When it comes to ‘best of’ style lists, a handful of brands tend to dominate. Among them, typically, are Honda and Toyota. But lately? Not so much. In fact, according to U.S. News & World Report, when it comes to the midsize SUV segment, Honda and Toyota have struggled to outperform SUVs from brands like Hyundai and Kia. So, should Honda and Toyota be more worried about their competition? Maybe.
Hyundai and Kia are gaining ground in the midsize SUV segment
There’s no denying that both Hyundai and Kia are doing pretty well these days. When announcing December sales numbers, both saw retail sales go up. While Hyundai reported that retail sales were up 12% last month, Kia reported a 4.9% increase in sales over the same period the previous year.
In all, Hyundai says that it sold 57,777 vehicles in December, with SUVs representing 70% of its total sales. In fact, Hyundai says, retail sales rose for every SUV in its lineup: Venue (+108%), Kona (+11%), Tucson (+10%), Santa Fe (+27% and its best December ever), and the Hyundai Palisade (+46%).
Kia reported a similar trend. According to the automaker, it sold a total of 53,764 units last month. And throughout the year? Vehicles like the Kia Soul, Seltos, Sportage, Sorento, Telluride, and Sedona accounted for 62% of its annual sales.
Honda couldn’t outrank Kia to break into the top five on U.S. News’ list
So how about these ‘best-of’ lists then? Well, in terms of U.S. News & World Report’s list of ‘Best Midsize SUVs for 2021,’ Hyundai and Kia ranked among the top. The 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe currently ranks in the top spot, with the 2021 Kia Telluride following closely behind it. But creeping up on the 2021 Kia Telluride? That’d be the 2021 Hyundai Palisade.
Unfortunately for Honda, not a single SUV model was able to break the top five on U.S. News’ list. In fact, the first Honda to be featured on the list is the 2021 Honda Passport, which currently sits in the sixth spot, just after the 2020 Kia Sorento. According to U.S. News, the Sorento was able to outrank the Passport due to its higher reliability ratings.
Toyota missed breaking into the top 10 best midsize SUVs
As for Toyota? While its SUV sales may have been up 28.5% in December, that doesn’t mean that its lineup of SUVs were able to break into the top 10 of U.S. News’ list of ‘Best Midsize SUVs for 2021.’ In all actuality, Toyota was unable to break into the top 10 altogether.
According to U.S. News & World Report, the highest-rated Toyota SUV is the 2021 Toyota Highlander. However, the problem is that the Toyota Highlander doesn’t show up until the 12th spot on U.S. News’ list. It’s currently outranked by vehicles like the Honda Pilot, Honda Passport, Kia Sorento, Hyundai Palisade, among others.
Does this mean you should steer clear of Honda and Toyota models?
While Hyundai and Kia may have dominated U.S. News & World Report’s ‘Best Midsize SUVs for 2021’ list, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should steer clear of Honda and Toyota models. If anything, this news means that Honda and Toyota should be paying much more attention to their competition.