More drivers prefer compact, fuel-efficient cars

February 22, 2012 12:00 AM

High gas prices are driving consumers to seek out more fuel-efficient vehicles, which has led to a rise in interest for compact vehicles. Ford, General Motors and Chrysler have all been introducing compact vehicles to their lineups, such as the all-new Chevy Sonic and the Dodge Calibur, to compete with automakers Toyota and Honda, who previously dominated the small-car market.

AutoTrader's recent New Car Insight Report, which tracks how much interest is generated by shoppers on the website, found that of the top 20 researched vehicles, two were hybrids and nine were compact vehicles.The Ford Focus saw a 27.6 percent increase in shopper research month-over-month, and the Toyota Corolla and Yaris have garnered more interest as well.

"We are watching the competitive compact segment closely," said Rick Wainschel, the vice president of automotive insights for "After a challenging 2011, Toyota appears to be bouncing back and regaining interest from shoppers, which bodes well for the automaker. And while the big three domestic automakers haven't traditionally fared well with small cars, they are certainly holding their own in our recent shopping trends."

Drivers who are behind the wheel of older vehicles can take steps to improve the fuel economy of their current vehicles. Getting regular car maintenance and oil changes are great ways to keep a vehicle running well and efficiently.

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