Some things change in course of time. Aerodynamics have turned the motorised carriages of the old days into elegant streamline vehicles. Now, the urge for liberty changes the automotive world again and set higher car bodies against the wind. This is what European car makers consider for the mass-compatible price segments

The first examples already roll on our roads and there are much more of them to come: Compact and midsize SUVs and crossover off-road vehicles.

Actually, there's no objective need for cars like that in most cases but, what their appearance suggests is anticipated to become increasingly popular. By look, they promise the liberty of leaving tarmac and taking short cuts when ever desired. Factually, most of them won't be capable to live up to this suggestion, being not even fitted with four wheel drive.

Independent of real requirements, Europe's car makers are going to launch lots of these fashion items, since this is supposed to be all the rage soon. Premium labels such as Audi and Mercedes will come out with automotive offers for the concrete jungle as well as those who usually satisfy practical needs only. Nearly no one is afraid of the risks of investing on this expected boom.

No surprise! Underpinned by compact and mid-class cars, the additional expenses for such crossover vehicle projects are low. In the class of micro and small cars, the VW Polo Fun, the Rover Streetwise and the FIAT Panda 4x4 already provide a foretaste, and the interest in these things indicates that great impacts are possible.

draft: Mercedes X-class

DaimlerChrysler plans, at least, two vehi-
cles in accordance with the new fashion. Both share one basis: The new C-class. One is going to be labelled as Smart Formore, whilst the other will bear the tristar at its grille. And maybe, something derived from the upcoming B-class comes later too.

draft: smart Formore

Audi's thinks over several options as well. Besides an individual model that is very safe to come as Q5, an Allroad Quattro version of the A3 Sportback is also under consideration. The Q5 is going to be underpinned by a midsize Audi fitted with big engines including V8 powerplants for the U.S. market. But the Sportback variant has a fair chance too. Because, Ingolstadt contemplates a second attempt with this kind of cars and the A3 could be part of that experiment.

draft: Audi A3 Allroad

Volkswagen's vehicle of this class won't base on any Audi. Wolfsburg takes the Golf platform and uses many parts of the Golf Plus, the newest model of its compact car line. Currently there are no rumours about respective SEAT or Skoda SUVs but, such things can't be ruled out.

BMW already has the X3 that is under-
pinned by the 3-series' chassis. Thus, Munich is amongst the first in this niche but nonetheless, lots of rumours regarding further BeeEm's in this segment are circulating in the press. One refers to a mixture of a coupe and an SUV, as it was introduced as X-Coupe. It could be realised on the base of the 1- or 3-series, but there is no decision whether or not it will join the BMW line-up. The same for another possible creation of the BMW group, a crossover SUV bearing the label Mini.

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by Enes Canay

All rights reserved
[c] 2005

[1] Merc X-class
Very close to the forthcoming car, head lamps look cool but could be different on the original

[2] smart Formore
Body in Forfour-style. The rear section will probably be shaped more like that of a station wagon

[3] Audi A3 Allroad
Just a modified Sportback. Even though there will be differences, it's gonna look similar - if it really comes.