Mini USA Sales Charts - August 2014 YTD

2013 Mini Countryman Red
53% of the Minis sold in America in August 2014 were Countrymans and Pacemans. The Countryman was Mini's best-selling model variant, responsible for 50% more Mini sales than the company's original model, the one they call the Hardtop.

U.S. Auto Sales Brand Rankings - August 2014 YTD
• U.S. Car Sales Rankings By Model - August 2014 YTD

Now in its third BMW iteration, the Hardtop's launch has been a slow one. This isn't necessarily a reflection on the car's popularity, as many Minis are individualized models that take time to cross the Atlantic. We've yet to see the full impact of what the new Mini can do.

In the meantime, the Countryman is floating Mini's boat. Granted, Mini's boat isn't sitting that high in the water: sales have decreased in each of 2014's first eight months. Countryman sales jumped 48% in August even as the rest of Mini's range slid 41%. Year-to-date, Mini Countryman sales are up 6%; the rest of the Mini lineup is collectively down 34%.

2015 Hyundai Sonata Limited Review - Less Style, Less Power, More Of Everything Else

2015 Hyundai Sonata Limited red
In the corners of our brain where the abstract controls the synapses, trains run on time only if we allow a car to charm us, to woo and seduce and enchant.

I find the sound of a Jaguar F-Type V8 S appealing and the wind-in-my-hair romanticism of a Mazda MX-5 captivating and I'm fascinated by the roofline of Mercedes-Benz's CLS Shooting Brake.

• Improved ride quality

• Feels more, not less powerful
• Interior feels Genesis-like
• Turbo 2.0L is a cheap upgrade
• Always a great value
• Styling has far less impact
• Over-assisted brake pedal
• Very comfort-oriented
• 2.4L getz buzzy
• Hard centre armrest

There are other corners of our brain, however, that look a lot like spreadsheets. And on those spreadsheets, there are no columns for charm or seduction or fascination.

Increasingly, midsize cars perform very poorly in the corners of my brain first mentioned, and exceedingly well in the latter.

Hyundai's 2015 Sonata is one such car.

Small And Midsize Luxury SUV Sales In America - August 2014 YTD

2015 Audi Q3
Despite a 9% year-over-year decline the Acura RDX was America's leading small premium (semi-premium) crossover in August 2014. Combined, the Audi Q5 and its new small sibling, the Q3, totalled 4000 August sales. BMW sold 3942 X1s, X3s, and X4s. 

U.S. Vehicle Sales Rankings By Model - August 2014 YTD
• U.S. SUV/Crossover Sales Rankings By Model - August 2014 YTD

USA luxury SUV sales chart August 2014
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Small premium crossovers were collectively up 15% compared with August 2013. Setting aside the four utility vehicle nameplates which weren't on sale at this stage a year ago, sales of the continuing nameplates were down 3%. 

In other words, the segment grew last month, though partially at the expense of established vehicles like the RDX, Q5, X1, X3, and Range Rover Evoque. 

So far this year, sales of these small luxury crossovers are up 14.5%. Without the Q3, X4, MKC, and Macan, sales are up 7.5%.