Americans downsize to small SUVs
The so-called compact crossovers are now the third most popular category, behind mid-size cars and compacts.
Shifting tastes catapulted sales of compact crossovers at a time when many other car segments are losing ground. Compact crossovers accounted for just 5.7% of all car sales -- or roughly 973,000 sales -- in the U.S. in 2005, but that figure has been rising ever since to 1.4 million, according to KBB. It's also the only car segment that has consistently increased its market share each year over that time period.
For consumers who are comparison shopping, the fuel efficiency of compact crossovers is competitive with many smaller vehicles. The Honda CR-V 2012, for instance, gets 26 miles per gallon combined (city and highway driving) while the Honda Accord gets 27 miles per gallon.
But consumers expecting to find deals on these models could be disappointed. In general, car incentives are down to their lowest level since October 2005, according to Edmunds.com. That's largely because of the growth of car sales and the limited inventory that's left fewer cars lingering at the dealerships.
Some compact crossovers do come with incentives, however, though they vary by location. The 2013 Ford Escape comes with up to $750 in cash rebates and the 2012 Toyota RAV4 comes with up to $500, according to Edmunds.com. And experts caution that as demand for these cars continues to grow, incentives will likely become harder to find.
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