• Nov 11th 2007 at 8:03PM
  • 11
Want to know the hottest, green trend in car design and the vehicles that are sure to turn heads in 2008? The answer, IMHO, is convertible, two door, mini SUV/crossovers. I have compiled a list of the top 10 best concept Jeeps and Jeep-like vehicles for you. Why will young, hip, urban types suddenly go Daisy Duke and start driving a Jeep? Small vehicles like sip gas when compared to an SUV and with gas prices probably going to $4 a gallon next year, a vehicle type even smaller than the crossover that maintains the usability and apparent safety of the SUV just might take off.

Major car makers like GM see green technology like hybrids and smaller design as a way to improve the mileage and sales of their best selling SUV. Crossovers as a solution to the problem of slowing SUV sales are losing steam and, as 2007 comes to a close, we are already seeing a Hummer even smaller than the 20 MPG H3 and the BMW Mini entering the SUV market. The Hummer and Mini SUV are on the top of our top 10, which you can read in full below the fold. Are you ready for modern, small off-roader?
Top 10 Jeep Concepts

1. Hummer Pick Up Truck H3T - I was shocked to learn the H3 actually gets 20 MPG and this even smaller Hummer pick up will probably get even higher mileage with the loss of a few doors. (Third quarter 2008)

2. Volkswagen's "Concept A" mini-SUV - The Concept A almost has a coupe-ish, roadster-like look and feel except for the giant tires. (2008 release date)

3. BMW Mini Clubman SUV - Not much longer than the normal Mini, the star brand of subcompacts just might show SUVs how it's done. (2009 release)

4. Smart Crosstown - Smart, like the Mini, is another star of the small car market that is taking aim at making a slightly bulkier car with the Crosstown. (No release date)

5. Audi Steppenwolf - Audi has designed a two-door, compact crossover that, like most of these cars, blurs our idea of a big and small car. (No release date)

6. Toyota Urban Cruiser - The Urban Cruiser from Toyota looks like a Yaris hatchback subcompact on some chemicals that might will get it booted from the Olympics. (No release date)

7. Hyundai Hellion - Hyundai shrunk the SUV then hit it with the ugly stick and the Hellion was born. (No release date)

8. Karmann SUC - I don't think Karmann tried too hard because the SUC (or Sport Utility Cabrio) just looks like a coupe with over sized tires or a photoshopped body.

9. Kia KND-4 - Kia's KND-4 concept is lower on list because Kia's take on the compact SUV market is just a bit too bulky. (No release date)

10. Jeep Compass - Technically, Jeep is not a vehicle type but a single company brand, so we had to include Jeep's two door, compact SUV, Compass. (Release? It's already out! Gets 28 MPG highway.)

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's the equivalent of nicotine gum for SUV lovers. You can't have a big SUV but at least you can have a scaled down toy version! God forbid they would actually drive a regular car.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The latest spy shots show the H3T as being a much BIGGER vehicle with MORE doors. It looks to be a crew cab pickup like the Sport Trac.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Does it matter if people drive a "regular car" if the SUV they are driving is just as efficient?
      • 7 Years Ago
      What about the Nissan Rogue?
      • 7 Years Ago
      "Volkswagen's "Concept A" mini-SUV - The Concept A almost has a coupe-ish, roadster-like look and feel except for the giant tires. (2008 release date)"
      The "Concept A" was the concept car that preceded the Tiguan - which is, at least in Europe, at dealers since last Friday.
      The Smart Crosstown was never planned to be a production car. They had plans for a larger SUV, which wer axed, alond with anything but the Fortwo.
      • 8 Months Ago
      I personally like #4. Smart Crosstown, mainly because a good idea can be improved upon seeing no rumble seat in the rear makes me want a version that one can be added if i want to so I can grocery shop or bring a third or fourth passenger alone, but why then don't I just get myself a canoe and a trailer to load up, extra passengers can't ride in a boat or a trailer so can't use either as well as a attachable rumble seat with top.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Thanks for the feedback everyone. Yeah, a few are not two doors but the Compass does lack the door latch and the door is a little smaller. Many on the list fail but an exact definition is mini-suv cross over is a vehicle 4250 and 4600 mm (170-185 in). Yes, most will probably never take these off road either but I think they have potential. I might get one :D

      • 7 Years Ago
      The Compass is a four door, not two door. And since the Patriot looks far, far better (what doesn't?) and is otherwise identical (it's the same platform and drivetrain as the Caliber and Compass), I'd rather get it instead. EPA estimates are identical, at least on 2WD models equipped with the same size engines. The Patriot offers a more robust (and actually off-road capable) AWD system, which the Compass lacks.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think the key tothe success of these types of mini-SUVs is styling. Obviously they won't be for off road enthusiasts, but by making stylish, efficient, and affordable they can do well. Having driven 2 of the new Smarts during their road show I think the convertible will sell very well, maybe even better than the coupe. The convertible offers a unique vehicle at a relatively low price. Smart should look to revive the Crosstown concept as a 4 seater with a fabric roof similar to the fortwo convertible. If they could sell a car like that for under 20K they would have a winner on their hands. All other things being equal, a good looking car will always out sell a bland one.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Does the Exiga 7 seater fit in this category?
      It seems a lot more practical than some of these others....
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is getting really stupid.

      With luck these kind of things are the final death nell for the SUV as a mainstream vehicle. But I doubt it.
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