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SUVs have become the standard for large groups, especially those with a lot of cargo. Some consumers need a vehicle that will carry as many people as possible for cheap. However, the two cheapest large SUVs for 2022 are the least popular in sales. Here are some reasons why the cheapest SUVs in their class are actually selling the least.

A 2022 Toyota Sequoia in dark grey parked outside in a dark outdoor area.
2022 Toyota Sequoia | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

According to the newly released second-quarter sales numbers presented by GoodCarBadCar, the two least popular SUVs are the Nissan Armada, with only 2,896 units sold during the second quarter of 2022, and the Toyota Sequoia, with a surprising 55 units sold for the second quarter of 2022.

The Nissan Armada is a full-size SUV and is one of the most affordable ones available, starting at just $49,500. The Toyota Sequoia is a close second with a base MSRP of only $50,500. What is possibly keeping these full-size SUVs down at the bottom of the barrel in sales?

Fuel economy is more important than ever

With rising gas prices and no relief on the horizon, there is no question why vehicles with poor gas mileage fail to sell. The Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia fall into that category.

The Nissan Armada gets an EPA-estimated 14 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway. The Toyota Sequoia is even worse, with an estimated 13 mpg in the city and 17 mpg on the highway. The confusing part of this fuel economy issue is that typically large and expensive vehicles have the worst fuel economy. But the stakes are changing as good fuel economy becomes more of a priority to most buyers. When an SUV aims to be the cheapest among its segment but lacks competitive fuel economy, sales aren’t likely to be competitive either. 

New heavyweight SUVs are making their mark

There is a new heavyweight on the market compared to the second quarter of 2022: the Jeep Wagoneer. Initially, the Jeep Wagoneer was not well received by critics. The SUV borrowed a legendary Jeep name, and many critics thought the vehicle’s design was bland compared to the original namesake.

Despite the early criticism, the Wagoneer has taken off, selling over 10,000 units in the second quarter alone. Part of this success comes from the Jeep’s power plant, which comes standard as a hybrid, getting an EPA-estimated 16 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. The Wagoneer starts at just a bit more at $58,995, but for the savings in gas and better quality overall, it is no wonder why the new SUV from Jeep is making its mark.

Supply shortages even the field

Most car purchases happened on the lot before 2022. The dealer ordered a car to place on the lot. Then the customer noticed the vehicle, stopped in to drive it, and made a deal. However, cars aren’t being built and shipped fast enough due to lingering COVID supply chain issues, fewer materials, and fewer workers.

The 2022 Toyota Sequoia, for example, isn’t even available to order on Toyota’s website. Toyota gives us a message that inventory is low and buyers will have to wait for the upcoming 2023 model. 

Dealers must carefully choose what to place on the lot. So they are looking to the most popular models when ordering new inventory. A base model Nissan Armada that is hardly selling well, will not be the dealer’s first choice to put on the lot.

While neither the Sequoia or the Armada are bad SUVs, they aren’t bringing in high a number of sales due to competitors with better fuel economy and slightly better supply chains. However, the 2023 Sequoia could change that. 

Related: What Did Doug DeMuro Say About the New Toyota Sequoia?