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2005 Cute Ute Buyer's Guide

2005 Cute Ute Buyer's Guide

by Martha Hindes

Ounce for ounce, as anyone of more diminutive proportions can tell you, overall size isn't really what counts. Rather, it's what's contained in the package, how well it functions and where it fits in the scheme of things. In offering our "Cute Utes" buyers guide for 2005, we look at many different qualifications, from rough 'n tumble scramble ability, to funky function, to no-nonsense enduring, to just plain good looks.

And while this category traditionally highlights entry level vehicles in primarily the smaller sport utility class, we are reminded that even premier nameplates have their durable-duty, "entry-level" models -- relatively speaking.

The 2005 model year brought a number of new and freshened compact utility vehicles to market and we call attention to some important and intriguing developments. A few old favorites we've omitted aren't gone for good. They'll be back when future revisions grab our wandering eye.

And while we won't do hubcap-to-hubcap comparisons of such specifics as wheelbase length, horsepower, prices and available options -- these aren't sports figures at a pre-match weigh-in, after all -- we invite you to sample the variety. We feel they offer something for just about anyone interested in a smallish SUV.