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These two brands would have similar SUVs since Lexus is the luxury arm of Toyota. However, it is interesting to see that very different brands (one luxury, one not) have two best-sellers that are pretty identical. For the best SUVs of 2023, there is an emphasis on comfort and driveability that only the Toyota RAV4 and Lexus RX could deliver. While other popular sport utility vehicles share in the successful sales, the RAV4 and RX are SUV siblings with a common genetic code. Both boast a reputation for reliability and innovation, underpinned by the engineering expertise of Toyota. The commitment to cutting-edge safety features, fuel efficiency, and a smooth ride is a familial trait that runs deep.

Toyota and Lexus shoppers settled on the best SUVs of 2023

The best SUVs of 2023 include this Toyota RAV4
A Toyota RAV4 SUV | Toyota

So far, the best-selling SUVs of 2023 are determined through sales data that runs through September from Lexus and Toyota. Toyota has nine SUVs for sale, including the C-HR, which has been discontinued but still has some stock left. Lexus has six SUVs varying in size and shape, all still in production.

According to the data, the Toyota RAV4 and the Lexus RX are the brand’s top sellers so far. There are still a few months left in the year, but it is doubtful any significant changes will occur in sales between now and January. The RX is America’s favorite luxury SUV, and though there are more options on the market now, the RX remains a top seller.

Toyota Model2023 Sales YTDLexus Model2023 Sales YTD
Corolla Cross49,160UX9,374
Grand Highlander24,376LX5,274
Toyota SUV Total646,285Lexus SUV Total173,827
The best SUVs of 2023 are clear

Toyota’s RAV4 is compact and relatively affordable, helping cement its spot on the list of best SUVs of 2023. It also includes a few powertrain options, like the Hybrid and plug-in hybrid Prime. Both sport utility vehicles have added more sales of 103,329 units for the hybrid and 18,851 for the Prime, but those aren’t included in the other sales numbers.

Small and midsize SUVs are the best-sellers of 2023

The best SUVs of 2023 include this Lexus RX
2023 Lexus RX | Lexus

These best-selling SUVs of 2023 have a few things in common. Even though the Toyota RAV4 SUV is compact, it is similar in size to the Lexus RX. The RX still has two rows, but the NX and UX are the most minor options in the lineup for Lexus. Both sport utility vehicles have five seats, a spacious cargo area, and a relatively reasonable starting price.

We can talk about how the RX and RAV4 are “good SUVs” all day, but there is a reason drivers gravitate towards them. After driving the RX on multiple road trips, I found that it doesn’t get more versatile than this small/midsize SUV. Need some shelves at Ikea? The Lexus SUV can fit them and still have room for the extra towels and weird swirly lamp you pick up. Depending on how far you drove for Swedish meatballs, it probably won’t even need more gas. It is a similar story to the RAV4. Easy to drive, spacious enough for your next grocery run, and fits into many budgets.

The data shows shoppers are still interested in small to midsize vehicles, like the Toyota Highlander and the NX. Toyota’s Sequoia and the extra-luxurious Lexus LX are pretty large. In Toyota’s non-SUV lineup, the only model that comes close to the RAV4 numbers is the ever-present Toyota Camry, with 217,975 sales. Lexus has nothing close to those numbers with its cars, but its best-seller is the Lexus ES sedan.

Drivers are drawn to the smaller SUVs as these tend to offer the best of both worlds. SUVs are easy to park and see out of but provide a little more space than most popular sedans. You aren’t sacrificing anything moving from a sedan to an SUV; more space throughout the cabin is always helpful.

The 2024 Lexus TX and the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander
The 2024 Lexus TX; 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander | Lexus; Toyota

Both Lexus and Toyota have new vehicles that just recently hit the market to accompany the best-selling SUVs of 2023. The Lexus TX is a new three-row model aiming for extreme comfort throughout the cabin. Toyota just released the three-row Grand Highlander, which is a more affordable version of the TX.

Even though the general consensus around SUVs has changed slightly over the last few years, most shoppers will move to another vehicle in the segment instead of leaving SUVs behind altogether. Since both brands have various options in different sizes, Lexus and Toyota have an excellent strategy to keep loyal buyers entertained.


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