Polar Vortexes Altered Car Shopping Preferences

Utility vehicles experienced a surge in popularity

The harsh winter, during which many areas of the United States saw temperatures dip well below zero degrees, changed car shopping preferences, according to a new study from Swapalease.com, with utility vehicles replacing certain other car segments as a popular choice in several locations.

"While it makes sense to see the winter elements encourage a shift to larger utility-type vehicles, the most recent winters did not have this effect on shopping patterns," said Scot Hall, Executive Vice President of Swapalease.com. "However, a consistent wave of arctic-type conditions may have contributed to this winter's shift in shopping preferences in many parts of the country."

Midsize sedans remained the most popular segment for consumers, but utility vehicles saw big spikes in interest over the course of this frosty winter. About fourteen percent of car shoppers preferred midsize crossovers (up from 9.2 percent last winter), 13.2 percent preferred full-size crossovers (up from 7.5 percent) and 11.8 percent preferred midsize SUVs (up from 6.9%).

Compact crossovers and SUVs, as well as entry level cars were noticeable exclusions from this winter's most-preferred list.

Below are the most-shopped types of cars from winter 2014, according to Swapalease, and the corresponding percent of car shoppers that opted for a particular segment.

Upper midsize car (14.3 percent)

Midsize crossover (14.1 percent)

Full-size crossover (13.2 percent)

Midsize SUV (11.8 percent)

Entry midsize car (9.4 percent)

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