, Impreza gained 32.5% over its ’16 performance. One highlight was November when Subaru nearly doubled its sales from the previous year.
9. Mitsubishi Outlander
Sales gains: 33%
If you want an example of how far SUVs have come, just look at Mitsubishi Outlander. Back in 2012, this model had its worst performance to date with fewer than 8,000 sales. Even when the redesigned model appeared, the market barely responded. It took until 2017 for Outlander to make hay. Last year, this model’s sales jumped 33% (to 35,310 units) for its best year ever in America.
8. GMC Savana
Sales gains: 44%
We don’t have a theory for this one, but we have to report GMC Savana vans jumped 44% in 2017. With a total of 29,679 models on the board, GM hit a high not seen since the heady pre-recession days of 2006. Whether folks launched small businesses in their cargo vans or started a new local transit operation, Savana was one of the industry’s top movers.
7. Honda Ridgeline
Sales gains: 47%
While sales of the redesigned Ridgeline didn’t get cooking until May 2016, the 47% gains (to 34,479 units) will impress any industry observer. For starters, sales of this “lifestyle truck” hit a high not seen since 2008. Meanwhile, its consistency in 2017 was another hint of what Consumer Reports documented: Ridgeline is among the top-rated vehicles for customer satisfaction. People never regret buying this truck.
6. Mazda CX-9
Sales gains: 61%
If you’ve ever driven (or ridden inside) a Mazda CX-9, you’d get the impression it’s a refined SUV with serious driving chops. Buyers seemed to feel that way in 2017, when they pushed this model to its year best since 2011. Mazda delivered 25,828 models of this SUV on the year (up 61%). For now, consumers seem to be ignoring CX-9’s poor reliability ratings.
5. Cadillac XT5
Sales gains: 33%
Overall, Cadillac had its worst year since 2012, but no one can blame the XT5 crossover. Released in 2016 as the replacement for the SRX, Cadillac’s new crossover hit its stride in summer 2017. By the end of the year, it had posted gains of 73% (to 68,312). Even though XT5’s roll-out meant it lost a few sales months in ’16, the strength of its performance suggests Cadillac has a minor hit on its hands — something the brand desperately needs.
4. Chrysler Pacifica
Sales gains: 90%
Prior to 2016, you could have called the Chrysler brand battered and beaten without exaggerating. Between the much-hated 200 sedan and the dated Town & Country minivan, no automaker looked quite as bad. To its credit, Chrysler took action by ending the 200’s run and launching the Pacifica minivan.
This model represents a new take on the old family hauler, and consumers responded. Chrysler sold 118,274 models in 2017, a 90% improvement over the year before. Even though ’16 sales were cut short by a few months, Pacifica’s ’17 performance marks a step in the right direction for the brand.
3. Nissan Armada
Sales gains: 142%
Like a few other vehicles on this list, Nissan Armada hit its stride in 2017 with the introduction of an all-new model. U.S. dealers moved 35,667 Armadas on the year, representing a 142% improvement over the prior year. Overall, it was Armada’s first time with over 20,000 sales since 2007 and its best year since 2005. In August, it actually posted gains of 900% over its ’16 numbers.
2. Nissan Titan
Sales gains: 154%
Only a handful of major brands saw sales gains in 2017, but Nissan was one of them. Looking at the numbers, it’s clear Titan was behind a good chunk of that improvement. In fact, this model’s 52,294 sales were more than Nissan managed for the past three years with its pickup. Again, the redesign was the big story, but Titan’s 154% gains may have exceeded expectations.
1. Audi A5
Sales gains: 155%
Sedans may be falling out of favor overall, but that doesn’t apply to the redesigned Audi A5. Available as a sharp coupe, a convertible, or a four-door hatch, consumers rally flocked to this nameplate in 2017. After a 400% gain in November and a 500% gain in December. A5 ended the year up 155% (to 21,301 sales overall). It was the industry’s biggest improvement, year over year.
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