10 Red Hot SUVs
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1. Ford Explorer
Jan - Aug 2011 sales: 75,720
Jan - Aug 2010 sales: 28,104
Price: $28,170 - $39,740
Fuel economy: 18 City / 25 Hwy
People keep predicting the death of the SUV, but it's just not happening. That's because SUVs have changed so that consumers can now find ones that do what they've always loved, including going off-road occasionally, without the things people always hated, like the bad fuel economy and rough rides.
Exhibit A is the new Ford Explorer which, so far this year, has had the biggest increase in number of vehicles sold of any SUV. It probably helps that last year's pre-redesign Ford Explorer sales were Exhibit A in the "SUVs are dead" argument.
While the new Explorer has met with mixed reviews — its ride and handling qualities are more SUV-like than you might think — it's unquestionably much more fuel efficient than the truck-based vehicle it replaces while retaining enough towing, hauling and off-road capability to satisfy the realistic needs of most SUV buyers.
Here are nine more SUVs that have seen the biggest sales increases from last year, according to data from the automotive Web site Edmunds.com.
2. Chevrolet Equinox
Jan - Aug 2011 sales: 112,932
Jan - Aug 2010 sales: 76,859
Price: $23,450 - $30,890
Fuel economy: 22 City / 32 Hwy
Many long-time SUV owners have been looking to downsize but don't want go so far as to switch to a car.
"Maybe it doesn't make sense to get a Tahoe right now, but I still want an SUV," said Jeremy Anwyl, chief executive of the automotive Web site Edmunds.com, paraphrasing the mindset of many shoppers.
Compact SUVs like the recently redesigned Equinox have become the vehicle of choice for these people. With the Equinox, GM engineers achieved car-like fuel economy without expensive hybrid technology.
3. Ford Escape
Jan - Aug 2011 sales: 140,842