Mini, Nissan, Mitsubishi downsize the SUV

CNET Car Tech checks out compact SUVs at the 2010 Geneva auto show.

Nissan Juke
Nissan's compact crossover, the Juke, competes directly with the Mini Countryman. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

GENEVA--Following the trend in small cars, Mini, Nissan, and Mitsubishi all showed off tiny versions of SUVs at the 2010 Geneva auto show. Called compact crossovers by the companies that make them, these new production vehicles take attributes of the SUV--all wheel drive, a high-riding position, cargo space--and fit them into a very small package.

The Mini Countryman and Nissan Juke compete head-to-head, offering similar engines in bodies that nearly match in dimensions. Both have turbocharged 1.6-liter direct-injection four-cylinder engines, with the Juke getting a one horsepower lead over the Countryman. Both offer all-wheel-drive systems, the Mini's geared toward better control on slippery roads while the Nissan's is oriented toward handling performance.

The Mitsubishi ASX is a horse of another color. Using a diesel engine in its European version, it is substantially bigger than the Nissan and Mini. We also looked at the new Volkswagen Cross Golf at the show, an ostensibly rugged version of the Golf.

Check out our photos for detailed specs on all the cars, and find out which our slated for the U.S.

About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.


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