American drivers are ditching their SUVs for smaller vehicles in droves—but they're cramming in all the extra comforts they can, reports the New York Times. Buyers are spending thousands on bonus features such as heated leather seats and top entertainment systems. The trend gives a rare glimmer of hope to Detroit, which has always struggled to make money from small cars.
Buyers downsizing to avoid paying $100 every time they fill up are increasingly concerned with fuel efficiency rather than sticker price. Auto dealerships—some of which used to give away inexpensive small cars to pickup buyers—have dropped discounts and filled their lots with upgraded vehicles. With multiple options added, the Mini Cooper's $18,050 price tag can jump to well over $40,000. (Read more Toyota Yaris stories.)