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Toyota is a great car brand that drivers from around the world have loved for many years, and there’s no sign that Toyota is stopping anytime soon. This is especially true when it comes to the automaker’s SUVs, which have only become more popular in America in recent years.

Here’s a look at the Toyota Highlander and how it’s so popular that it’s selling better than the Hyundai Palisade and the Kia Telluride combined. 

The Toyota Highlander is selling very well right now compared to its rivals

GoodCarBadCar has the sales figures for the year up to July, and right now, the Highlander is one of the best-selling cars in America. Toyota has sold nearly 122,000 units of the midsize SUV so far this year, and that made it the sixth best-selling car model with available sales data. That said, it’s actually being outsold by a few Toyota models since the Tacoma, Camry, and RAV4 are all selling better.

Since the Highlander is selling so well, it’s naturally beating its segment rivals, and it’s beating those rivals by a lot. The Kia Telluride is a midsize SUV that’s won a long list of prestigious awards, and the Hyundai Palisade is very similar to the Telluride since Kia and Hyundai collaborate together a lot. They’re great SUVs, and they’ve been fairly successful in terms of sales.

Compared to the Highlander though, it’s not much of a contest. Hyundai has sold just over 45,000 units of the Palisade so far this year, while Kia has sold over 65,000 units of the Telluride. Combined, both midsize SUVs add up to 110,000 units, which is over 10,000 units fewer than what the Highlander has sold so far this year.

This dramatic difference in sales numbers shouldn’t be a huge surprise. The Japanese auto giant debuted the Highlander in the U.S. market over 20 years ago, and it’s been a success ever since. In fact, the Highlander was very successful in its first year on sale, as Toyota sold over 80,000 units that year. That’s far more than what the Telluride or Palisade debuted with.

Toyota has sold over 100,000 units of the Highlander almost every year since its release, and its currently averaging over 200,000 units a year. The main reason for the midsize SUV’s popularity is the fact that it serves as a great SUV for families. It’s spacious, it’s comfortable, and like most Toyotas, it’s very reliable.

Additionally, since it’s been around for so long, the Highlander has earned itself a good reputation among Toyota fans and other drivers. On top of that, Toyota has continuously updated the SUV, with the most recent generation debuting in the 2020 model year. Those updates have kept the Highlander competitive and modern compared to its segment rivals.

Kia and Hyundai can close the gap between them and Toyota

That being said, the Highlander’s dominance is not assured. In fact, compared to last year, Toyota is selling 6.2% fewer Highlanders. July 2023 was a particularly bad month for the SUV, as it sold about 8,600 units, which was 36% fewer units than July 2022. The Telluride and the Palisade, meanwhile, are mostly seeing growth.

Plus, while the Telluride and the Palisade are midsize SUVs, they’re not like other midsize SUVs. They’re semi-luxurious, and while they’re not true luxury SUVs, they certainly can compete with them. This is probably how Kia and Hyundai can close the gap between them and the Highlander. By focusing on building SUVs that stand out from the rest, car shoppers may take notice and reward Kia and Hyundai in the future.


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