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http://blog.polk.com/blog/blog-posts-by-tom-libby/small-crossover-sales-explode-in-february
February U.S. car sales were driven in part by the appeal of mainstream compact crossovers. These vehicles offer the ideal combination of value for the money, good fuel economy, car-like driving characteristics, and SUV-like functionality. Midsize as well as sub-compact crossovers offer some of these advantages but not all of them. Compact crossover sales in February drove industry results at the segment, model and make levels.

At the segment level, the February results were extraordinary. Non-luxury compact crossovers captured 14.8% of all February sales, up from 11.7% a year ago and 13.8% for all of 2013. Non-luxury compact CUV deliveries jumped 27% from last February, while the industry was flat. Small mainstream crossovers are now the third largest category in the industry among IHS’s 30+ segments, trailing only non-luxury midsize cars and non-luxury compact cars, and small crossovers are not that far behind compact cars.

Among the 18 small mainstream crossovers now on the market, 15 enjoyed year-over-year sales gains in February, and several of the winners played a major role in their respective brands’ February successes. Sales of the all-new Jeep Cherokee were close to 12,000, up more than seven-fold from that of its predecessor, the Liberty, a year ago, and the Cherokee propelled the Jeep make to a 47% year-over-year gain, the largest in the industry. Chrysler was the only “domestic” automaker to register a gain in February. Remarkably, every other Jeep model also improved in February. A lack of cannibalization by a strong new model such as the Cherokee is rare.

Like the Cherokee, the Nissan Rogue had a terrific month, and pulled its brand along with it. The redesigned Rogue, now available with a third row of seats and more distinctive styling, had a 72% sales gain in February, and the Nissan Division climbed 17%. In this case, though, there was some cannibalization, as both the Murano and Pathfinder slipped (though the Murano’s decline was negligible). Nissan’s corporate U.S. share jumped by almost a point and a half in February to 9.7%, and, in a rare occurrence, the company out-sold American Honda.

There were similar results for the Buick Encore (up 93%) and the Buick Division (up 19% while the other three GM makes were all down) as well as for the Subaru Forester (up 95%) and Subaru itself (up 24% with a half-point share gain). Amazingly, not only did the Subaru XV Crosstrek not suffer in the wake of the Forester’s gains, the XV climbed 69% itself in February. These two Subaru models are a potent combination in the small crossover category, and help to explain Subaru’s ongoing success in the U.S.

Some compact crossovers’ successes in February pulled their respective makes up from what would have been dismal monthly results. The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport was up 43%, while every other Mitsubishi model that was also on the market a year ago dropped. Similarly, the Mazda CX-5 was up 72%, in contrast to the decline of all other Mazda models except the redesigned 6. Because of the appeal of these models, Mitsubishi and Mazda February results were only marginally down from a year ago.

Ironically, the segment sales leader for the month and year-to-date, the Ford Escape, suffered a 4% sales decline in February, but it was being compared with a strong year-ago total of 24,000+ units. One of the other three models retreating in February was the Tiguan, which is nearing the end of its life cycle. Its February deliveries of only 2,019 were the fewest in the segment and help to explain Volkswagen’s recent struggles in the U.S. market.

It is unlikely the segment can continue to grow at the same pace in the next few years. All the mainstream makes are now in the segment, and before the end of 2013 we will see sub-compact crossovers hitting the market from mainstream makes such as Honda. Although these smaller vehicles will not offer the ideal combination of car and SUV features mentioned above, it is almost inevitable that their sales will eat into the compact category to some degree.

Non-Luxury Compact Crossover New Sales
Feb. 14 Feb. 13 Chg. %
Jeep Cherokee 11,795 0 NA
Subaru Forester 10,773 5,529 94.8%
Buick Encore 3,078 1,597 92.7%
Nissan Rogue 17,197 9,964 72.6%
Mazda CX-5 9,353 5,451 71.6%
Subaru XV Crosstrek 5,489 3,258 68.5%
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 2,348 1,644 42.8%
Toyota RAV4 16,451 13,329 23.4%
Jeep Compass 4,354 3,776 15.3%
Chevrolet Captiva Sport 4,452 3,867 15.1%
Hyundai Tucson 3,956 3,444 14.9%
Kia Sportage 2,669 2,334 14.4%
Dodge Journey 7,963 7,530 5.8%
Chevrolet Equinox 21,587 20,649 4.5%
Honda CR-V 20,759 20,668 0.4%
Ford Escape 23,145 24,110 -4.0%
GMC Terrain 9,297 9,802 -5.2%
Volkswagen Tiguan 2,019 2,533 -20.3%
All models 176,685 139,485 26.7%
Compact CUV share 14.8% 11.7%
 

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Am I the only one who wants this segment to simply disappear? I've driven a lot of these things and the more I drive them the more I consider this to be the worst segment in the auto industry. I don't like driving minivans but I can see the point in having one, these...I don't really like driving most of them but I don't see the point in having them either.
 

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Am I the only one who wants this segment to simply disappear? I've driven a lot of these things and the more I drive them the more I consider this to be the worst segment in the auto industry. I don't like driving minivans but I can see the point in having one, these...I don't really like driving most of them but I don't see the point in having them either.
You know... never thought of it, but you have a good point...useless, crappy little s&*t boxes... :thanks:
 

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Am I the only one who wants this segment to simply disappear? I've driven a lot of these things and the more I drive them the more I consider this to be the worst segment in the auto industry. I don't like driving minivans but I can see the point in having one, these...I don't really like driving most of them but I don't see the point in having them either.
There are only two groups of people I can think it might be good for. People who live in areas that get a lot deep snow & people who live in areas with a lot of potholes.

A 4-runner or land cruiser would be better, but they would also cost more.
 

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There are only two groups of people I can think it might be good for. People who live in areas that get a lot deep snow & people who live in areas with a lot of potholes.

A 4-runner or land cruiser would be better, but they would also cost more.
Just looking at the RAV4 vs Camry, the RAV barely gets more ground clearance than the Camry. Its off by .2 inches which is essentially nothing in fact you could get better increases with a different size tire. Replace the RAV with a CRV, its the same difference. As a result...no I don't think those are sufficient reasons to buy them. 4Runner vs. RAV4 however a big increase in ground clearance of 3.3 inches. For potholes...every vehicle is bad in some way, but the ideal vehicle is a large pickup truck not a car with a SUV body.
 
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Why do people want these? "They ride higher". Great! You can see marginally higher but your visibility in every other direction is compromised, especially with the blind spots on the sides and the awful rear visibility that is a general issue with SUVs. I prefer backing up in trucks as you can "See over" the tail gate, making it easier to place. I understand people who have them because they need AWD/4WD for winter but otherwise there are just too many of them. The only cargo advantage they have is the ability to fit taller items and easier loading. Too bad they cost more, have less overall space, and get inferior gas mileage compared to an similar sedan or wagon. They also lack the ground clearance, payload, and towing ability of a real SUV. Problem is people are so concerned with ride quality and NVH it's put the truck based SUV market on ice, even though if they are looking for that they should buy a sedan.

I miss vehicles like our Suzuki XL-7. It wasn't fancy, rides like a truck from the mid 90s, and for taller people isn't comfortable, but it hauls more than most midsized cross overs, can go over any terrain, and is built like a tank. It doesn't ride nice or have fancy toys because it doesn't need them. This is why pickups now cost an absurd amount of money; why you need leather, wood, state of the art electronics and other toys in a truck is goofy to me, who sees a pickup as something you have to haul stuff or get through bad weather.
 

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Why do people want these? "They ride higher". Great! You can see marginally higher but your visibility in every other direction is compromised, especially with the blind spots on the sides and the awful rear visibility that is a general issue with SUVs. I prefer backing up in trucks as you can "See over" the tail gate, making it easier to place. I understand people who have them because they need AWD/4WD for winter but otherwise there are just too many of them. The only cargo advantage they have is the ability to fit taller items and easier loading. Too bad they cost more, have less overall space, and get inferior gas mileage compared to an similar sedan or wagon. They also lack the ground clearance, payload, and towing ability of a real SUV. Problem is people are so concerned with ride quality and NVH it's put the truck based SUV market on ice, even though if they are looking for that they should buy a sedan.

I miss vehicles like our Suzuki XL-7. It wasn't fancy, rides like a truck from the mid 90s, and for taller people isn't comfortable, but it hauls more than most midsized cross overs, can go over any terrain, and is built like a tank. It doesn't ride nice or have fancy toys because it doesn't need them. This is why pickups now cost an absurd amount of money; why you need leather, wood, state of the art electronics and other toys in a truck is goofy to me, who sees a pickup as something you have to haul stuff or get through bad weather.
I agree with all that, which is why I never liked the segment. Plus on the AWD/4WD item...what was wrong with the Matrix AWD or a Subaru wagon? I'd also add two other minuses, they're less maneuverable and ride worse. The RAV4 and Escape I was using at work are so much less agile than the Forte and my current work car the Corolla even though the RAV uses the Corolla as a base while the Escape with the Focus. The RAV is one of the softest riding of these vehicles in the segment...but it pales compared to its cheaper car counterpart the Corolla. The Escape...its significantly rougher on bad roads than the Focus.
 

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I agree with all that, which is why I never liked the segment. Plus on the AWD/4WD item...what was wrong with the Matrix AWD or a Subaru wagon? I'd also add two other minuses, they're less maneuverable and ride worse. The RAV4 and Escape I was using at work are so much less agile than the Forte and my current work car the Corolla even though the RAV uses the Corolla as a base while the Escape with the Focus. The RAV is one of the softest riding of these vehicles in the segment...but it pales compared to its cheaper car counterpart the Corolla. The Escape...its significantly rougher on bad roads than the Focus.
Aside from Subaru, very few non luxury manufacturers make AWD sedans/wagons. Companies like Toyota shied away from the segment after the All Tracs flopped, but that was because at the time they lacked the superior ground clearance of traditional SUVs of the time. I still think the marginal gains are worth it, but few CUVs have the front ends that support higher clearances or angles of approach anyway. I know some people claim they're easier to get in and out of, though I will debate "stepping up" is easier than "sitting down" and find no real difference.

Personally, the Matrix and Vibe were two of my favorites. I think it is why I like the Subaru Crosstrek so much, which is very similar in concept to those two. Of course, I value the traction of AWD more than the clearance, which is why I went with an All Trac versus a used Pick Up/Hilux or 4Runner, because if the snow is that high I won't need to get out in it anyway.
 

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The XV actually has enough ground clearance IMO to make a noticeable difference. Look at the underside of that thing some time... lot different from the competition. Other than the LCA's, very little is hanging down from the underside of the car. I think it's a reasonable looking vehicle (for a crossover) and probably a good compromise in places that get lots of snow and have a lot of rugged terrain. Plus you can get one with a 2.0 Liter engine with a CVT which means fuel consumption probably isn't horrible.

And that's about as much as I can defend the crossover market because most of them are useless. All of the disadvantages of a high-riding vehicle with a high center of gravity and massive weight and none of the benefits of a proper SUV or minivan in terms of ground clearance and offroad capability or cubic feet of interior space, respectively.

I'm going to call it like it is (flame retardant suit on): These vehicles are designed, priced, featured, and sold from the ground up for one demographic: women. Men and women process spatial information differently and women like being higher off the ground because they feel that it helps them "see the road" better. They aren't stupid, they still want a small, efficient car. The result is the terrible compromise mentioned above.
 

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The XV actually has enough ground clearance IMO to make a noticeable difference. Look at the underside of that thing some time... lot different from the competition. Other than the LCA's, very little is hanging down from the underside of the car. I think it's a reasonable looking vehicle (for a crossover) and probably a good compromise in places that get lots of snow and have a lot of rugged terrain. Plus you can get one with a 2.0 Liter engine with a CVT which means fuel consumption probably isn't horrible.

And that's about as much as I can defend the crossover market because most of them are useless. All of the disadvantages of a high-riding vehicle with a high center of gravity and massive weight and none of the benefits of a proper SUV or minivan in terms of ground clearance and offroad capability or cubic feet of interior space, respectively.

I'm going to call it like it is (flame retardant suit on): These vehicles are designed, priced, featured, and sold from the ground up for one demographic: women. Men and women process spatial information differently and women like being higher off the ground because they feel that it helps them "see the road" better. They aren't stupid, they still want a small, efficient car. The result is the terrible compromise mentioned above.
i have to agree with the part about women. i am helping my wife shop for an suv/cuv and it's amazing what she likes/dislikes, but not only that, little details that immediately causes her to cross a vehicle off her list.

women like large vehicles, but not too large. in texas, i think it's because it makes them feel like they can see better around all the men with huge trucks. i have to agree, big trucks are a real pain to deal with in a car that is low to the ground.

i also think there is some kind of nerve-ending in the brain that is hit when a car too closely resembles a wagon or minivan. they think, "soccer mom", "shaggin' wagon", etc. it brings up memories of the hunk of junk they were raised in that they hated and thought was horrendously ugly. and back then, they really were (think chevy chase movies).
 

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Just looking at the RAV4 vs Camry, the RAV barely gets more ground clearance than the Camry. Its off by .2 inches which is essentially nothing in fact you could get better increases with a different size tire. Replace the RAV with a CRV, its the same difference. As a result...no I don't think those are sufficient reasons to buy them. 4Runner vs. RAV4 however a big increase in ground clearance of 3.3 inches. For potholes...every vehicle is bad in some way, but the ideal vehicle is a large pickup truck not a car with a SUV body.
That's a really good point. I wasn't aware the ground clearance has gotten so low on the RAV4.

I remember when it originally came out it was over 2" higher than the Camry.

1997 RAV4 Ground clearance: 7.3 in.
http://www.edmunds.com/toyota/rav4/1997/features-specs.html

1997 Camry Ground Clearance 5.1
http://autos.yahoo.com/toyota/camry/1997/le/specifications.html

But now there's barely any difference, you're right.

2014 RAV4 GROUND CLEARANCE 0 ft. 6.3 in. (6.3 in.)
http://www.edmunds.com/toyota/rav4/2014/features-specs.html

2014 Camry GROUND CLEARANCE 0 ft. 6.1 in. (6.1 in.)
http://www.edmunds.com/toyota/camry/2014/features-specs.html

Meanwhile the 4Runner is a big difference

GROUND CLEARANCE 0 ft. 9 in. (9 in.)

& the TRAIL Edition is GROUND CLEARANCE 0 ft. 9.6 in. (9.6 in.)
 

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That's a really good point. I wasn't aware the ground clearance has gotten so low on the RAV4.

I remember when it originally came out it was over 2" higher than the Camry.

1997 RAV4 Ground clearance: 7.3 in.
http://www.edmunds.com/toyota/rav4/1997/features-specs.html

1997 Camry Ground Clearance 5.1
http://autos.yahoo.com/toyota/camry/1997/le/specifications.html

But now there's barely any difference, you're right.

2014 RAV4 GROUND CLEARANCE 0 ft. 6.3 in. (6.3 in.)
http://www.edmunds.com/toyota/rav4/2014/features-specs.html

2014 Camry GROUND CLEARANCE 0 ft. 6.1 in. (6.1 in.)
http://www.edmunds.com/toyota/camry/2014/features-specs.html

Meanwhile the 4Runner is a big difference

GROUND CLEARANCE 0 ft. 9 in. (9 in.)

& the TRAIL Edition is GROUND CLEARANCE 0 ft. 9.6 in. (9.6 in.)
Yep, the old 1st gen RAV4 was a more proper tiny SUV than any of its successors were. Of course, with the CUV explosion in sales, the actual SUVs that are small to medium sized are slowly dying off. No more Grand Vitara because of Suzuki's demise, the Pathfinder has converted to CUV, the Xterra's is looking increasingly doomed, the FJ Cruiser is cut, Explorer is now CUV, GM hasn't made on in a long time since the Trailblazer was gone and the Cherokee is now CUV.

We're mostly left with the big heavy SUVs primarily truck based or expensive luxury ones. Sequoia(maybe), 4Runner, Lexus GX, LX/Land Cruiser, Armada, Tahoe/Suburban, Expedition/Navigator, Wrangler, Grand Cherokee, Touareg/Q7/Cayenne, Mercedes G-class and all Land Rovers.

For the record I'm ok with CUVs in the form of the Subaru Outback and the XV Crosstrek. You at least get something beneficial for their increased height in the form of ground clearance and they look like actual cars. Resulting in better off-roading ability and an increased ability to take on unplowed snow especially if your area doesn't get frequent enough snow removal. Even better for those Subarus including the Forester(which has the same ground clearance as the XV), their lower center of gravity means they don't handle like trucks and want to roll over each corner. Its the other ones like the current RAV, CR-V, Escape, the BMW X vehicles, etc. that I don't see the point nor benefit as these are regular cars with tall SUV bodies. I don't know...I personally don't like making several compromises for one minor sometimes difficult to tell benefit. Each time I drove the compact CUVs they never were tall enough to overlook much especially when there are too many other CUVs even ignoring the bigger stuff like trucks and buses. Contrast to driving any E-series, that thing I can overlook everything but the cube trucks and buses.
 
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