Another one of my votes this year goes to Jeep, and I shall explain why.
For some time now, Hummer has held the title of the ultimate urban status symbol, sort of like an SUV on crack, and much more macho than an Escalade.
But Hummers are expensive, guzzle gas like a fiend, and are totally uncomfortable and unwieldy on normal streets. That is, unless you get one of the super fancy models with the DVD players and all that. Personally, I think that's just ridiculous, like putting make-up and a lacy dress on a body-builder. What's the point? You just canceled out everything that's cool about a Hummer in the first place.
Jeep, on the other hand, has all the military cache of a Hummer, but it's infinitely more realistic and drivable as an everyday vehicle. Their current models have a little bit of love-handles and secretary spread, unfortunately, but if they play their cards right, they could have a seriously cool-ass line of sport vehicles in a few years.
Here's the Hurricane from 2005:
This has everything a Hummer does, it's utterly tough, rugged, and musclebound, but at the same time, it's compact and smart. "Agile" doesn't even scratch the surface of its maneuverability, either:
It can turn around in one spot. Come on, now. That's freaking COOL. This thing could maneuver around a Hummer like a Jack Russell around an overweight St. Bernard.
But for 2008, they showed the Renegade:
This is sweet. It manages to look clean and slick and streamlined, but still has sinew and guts to it, and the pared-down no-nonsense grille is just classic. It's all you need. It looks like it could roll over a couple times and not even stop to catch its breath. The interior is real sharp and smooth, too:
I really do hope they decide to continue in this direction.
©2007, Ryan Witte