The global popularity of sports utility vehicles (SUVs) has been well documented; they've become the darlings of automotive buyers.
Last year, a whopping 29.77 million SUVs were sold, 6.8% up on 2017, placing this vehicle category in the number one position among all segments.
SUVs also claimed the highest market share ever: 36.4% in 2018, 2.5 percentage points up on 2017.1 But which is the most popular SUV here in South Africa? The answer, revealed by AutoTrader CEO George Mienie, is the Toyota Land Cruiser.
"We examined search data on AutoTrader covering the first six months of 2019 - and the Land Cruiser reigns supreme," he reveals.
From a South African perspective, AutoTrader, the largest and most visited motoring marketplace in the country, is viewed as a highly accurate barometer of consumer buying preferences.
Mienie says that the Land Cruiser's dominance comes as no surprise.
"With an off-road heritage spanning more than 67 years, the Land Cruiser is extremely popular the world over. It's sold in over 190 countries worldwide, making it a true global icon!" he reveals.
Toyota is also the brand with the most SUV sales globally. The Japanese vehicle producer notched up 2 153 917 SUV sales in 2018.
The second most popular SUV in the land, according to AutoTrader search data, is the Range Rover Sport.
"This is a very aspirational vehicle, much desired amongst upwardly mobile motorists," says Mienie.
In third place is the Mercedes-Benz GL.
"This SUV is also extremely popular in the United States, where it is the best-selling luxury 4x4," comments Mienie. The fourth place is occupied by another vehicle from the Land Rover stable, namely the Freelander 2.
"This vehicle has been out of production since December 2014. But, as can be seen, it remains popular with South African motorists," Mienie points out.
In fifth spot is the Volkswagen Touareg: "Volkswagen launched its third generation Touareg in South Africa in mid-2018 and this premium class SUV is sought after both here and worldwide (the previous two generations clocked up nearly a million unit sales)," reveals Mienie.
The sixth spot goes to the BMW X5. In seventh spot is the Volkswagen Tiguan, followed by the BMW X3 (eighth), Range Rover Velar (ninth) and Toyota RAV4 (10th).
Most searched for SUV's in South Africa:
1. Toyota Land Cruiser
2. Land Rover Range Rover Sport
3. Mercedes-Benz GL
4. Land Rover Freelander 2
5. VW Touareg
6. BMW X5
8. BMW X3
9. Land Rover Range Rover Velar
10. Toyota RAV4