Two Door SUVs Aren’t Making A Comeback And These Five Oddballs May Tell Us Why
So many Two-Door SUVs, I am actually amazedby Safet Satara, on
I started my research on this topic by entering three words in the google search bar - “Two Door SUVs” - and the first result that came out is a story authored by Doug DeMuro titled “Every Single Two-Door SUV Has Failed.” I feel that the guy is right. Like 100 percent right. Especially after reading a freaking list of two-door SUVs that actually existed and that still exist in this world of ours. While DeMuro really did provide an extensive list mentioning 29 different two-door SUVs, I managed to find a few more of them, that, of course, failed. Now, I will not list all of them, but I will mention five interesting two-door SUVs that we may have forgotten about. I am writing about them only to show you that modern two-door SUV interpretations are probably doomed and destined to fail.
Why will they fail?
Probably because they do not offer the utility and convenience of four-door SUVs and because SUVs aren’t made for fun adventure seekers anymore. Ever since people with kids decided they want to remain cool despite having three child seats in the back, a backpack full of diapers and wet wipes for all the wrong reasons, SUVs started their sales ascent. Now, they are so well endowed with convenience, that four-door SUVs are devouring everything else - sedans, minivans, and hatchbacks. With that, two-door SUVs became even more niche.
Without further ado on this sad proposition, I am giving you five two-door SUVs you may have forgotten about.
Ok, I could have written the Dodge Ramcharger here and you’d know right away all about the car, but where’s the fun in that?!
The Plymouth TrailDuster is the only Plymouth SUV, but the name may actually lead you to think that this is a Plymouth-only endeavor.
Well, it is not. The TrailDuster is actually a rebadged Dodge Ramcharger. The two are built on the same platform and share virtually everything.
Available from 1974 to 1981 in its first generation, the TrailDuster was a large SUV competing with the likes of full-size Ford Bronco, or the K5 Chevy Blazer.
Yup, this was yet another competitor in this segment.
It is a bit sad that all of the cars from this segment actually died off, with Chevy only now revealing the Blazer (as a crossover) and Ford announcing the Bronco for 2020 (as a proper off-roader). Nevertheless, the Plymouth is no more. Not only as in the TrailDuster, but as the car manufacturer as well.
The RamCharger and the TrailDuster are, unfortunately, icons of two-door SUV failure as they weren’t able to attract enough buyers and actually weren’t as profitable as they should have been to justify the development of new versions.
That said, they weren’t bad cars, either. Heck, Plymouth went so overboard with power that it even offered a 7.1-liter V-8 at the very start. Along with a 5.2-liter and a 5.9-liter V-8.
Based on the Jeepster vehicle of the same name and design, the Jeep Commando was a two-year effort by a young Jeep company to offer a captivating vehicle and cash in on the SUV-barren marketplace in 1971 and 1972. The effort ended swiftly despite the Jeep Commando actually being powered AMC engines that developed between 100 and 210 horsepower. Codenamed the C104, the Jeep Commando was never among the beloved in the stardom of Jeep enthusiasts, but the fact is that Jeep Commando clubs do exist and guard the memory of the Commando from the depths of oblivion.
With only 9,837 units sold in 1973, the Commando simply wasn’t popular enough for Jeep to keep it in production.
It was replaced by the Cherokee. Interestingly enough, the Cherokee that replaced it was a two-door SUV that Jeep actually kept in one form or another for a long time. Nevertheless, despite the dashing looks of the two-door Cherokee, Jeep had to discontinue it. Actually, right now, apart from the two-door Wrangler, Jeep does not actually have a two-door SUV. Would a two-door Cherokee do any good? Probably not considering that all modern two-door SUVs did poorly - the Evoque, the Paceman, or, say, that quirky Nissan Murano Cabriolet. I know it is not exactly the best representative of the group, but I had to mention it because it is so bonkers.
Trying to replace the Samurai, Suzuki revealed a quite astonishing X-90. It was a small coupe/sedan thing taking the shape unlike any other car of the time. With two doors, two seats, a coupe-style roof, and raised clearance, I feel that the X-90 was more like an off-road Miata than an actual replacement for the Suzuki Samurai.
Nevertheless, the Japanese found out soon enough that the strange looks and extreme layout weren’t exactly on par with anyone’s taste.
In fact, Suzuki couldn’t sell enough of them to justify keeping it on the market for more than two years.
In that time, Suzuki imported exactly 7,205 units in the U.S. With a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine, the X-90 was more like a quirky niche car than a serious effort by a serious car company.
The thing is that Suzuki wasn’t exactly basking in money at the time which means that it used the Suzuki Vitara basis for the development of the X-90. No one bought it. Well, not no one, but not enough for sure. Now, they are considered something like oddballs from the Nineties - cars capable of making serious strides into the collector’s hands as not many of them were actually preserved. Those that have been preserved aren’t expensive but are misfits nonetheless.
The new Bronco is coming soon. It will be a proper off-roader and a car designed to specifically appeal to purists. How else could one explain such rich development and numerous Ford announcements noting its off-road credentials?! Yet, in order to create such car, Ford had to reinvent its whole approach to designing an SUV.
That happened in 1966 with the introduction of a small, tiny, two-door, 151-inch long Bronco.
A legend started. A legend so powerful that it inspired a dramatically different approach to SUV design within Ford.
The car considerably grew in size becoming a proper family compact SUV with some serious off-roading pedigree over the years. Up to all 1996 that is, as Ford pulled the plug on the Bronco and its two-door versions at the time. Sure, the OJ Simpson chase furthered the marketing cause of the Ford Bronco, but even that wasn’t enough to make the powerful icon of the free world capitalize. Instead, the Bronco lost. Not forever though as we are eagerly waiting for the new car to appear.
Chevrolet Blazer K5
It is quite sad that Chevrolet unveiled the new Blazer, but only to sell it as a family SUV. Ok, the way of the market is like that, but Ford found a way to offer their Bronco in its pure off-roading form. Or, at least, we are led to believe that Ford will do just that. Nevertheless, the 1969 - 1972 K5 Blazer is considered to be one of the most alluring cars of the last century.
Back in the day, it was just right in terms of size and utility, with Chevrolet producing the Blazer K5 until 1991. With various updates, of course.
The new car pales in comparison with the old one, although, it must be said - it should be great at what it was made to do - be an awesome family car. Its two-door version died with the last generation of the S-10 based Blazer. Now, the new car is far away from that kind of flamboyance, although fans would definitely like to see Chevy “reinvent the wheel” with the two-door Blazer.
While I could list all the two-door SUVs that have ever existed, I don’t think that would bring us anywhere. Instead, I will tell you that the best off-roaders which actually built a cult following and provided the basis for the growth of brands were all two-door machines. I am talking here about the Gelandewagen, about the Toyota FJ Cruiser, or the Suzuki Samurai. All of them were simple machines built with passion,... and mud. A lot of mud.
Nevertheless, two-door SUVs aren’t gonna rule the world.
Despite the cool Blazer K5 or the madly cool S-10, the Blazer has been resurrected as a freaking crossover. While we can expect the new Bronco, it will probably be a five-door, although that picture we shared some time ago did raise some eyebrows. Despite being some of the biggest names in the business, I have to note the failures of famous manufacturers and vehicles like the Mini Paceman, the Range Rover Evoque Coupe, or the Toyota Land Cruiser two-door.
List of two-door SUVs (with some help from Doug DeMuro article)
Mini Paceman, Range Rover Evoque, Chevrolet Blazer K5, Chevrolet Blazer S-10, Chevrolet Tahoe, Daihatsu Rocky, Dodge Raider, Dodge Ramcharger, Ford Bronco, Ford Explorer, GMC Yukon, Isuzu Amigo, Isuzu Trooper, Isuzu VehiCROSS, Jeep Cherokee, Kia Sportage, Land Rover Defender 90, Land Rover Freelander, Mercedes-Benz G-Class, MINI Paceman, Mitsubishi Montero, Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet, Nissan Pathfinder, Range Rover, Range Rover Evoque, Suzuki Samurai, Suzuki Sidekick/Vitara, Suzuki X-90, Toyota 4Runner, Toyota Land Cruiser, Toyota RAV4.