First-Half 2023 Sales Report: And the Most Popular Off-Road SUV Is…

Can the Ford Bronco usurp the Jeep Wrangler as the best-selling off-roader? Where is the Toyota 4Runner?

Here’s how off-road SUV sales shook out among the major contenders so far this year.

After years of stifled sales brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, chip shortages and a host of disruptive supply chain issues, folks are anxious to get the cars, trucks and off-road SUVs they’ve been wanting these past couple years. Automakers are capitalizing on the demand, too — Ford, Stellantis and Toyota (and everyone else) are pumping out vehicles as quickly as they possibly can to try and sate a red-hot market. But which off-road SUV came out on top in the first six months of 2023?

Since we’re now in early July, we get to see which of the major off-road SUVs (namely the Jeep Wrangler, Ford Bronco and Toyota 4Runner) came out on top. Or, to put it another way: How well is Toyota’s 14-year-old SUV continuing to bring in new sales while the Ford Bronco usurps the Wrangler’s dominance?

Here’s how each model stacked up in the last quarter (April – June 2023):

ModelQ2 2023 salesQ2 2022 salesDifference (units)Difference (%)
Jeep Wrangler46,67153,946-7,275-13%
Toyota 4Runner29,62031,922-2,302-7%
Ford Bronco26,15031,269-5,119-16%

Interestingly, all three of these SUVs lost ground over the past three months. Be it continuing supply issues or financial turbulence for new car buyers (particularly thanks to high interest rates), fewer people wound up buying these three off-roaders between April and June. By sheer volume, the Jeep Wrangler did lose the most ground — continuing a trend throughout this year so far — while the Ford Bronco a greater percentage of its sales volume according to the latest reports.

Despite its age, the Toyota 4Runner is still managing to pull in between 7,000 and 9,000 or so buyers each month. That’s not as strong as the SUV’s been in recent years, but we’re also talking about a design that dates back to 2009. Sure, Toyota’s updated the model a few times since then, but considering the Ford Bronco is still pretty much brand-new and Jeep just updated the Wrangler for 2024, Toyota’s strong-selling SUV just keeps on going.

While the Jeep Wrangler is still the clear frontrunner, its sales slowed in the second quarter, as did the Ford Bronco. Again, this may be down to constant interest rate hikes and high sticker prices, to say nothing of pervasive, persistent dealer markup on special versions.

The year-to-date sales paint a different picture (January – June 2023, year-to-date):

ModelYTD 2023 salesYTD 2022 salesDifference (units)Difference (%)
Jeep Wrangler84,64299,497-14,855-15%
Ford Bronco58,58054,842+3,738+7%
Toyota 4Runner50,73666,829-16,093-24%

Since its launch, Ford’s also faced production issues with the new Bronco. Just trying to get examples out to customers and dealers has long been an issue, though the year-to-date sales figures suggest Ford is getting a better grasp on the demand. Zooming out to the first six months of 2023, the Bronco pulls ahead of the 4Runner, and is the only one of this trio to actually gain sales over the same period in 2022.

JL Wrangler Forums users and a cursory search through dealerships help explain the Wrangler’s issue: Lots of high-specced, high-dollar Wranglers sitting on dealer lots. Our local Jeep dealer here in Boulder, CO claims to stock some 54 2023 model year Wrangler 4xes in their inventory, with the least expensive setting you back a cool $61,638 (minus dealer fees and taxes, of course). Meanwhile, dealers also stock entry-level models with tens of thousands of dollars in options…meaning even a Wrangler Sport will set you back a staggering $54,426. Yikes.

What about the Land Rover Defender?

This quick look at off-road SUV sales excludes the Land Rover Defender, strictly on the basis that JLR has not yet reported second-quarter or year-to-date sales through June 2023. We’ll circle back with more information when those numbers are available.