Published 3:11 PM EDT Oct 2, 2018
Shoppers continued to flock to SUVs, crossovers and pickup trucks in September as American preferences shift amid sustained low gasoline prices and a desire for roomier rides.
Passenger cars are suffering as a result. Stalwart cars offered by Toyota, Nissan, Ford, Honda and others are struggling mightily.
But buyers haven't left the showroom empty-handed. They've just upgraded in size.
Here are five of the hottest-selling vehicles in the U.S. in September, based on a subjective assessment of sales, momentum and buzz.
1. Honda Pilot
Sales: 15,464, up 50.2 percent
The Pilot SUV's surge in 2018 has been Honda's saving grace.
While the Accord and Civic sedans are struggling, the Pilot is picking up much of the slack. It's now Honda's fourth-best-selling model overall.
And it's not a one-month wonder. Sales are up 42.4 percent for the first nine months of the year.
2. Jeep Cherokee
Sales: 23,836, up 86.6 percent
The Cherokee is red-hot, and that's a reflection of the Jeep brand before anything else. Jeep's surge helped Fiat Chrysler outsell its bigger U.S. rival, Ford, in September.
The Cherokee hits the sweet spot for shoppers as the nationwide SUV boom rages on. And it isn't slowing down. Sales are up 52.5 percent for the year.
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3. Lincoln Navigator
Sales: 1,257, up 77.3 percent
The Navigator remains a low-volume luxury vehicle. But it's paying big dividends for Ford, which needs every bit of good news it can get.
The luxury SUV was redesigned last year for the first time in a decade, and customers are responding. It was the only Lincoln model to post a sales increase in September.
4. Acura RDX
Sales: 5,669, up 54.3 percent
This premium crossover SUV was redesigned for the 2019 model year, and it's already connecting with customers.
The prototype version debuted at the Detroit auto show, followed by the production version at the New York auto show earlier this year.
It was Acura's best-seller in September and for the first nine months of the year.
5. Toyota Tacoma
Sales: 22,265, up 23.3 percent
This midsize pickup will soon have more company in its segment when the Ford Ranger is revived.
But with competition currently limited to models such as the Chevrolet Colorado and Nissan Frontier, the Tacoma is capitalizing on demand for pickups.
Want to know how much the boom in sales of SUVs, crossovers and pickups has changed Toyota?
Check out this stat: Toyota sold about three times as many Tacomas as Prius hybrids in September.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.