The face of war has changed.
The fight no longer takes place on open ground over great expanses of land. Combat in the 21st century is fought in confined spaces, building to building. The only reasons to leave the security of the home compound are excursions to the tight constraints of strip malls, or, worse, urban combined-use properties, for artisanal cupcakes and organic frozen yogurt.
Three-ton war machines don't intimidate combatants; the winners of conflicts must be fast and agile. A three-row SUV is not so much a luxury as it is a burden. The answer is the smaller, more efficient and carlike CUV, and we invited three of the best to battle it out.
The oldest of these is Motor Trend's 2012 Sport Utility Vehicle of the Year, the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque. Despite the king-size name, the Evoque established a new benchmark in small premium CUVs. It wraps an efficient four-cylinder drivetrain in fashion-forward sheetmetal. The BMW X1 arrives hot on its heels for 2013, despite having been on sale in Europe since 2010. Smaller and sportier than the X3, it is also the first BMW SUV to be offered in rear drive. Last is the Audi Allroad, the slightly hiked-up replacement for the departed A4 Avant wagon.