2018 Buick EncoreEnlarge Photo
The small SUV segment has ballooned into a hugely important market for many automakers, as consumers continue to shift from traditional sedans to crossovers and other utility vehicles.
The smallest of the expanding array of SUVs on the market offers the flexibility of a hatchback or wagon, combined with the higher driving position many Americans have come to relish.
However, the entire United States hasn't fallen equally in love with small SUVs: one part of the country is responsible for much of the segment's huge popularity.
The Midwestern U.S. has been the region most responsible for the growth of sales among the smallest SUVs, according to a new survey.
Data from a study by Carjojo analyzed one year of sales for 18 small SUV models, and broke the findings down into regions: Northeast, Midwest, South, and West.
It's clear: the Midwest loves the small SUV, but the segment is barely a phenomenon out west.
2017 Honda HR-VEnlarge Photo
Vehicles like the Chevrolet Trax, Buick Encore, Toyota C-HR, Honda HR-V, and others make up the smallest set of SUVs, offering added utility, but fuel efficiency closer to that of compact and mid-size sedans.
According to the data, 15 percent of all new-vehicles sales in the Midwest were these small SUVs.
Additionally, sales of small SUVs surged 6 percent higher in the first half of 2017 than they had been during the first half of 2016.
In contrast, the smallest SUVs made up just 9 percent of new cars sales in the Western region of the U.S.
Although sales of small SUVs rose 8 percent year-over-year in the west, the segment still trails the Midwest by a large margin.
The Northeast is closer to the Midwest in purchases of the small SUVs, which represent 12 percent of the total market in the region.
2018 Hyundai KonaEnlarge Photo
In the South, interest in the segment is lukewarm, with 10 percent of the market share going to small SUVs.
As more automakers take to the segment, however, these figures may expand. Hyundai is on deck to introduce its Kona small SUV as a 2018 model, for example.
More importantly, as the smallest SUVs becomes increasingly popular, some automakers will enter the segment with electric cars, moving battery-powered vehicles from small hatchbacks into crossover utilities.
That includes some vehicles, notably the Chevrolet Bolt EV and the Kia Niro hybrid as well, marketed as "crossovers" even though they have neither the ground clearance nor the available all-wheel drive that define a utility vehicle.