Auto Manifesto

January 24, 2008

Vehicle Trend: Adventure Vehicles

Pick up trucks and SUVs are going to get smaller. Between the energy and environmental issues, vehicles will get lighter (not necessarily light but lighter), and have smaller footprints.

Granted, full size pick ups aren’t going to go away, especially if they’re used as work vehicles. But the ones used as personal vehicles that occasionally are used for hauling stuff around will transition the way that truck-based SUVs shifted to car-based crossovers.

Of course, the original adventure vehicle is the Jeep Wrangler which now enjoys stronger sales than ever. More recent examples that made it to production are the Honda Ridgeline and Toyota FJ Cruiser.

At this year’s Detroit show several concepts were unveiled that further explored this idea in varying shades such as the Toyota A-BAT, Hummer HX, Suzuki X-Head, and Jeep Renegade.

Much like the Mini, Audi A3, and Volvo C30 making the case for premium small cars, we’ll likely see the same with trucks as they morph into adventure vehicles with nicer interiors, innovative packaging, and multi-functional dimensions. Think of the new breed as Swiss Army Knives on wheels.

Links to pics:

Hummer HX
Jeep Renegade
Suzuki X-Head
Toyota A-BAT

1/31/08 Update: Chrysler's Jim Press seems to agree

2/5/08 Update: Automotive News is reporting a rumor that Lexus is considering a "compact SUV for urban buyers".

2/14/08 Update: Toyota seriously considering A-BAT? And I neglected to add this a few days ago about the GMC Denali XT concept.

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