'Urban' SUVs (decidedly intended for city rather than off-road use) were a trend we noticed at this year's Detroit Auto Show. Several manufacturers have vehicles that could be identified as part of this segment, and it could be indicative of a new trend if these vehicles are well received by consumers.
In addition to the diesel-electric hybrid CrossBlue from Volkswagen, there was also a Honda comcept called the Urban SUV. And, more recently, we've also come across discussion of a Chevy Volt crossover vehicle. There's definitely a trend here.
The possible Chevy Volt-inspired crossover was being discussed at Autoguide, where they recently reported that Chevrolet has extended trademark on the name CrossVolt. GM has previously showed a concept Volt MPV5.
The trend toward smaller cars that are better suited to a more city-dwelling lifestyle appears to be increasing. Small vehicles like the Fiat 500, smart, Chevy Spark, Honda Fit, Scion iQ, and others are being sold to a market for which small, nimble vehicles are desirable. While small SUV may seem to be an oxymoron like 'jumbo shrimp,' the move toward smaller, lighter vehicles helps with overall fuel economy and efficiency.
Not all 'urban' SUVs will be hybrids. Honda has not announced much in the way of definite information about the Urban SUV (although it is scheduled for a 2014 North American debut), but some of the discussion about its features would indicate that it will be conventionally fueled, rather than a hybrid. But the trend toward smaller, more efficient and appropriately-scaled conventional vehicles can have as great an imapct on improving overall fleet efficiency as the flashier hybrids and EVs. It's a trend we will continue to keep an eye on.
written by Goutam Sahoo, March 20, 2013
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