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.)