It only stands to reason - you buy the type of vehicle you need for your surroundings.  A convertible might be nice in sunny California or Arizona, but it's not very practical in Minnesota in January.

That's why it should come as no surprise that recent research by a car leasing company shows that the especially-harsh winter of 2013-2014 has affected Minnesota car buyers habits and decisions.

According to Swapalease.com data, in the previous three years (2010 – 2013), the majority of Minnesota residents shopped for vehicles in the Mid-Size Crossover segments between the months of November and February. Compared against all twenty-four car and truck segments, Mid-Size Crossovers (Mazda CX-9; Toyota Highlander; Honda Pilot) were the shopping choice for a Swapalease.com vehicle lease 14.8% of the time, followed by Full-Size Cars at 13.3% (Toyota Avalon; Nissan Maxima; Ford Taurus).

However, during the current winter season there has been a slight shift among favorite shopping preferences to a larger, truck-based vehicle choice. Since November 2013, the majority of Minnesota residents using Swapalease.com have shopped for a Full-Size Crossover 15.6% of the time (GMC Acadia; Chevrolet Traverse; Ford Flex), followed by Mid-Size SUV at 14.3% (Toyota 4-Runner; GMC Envoy; Ford Explorer; Chevy Trailblazer).

An averaged list of customer preferences in vehicles before this winter began - compiling 2010-2013 data - puts Mid-Size Crossovers in the lead, being picked 14.8% of the time, followed by Full-Size Cars 13.3% of the time.  In third place, it was Mid-Size Pickups  at 13.1%, then Entry-Level Cars at 12.6%, and finally Full-Size Pickups with 10.9%.

Compare that to data from this winter;  Admittedly the season isn't over, but customers are choosing  Full-Size Crossover 15.6% of the time, followed by Mid-Size SUV's at 14.3%, Full-Size SUV's at 11.2%, Upper Mid-Size Cars with 10.5%, and Mid-Size Pickups at 9.2%.

The data suggests that customers are choosing practical SUV's over perceived luxury and comfort.

[Data for this artical was obtained in part from a press release provided by swapalease.com.]