By on September 17, 2015

USA subcompact SUV sales chart August 2015

Led by the Subaru XV Crosstrek and Jeep Renegade, U.S. sales of subcompact crossovers jumped 104 percent to nearly 43,000 units in August 2015, a year-over-year gain of 22,000 sales. August marked the second consecutive month in which segment-wide sales more than doubled.

The addition of new candidates certainly provides a massive boost to the nascent category, but most established players produced gains last month, as well. The subcompact CUVs which were on sale a year ago combined for a 7-percent increase in August and a 7-percent increase through the first eight months of 2015.

But five new competitors, including three of the segment’s five top sellers in August, produced 48 percent of all subcompact crossover sales in the United States last month.

The Jeep Renegade, Chevrolet Trax, Honda HR-V, Fiat 500X, and Mazda CX-3 contributed 20,435 sales in August 2015, up from nada in August 2014, prior to their arrival.

At Jeep, the Renegade recorded its best month yet. With 8,156 August sales, Jeep has now reported 28,907 Renegade sales over the course of the model’s first six months. Renegade volume has increased each and every month, rising 30 percent in July and then 29 percent in August, month-to-month.

2016 Honda HR-V

August was the Chevrolet Trax’s ninth month of availability in America. (The Trax went on sale in Canada just after Christmas 2012.) Trax sales reached the highest level yet in July and slipped by only 126 units to 5,985 in August.

Limited availability has curtailed the volume achieved by the Honda HR-V, which posted its lowest-volume month yet in August. Honda sold nearly 6,400 HR-Vs in May, another 7,760 in the best month of June, just under 6,000 in July before dipping to 4,567 sales in August. The still-fresh Fit subcompact car on which the HR-V is based was up 68 percent through the first four months of 2015, but since the HR-V debuted, Fit sales are down 0.6 percent, including a 52-percent plunge to only 2,901 units in August.

The Fit isn’t the only subcompact, or compact for that matter, suffering as subcompact utility vehicles become more commonplace. While you may follow Bark M in a pursuit for your own Ford Fiesta ST, overall Fiesta volume is down 3 percent this year, a disappointing follow-up to the Fiesta’s 8-percent decline at this stage last year. But the Fiesta’s decline isn’t nearly as dreadful as the subcompact slide at Chevrolet, where the Trax has joined the Sonic on which it’s based. Sonic volume is down 33 percent this year. Subcompact cars, as a whole, are down 9 percent, a far worse slide than the overall passenger car sector is enduring.

TTAC subcompact SUV sales chart August 2015 YTD

Meanwhile, the aging Fiat 500 tumbled 19 percent through the first eight months of 2015. In August, Fiat lost 1,275 500 sales while adding 1,029 copies of the 500X.

Mazda USA finally began delivering its first CX-3s last month. Although only 698 were sold in August, the CX-3 is expected to produce greater volume than the subcompact 2 ever did in the U.S. Mazda won’t bother bringing the new 2, from which this CX-3 is derived, to the United States. (You can buy the new 2 in sedan form as the Scion iA.) North of the border, the CX-3 has quickly become the segment’s number two player, trailing only the HR-V. Mazda, however, is a far bigger player in Canada than in the U.S.

The now five-year-old Juke appears to be the contender that’s faring worst now that so many new alternatives attempt to steal the show. After consistently selling more than 35,000 Jukes per year between 2011 and 2014, Nissan is on track to sell fewer than 30,000 Jukes in 2015. Year-over-year, Juke volume levelled off in August 2015, but the smallest Nissan crossover was down 43 percent compared with August 2013.


Similarly, Mini’s Countryman, which arrived on U.S. shores in late 2010, is diving quickly in 2015. Sales are down 29 percent this year as the Countryman must also face off against another four-door in Mini showrooms, a car which didn’t exist a year ago.

Lacking an all-wheel-drive option, we left the Kia Soul out of this equation, but it’s worth noting that the boxy Kia just posted its best month of U.S. sales in the nameplate’s history. 17,108 Souls were sold in August 2015, topping all of the vehicles in this post. Maybe all-wheel-drive isn’t quite as vital as we thought…

Timothy Cain is the founder of, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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26 Comments on “Subcompact Crossover Sales Doubled In August...”

  • avatar

    How is the XV Crosstrek a subcompact crossover? It’s a lifted, active lifestyle focused, version of Subaru’s compact car.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree.
      This past week I have been advising my little sister on a new, slightly used CUV for her daughter.
      Looking over all the choices for a 25K and below car, the Crosstrek keeps coming up as a winner because of it size. And I tell her this is because it is really in disguise. It really belongs up a category.

      But regardless…as we have been discussing here recently, pay a bit more and get a whole lot more for your money.
      The Crosstrek and the CX5 fit in here.
      I was able to show her CX5s with a few miles on them with a 2.5 for the very same price she would pay for a HR V with her options.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      The XV is half a foot shorter than the Forester and 4.6 inches lower; half a foot longer than HR-V and is virtually the same height, only with greater ground clearance.

      Forester offers 41% more cargo capacity behind the rear seats and 6% more passenger volume in comparison with XV. HR-V offers slightly more cargo and passenger volume than XV.

      I see the XV as a car, largely because it’s so visually identical to the Impreza but also because the Subaru sales reps I speak with tell me people are buying the XV because it’s not an SUV. As a result, at GCBC, we display XV sales figures with small cars and also with these subcompact CUVs, unable to deny the degree to which the car is elevated: 8.7 inches to the CX-3’s 5.9 or 6.0. Like the Outback, it truly defines the term crossover, as it genuinely crosses over from one category to the other… and back again. Depending on who’s answering the question, it’s either a car or an SUV or a crossover. In terms of dimensions, it’s undeniably too compact inside to be linked with “compact” utilities like the Forester and its direct rivals. Thus, one step down from those top sellers (CR-V, Escape, RAV4, Rogue). Added to this, one could argue that almost all of these vehicles – Wrangler, 4Runner, full-size BOF SUVs, etc. excluded – are just lifted, active lifestyle focused, versions of ____’s ____ car.

      • 0 avatar

        It gets all confusing.

      • 0 avatar

        The half-car/half-SUV nature of the Crosstrek is why I bought it. I wanted something with a lot of ground clearance and reasonable cargo space but without the very upright seating position that SUVs and crossovers tend to have. I’ve never even had to adjust the driver’s seat — it fit me perfectly right from the dealer. I also appreciate that the roofline is lower than most of the competition, which makes it easier to put a bike on the roof rack.

        To be honest I’m surprised to see the Crosstrek selling so well, because I wouldn’t recommend it to most people. The Forester and CR-V are close in size and are better overall packages for the typical family. But the Crosstrek was a good fit for me.

      • 0 avatar

        But you are forgetting a price limitation, which is why the Crosstrek keeps shining.
        The Premium Crosstrek was coming in around 22K. With better power and AWD.
        The Honda was forcing her into the top level with the things she required.
        I had nothing against any of them. For the money, they were all decent. It is just that I felt 24.5K for a small HR V was kinda nuts.
        Me? I wanted the slightly used, fully loaded, very few miles CX5 with 2.5 for the very same price

      • 0 avatar

        Regardless of how it is defined or categorized it is following a familiar script…….Everything Subby does in recent years seems to turn to gold.

  • avatar

    Obviously we need more crossovers in the business. Every brandname should now make one. Two even.

  • avatar

    Jeep really needs to license that song by the x ambassadors.

  • avatar

    The Crossover is replacing the 4-door sedan because many companies don’t make large-enough 4-door sedans.

    …the large cars on the market: Charger, 300, Impala, Genesis, Azera…are a bit expensive and many don’t offer AWD.

    Add to that the availability of AWD on these CUV and the higher ground clearance…

    …and the lower prices….

    …it’s a perfect storm to put these credit-crunchees in a CUV.

    I had a Cadillac SRX 3.6-L with NAv and Moonroof this week on vacation. Not bad, but $55,000. That’s too much for the modern plebeian.

  • avatar

    This is a ridiculous segment, and I can’t wait for it to go away. Also, the CX-3 looks very poorly without tints.

  • avatar

    Can we have some truth in size classing? How is the Crosstrek a subcompact? Or the Renegade? Vehicles have gotten so much bigger, they are actually rated a size above their claimed class by the government based on interior volume. Aside from the Fiat 500 and a couple others, what vehicles out there are truly in the subcompact class?

    These “subcompacts” are just filling in the gap because the formerly small crossovers have gotten so big.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes and no. The first CUV, the RAV4 (well, we could argue day and night about what actually constitutes “first,” but let’s just go with that for simplicity’s sake), was definitely subcompact by today’s standards (95″ WB vs. 104.7″), but the CR-V rides on the same 103″ WB as it did in 1997, and it’s not any longer either. It has gotten an inch and a half wider, which is a good thing in my book.

      The HR-V has only a .3″ shorter WB than any CR-V, but is 9″ shorter and is the same width as the original CR-V. The CR-V has gotten lower over the years (I dunno if it’s lost any ground clearance, but probably), but the HR-V is still lower yet at 63.2″ vs. 65.1″.

      Similarly, the CX-3 is smaller in every dimension than the original Mazda Tribute/Ford Escape. I think the CX-5 has the longest WB of any compact CUV at 106.3″.

  • avatar

    Anyone really like the HRV’s low windshield header? It’s weird and the vehicle needs the new Civic engines soon. The perambulating unit from the old Civic wheezes its way around like it’s completely overmatched by reality. Came dead last in the C/D comparo as well. It’s the ultimate “I gave up on life” vehicle for people who’ve lost their zest for living.

    Consequently, it’s selling very well.

    The Soul just needs optional AWD, which Hyundai has in its parts bin, and all these little crapsters would be toast bar the CX-3. Never thought I’d prefer a Kia to the mainstream makes, but it does stand out and is cheerful.

    • 0 avatar

      Your perpetual snark against cars without performance pretensions or intentions is one reason I’m so fond of the phrase “adolescents of all ages”.

      But I suppose you’re found a fountain of youth of some kind, even if only in your endocrine system, so well done!

    • 0 avatar

      Car and Driver’s website shows it ranked above the Chevy Trax and Buick Encore in its class. The test on their HR-V landing page reveals it to be a slow AWD car that averaged 35 MPG in their hands. I don’t think I’ve seen any non-hybrid average that high in their hands, let alone an AWD car with zero crutches. It doesn’t hold much appeal to me, but I wouldn’t denigrate any current Honda customer if I were you.

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