Costa Mesa, California – The gap in consumer interest between crossover utility vehicles (CUVs) and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) continues to widen, according to a report released by vehicle pricing and information site The company said interest in CUVs increased 14.8 per cent in April 2008 when compared to April 2007, while SUV interest was down 15.9 per cent during the same timeframe.

The company defines “consumer interest” as the number of in-market vehicle shoppers who accessed pricing information for a specific vehicle on the Web site.

Three of the top ten CUVs showing the greatest increase in consumer interest in April 2008, when compared to April 2007, were hybrids: the Mercury Mariner Hybrid (a model not sold in Canada) up 165.3 per cent, the Ford Escape Hybrid up 73.8 per cent, and the Toyota Highlander Hybrid up 50.9 per cent.

“The fact that three of the top ten CUVs showing the greatest increase in interest were hybrids demonstrates that fuel efficiency is a serious concern,” said Tara Baukus Mello, lead market analyst at “Consumers are not only interested in the styling and handling characteristics of a CUV, they’re also interested in saving money at the gas pump.”

The top ten CUVs researched, in order, were the Hyundai Veracruz, Mercury Mariner Hybrid, Buick Enclave, Subaru Forester, Porsche Cayenne, Saturn Vue, Ford Escape Hybrid, Chevrolet HHR, Toyota Highlander Hybrid and Mazda5.

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