While entirely new vehicle segments are a known automaker contraption to bring new sales and profits, there’s one niche sector that has blossomed to fully-fledged segment denomination: the subcompact SUVs.
Europe has already fallen to this preying new type of vehicle that’s not necessarily equipped with that critical SUV asset – four-wheel drive. Instead, these smallish offerings give you the benefits of a higher driving position and sometimes the practicality of added body cladding for protection. Yes, and you get a roomier interior than your average subcompact model, with the added panache of “premium” styling. And because they also cost more than its subcompact counterpart, automakers are rushing in to offer a huge variety of choices – including in the US, traditionally the land of hulking SUVs.
In America, riding the wave of the auto industry’s recovery, the subcompact SUV segment is ready to go ballistic, climbing from three models to eight in less than six months. Chevrolet, for example, which first offered the model in Europe – where the brand is currently being axed – is jumping in the bandwagon with the 2015 Chevrolet Trax. Built on GM’s global subcompact platform and already offered across 60 markets globally, the model is produced Bupyeong, South Korea and, naturally, has much in common with the Sonic/Aveo, Chevrolet’s other offering in the segment. But the competition is also gearing up, with Honda unleashing the HR-V, Mazda ready to brinig the new CX-3 or Fiat Chrysler offering its own pair: the Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X.