We’ve all heard the old adage ”bigger isn’t always better” and when it comes to cars, new research from Mintel shows just how true that is. From 2011-13 subcompact crossovers were the fastest growing segment in the compact space in the US, having grown by more than a massive 300%.

Compact crossovers appeal more to young Millennials with children, and particularly to women, both Millennial and Baby Boomers. With the emergence of subcompact crossovers, crossovers are expected to outpace the growth of compact cars from 2014-2018 as particularly subcompacts help expand the segment. Subcompact crossovers are an emerging slice of the car pie that appeals to buyers looking for something that is both smaller and less expensive than a regular compact crossover – vehicles that fit into this category include the Buick Encore and the Nissan Juke. Today, there are few subcompact crossover offerings, but that is about to change with the introduction of models from mainstream brands and from popular luxury makes.

Five new subcompact Crossovers enter the Fray and include:

2015 Chevrolet Trax: Having been on sale in other markets, like Canada and Mexico, since 2012, the Chevy Trax is somewhat of an old hat. The Trax is mechanically identical to the Buick Encore, but will presumably come in at a cheaper price point and will be marketed more so toward first time Millennial buyers. The Trax will go on sale in the US in early 2015.
2015 Honda HR-V: The Honda HR-V will be positioned below the CR-V in both size and price. The HR-V is based off the popular Honda Fit subcompact passenger car. The HR-V will go on sale in the winter of 2014.
2015 Jeep Renegade: The Jeep Renegade is a small subcompact crossover based off the Fiat 500L (a subcompact hatchback). Unlike the Fiat, the Renegade promises to be a somewhat decent off-roader, with a strengthened body. The Renegade goes on sale in early 2015.
2015 Infiniti QX30: To be produced alongside the Infiniti Q30 (a soon-to-be released compact hatchback), the Infiniti QX30 will be a small entry level luxury crossover. Both models will be based off a Mercedes-Benz platform. The QX30 will be released in late 2015.
2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class: The GLA-Class is the subcompact crossover sibling to the CLA-Class sedan. As such, it will be entry-level model for Mercedes utility lineup.

As subcompact crossovers grow at breakneck speeds more and more automakers smell the blood in the water. There’s opportunity here to graduate shoppers of cheaper subcompact- and compact sedans into more expensive subcompact crossovers—these models also offer a bridge to those looking for the versatility of a crossover, but think compact crossovers are too large, too expensive and or too fuel thirsty. Subcompact crossovers offer a unique blend of on-road presence, a taller ride height, easier step-in access, and greater versatility that consumers, particularly empty-nester Baby Boomers and younger urban professionals with children want in a vehicle.

Colin Bird brings to Mintel a decade’s worth of obsessive coverage of the automotive industry and is regularly called upon by leading media to provide analysis on the sector. Along with historical knowledge and industry relationships, he boasts a deep-rooted love and passion for automobiles and for the automotive industry.