New automotive trend: Small, fuel-efficient SUVs

New automotive trend: Small, fuel-efficient SUVsPartially as a response to federal fuel efficiency regulations, automakers have started scaling down their SUV models to produce what some have called "mini-crossovers" – fuel efficient cars that strive to appeal to multiple demographics.

The Nissan Juke is considered by some to be the first example of such a mini-crossover, according to USA Today. The automaker said it got its inspiration from the European market, where its Rogue was considered too big. 

Automakers in competition with Nissan have unveiled their own mini-crossovers, including BMW's Mini Cooper Countryman, Ford's Vertrek and Hyundai's Curb, the news source reports. 

According to Jesse Toprak, vice president at TrueCar.com, the mini-crossover is expected to be a "hot segment" of the auto market – it is marketed to appeal to 20-somethings with limited budgets and an eye for the vehicles' edgy exteriors, and middle-aged drivers who appreciate the cars' practicality and fuel efficiency. 

Prices for such cars are expected to be well below $20,000 for some models, making these mini-crossovers within the reach of most budgets with an online car loan, even for consumers with bad credit history