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2014 Toyota RAV4 is the hottest car in the industry's hottest segment

The compact crossover segment is now red-hot. While Ford and Chevy's offerings have started to drop in sales the Toyota RAV4 is seeing huge gains.

The 2014 Toyota RAV4 is quickly moving up the sales rankings in the hottest segment in the automotive industry, the compact crossover segment. Although the Ford Escape is still the volume leader, its sales have leveled off and dipped this month, despite Ford having a banner sales month. The Chevy Equinox is also still ahead of the RAV4 by a nose, but also had a down month despite a great sales month for GM overall. The RAV4 on the other hand grew its sales to 19,733 vehicles sold in March, a whopping 30% increase.

There is a lot of buzz lately about this size of vehicle which includes the Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester, and Mazda CX-5. More and more people of all demographics are migrating away from small sedans and large SUVs for a variety of reasons. Interestingly, the compact crossover generally demands a premium price. It is not strictly for financial reasons that so many new customers are shopping for cars like the RAV4. The ease of ingress and egress (getting in and out) for those with limited mobility (seniors), higher sitting position which is great for seeing around winter snowbanks at intersections, and dramatically better cargo capacity versus a small sedan are all reasons people are heading towards these “cars.”

The Toyota RAV4 timed its full makeover in 2013 perfectly. As we have detailed in past stories, the new RAV4 has a much better layout. The tailgate and spare tire arrangement on the older RAV4s was goofy at best, whereas the new vehicle is of a much better design. Dropping the V6 also has not hurt sales. Fuel economy now trumps raw power in this segment. That said, we are looking forward to a 2.0 turbo engine addition to the RAV4 options sheet in 2015 or 2016. That engine makes its debut in the Lexus version of the RAV4, called the Lexus LF-NX, due later this year.

Three months into 2014 the Toyota RAV4 is quickly climbing the charts and may soon join the Camry, Corolla, and Prius as the sales leader in its respective segment.

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