These are South Africa’s top selling SUVs, and who is buying them

Crossovers and SUVs have become particularly popular among certain groups, says Lightstone Auto

Buyers are drawn to the higher driving positions of cars like the Toyota Corolla Cross.
 Buyers are drawn to the higher driving positions of cars like the Toyota Corolla Cross.
Image: Supplied

The automotive industry has witnessed a significant shift in consumer preferences in recent years, with buyers increasingly opting for crossovers and sports utility vehicles.

According to Lightstone Auto, crossovers and SUVs have become particularly popular among women, constituting a substantial 41% of total sales in 2023. Men have started to show greater interest in crossovers, SUVs and double cabs, but hatches remain their preferred choice, accounting for about 30% of their market share.

The data underscores changing lifestyles and needs. Changes in lifestyle needs has driven the shift away from sedans. South African consumers are increasingly looking for vehicles that can accommodate their active lifestyles, such as outdoor adventures, family trips and sports-related activities. SUVs and Crossovers are better suited to these varied needs, says Lightstone Auto.

The higher driving position of these models provides better visibility, making it easier to navigate traffic and parking lots and enhancing the feeling of safety for women travelling with children, says Lightstone head of sales Jaco van Staden.

The crossover/SUV has replaced the hatch as the most popular shape for buyers aged 31 years and up. Hatches continue to be the shape of choice among consumers under 30, accounting for more than half of sales in this category, ahead of SUVs/crossovers at 20%.

According to the recently released October new-vehicle sales, the Toyota Corolla Cross continues to be Mzansi’s favourite SUV/crossover by a country mile. The locally built car has been a hit ever since its launch in 2021, and part of the reason is the keen pricing of its fuel-sipping hybrid models.

SUVs and crossovers are the preferred body shape for age group 46 to 60.
SUVs and crossovers are the preferred body shape for age group 46 to 60.
Image: Lightstone

Below is a list of the 20 top-selling new SUVs and crossovers in October. Other notable Toyota sellers include the Fortuner and Land Cruiser 300, which are large SUVs that outsell many more affordable cars.

Chinese brands continue to make inroads after formerly being shunned by local consumers. Most notably, the Chery Tiggo 4 Pro was the country’s second best selling SUV in October, with the Haval Jolion, Haval H6 and Chery Tiggo 7 also in the top 20.

It reflects how Mzansi’s consumers have warmed to the improving build quality but still competitive prices of Chinese vehicles.

Suzuki’s new Fronx has made an instant splash in the sales charts. The budget-priced crossover is based on the recently launched Baleno hatchback and in its first two months on sale it has been the brand’s most popular SUV/crossover.


Top 20 selling new SUVs October 2023:


  1. Toyota Corolla Cross — 2,100
  2. Chery Tiggo 4 Pro — 856
  3. Nissan Magnite — 715
  4. Renault Kwid — 661
  5. VW T-Cross — 641
  6. Toyota Fortuner — 629
  7. Kia Sonet — 548
  8. Renault Kiger — 545
  9. Toyota Urban Cruiser — 544
  10. Haval Jolion — 534
  11. Haval H6 — 472
  12. Suzuki Fronx — 415
  13. Suzuki Grand Vitara — 373
  14. Hyundai Venue — 309
  15. Toyota Land Cruiser 300 — 279
  16. Hyundai Tucson — 265
  17. Ford Everest — 250
  18. Chery Tiggo 7 Pro — 250
  19. BMW X3 — 221
  20. VW Tiguan — 197