The 6 Best (and 5 Weirdest) 2 Door SUVs of All Time
The two-door sport-utility vehicle is a rare beast on the modern market. Once plentiful throughout the '80s and '90s, the impracticality of a two-door setup in daily living finally won out over the benefits of a shorter wheelbase out on the trail and winnowed the available offerings down to one: the venerable Jeep Wrangler.
With Ford seeking to break Jeep's lock on the SUV "coupe" segment with its upcoming Bronco (which is rumored to be available in both two-door and four-door editions), we thought we'd put together a list of the best—and the weirdest—two-door sport-utility vehicles ever built.
Let us know if we missed any of your favorites.
1. Jeep Wrangler
It's been known by several names, and ridden on many different platforms over the years—CJ, YJ, TJ, JK, JL—but Jeep's most popular two-door platform is the only SUV of its kind to have enjoyed continuous production since it first appeared on the scene in the 1940s. It has maintained its solid axles, removable doors and top, and incredible off-road prowess since the very beginning, and although recent models are far more modern in terms of drivetrain and creature comforts than their predecessors could lay claim to, the basic Wrangler formula continues to generate enormous profits for the brand.
2. Ford Bronco
The Ford Bronco was the most successful of the me-too copycats seeking to jump on the SUV bandwagon largely built on the back of Jeep's early efforts. The first-generation truck (1966-1967) was a small and capable open-air trail toy that would eventually evolve into the still-convertible Big Bronco design that reigned from 1978 to 1996. These later models were based on the same chassis as the F-150 full-size pickup, with extra brawn and size to match.
3. Land Rover Defender 90
The Land Rover Defender 90 is an almost mythical beast on this side of the Atlantic, a vehicle that was only rarely imported by off-road aficionados in the know. Named after its wheelbase, in inches, the Defender 90 represented the early '80s evolution of Land Rover's legendary Series III, gaining a number of chassis modernizations and features that made it marginally more livable on the pavement. Far from the beaten path, the Defender was an almost unstoppable 4x4, and it would live on until modern fuel, safety and pollution requirements snuffed out its production in 2016.
4. Chevrolet K5 Blazer
The Chevrolet K5 Blazer was developed in direct response to Ford's Bronco, but it went all-in on borrowing from the C/K line of pickups right from its 1969 start. It also maintained its full convertible status into its second generation, switching to the Bronco's half-cab look in 1975 (and keeping it until it moved to the GMT400 platform in 1992).
5. Isuzu Trooper
Chances are you're familiar with the four-door Isuzu Trooper, which has been sold under a bewildering number of nameplates (including Acura, Chevrolet, Opel, Holden and Subaru) over the course of its lifespan. The model we're concerned with, however, is the less-common two-door, which was primarily known as the Trooper on U.S. roads. Equipped with a surprisingly rugged low-range four-wheel drive system and a choice between stout four-cylinder and V6 engines, the Trooper has quietly carved out a niche as a cult favorite among 4x4 enthusiasts.
6. Toyota Land Cruiser
The FJ40 edition of the venerable Toyota Land Cruiser has a global reputation almost as long and distinguished as the Land Rover Series I through III. Offered between 1960 and 1984, the FJ40's upright design would inspire the sorta-two-door FJ Cruiser in the mid-2000s, but more importantly it would play an enormous role in building Toyota's image as the purveyor of incredibly reliable vehicles. Like the Wrangler that leads off our list, the Land Cruiser kept things simple, but effective, when conquering new terrain from the Serengeti to the Mojave.
…And a Few Weirdoes, Too
Not every 2-door SUV hit the mark. Over the years, there have been more than a few sport-utility vehicles that have furrowed brows and stopped conversations dead as they rolled past the general public.
That being said, just because a truck gets weird, doesn't mean it's not worth celebrating. Here are five of the strangest two-door SUVs ever built, both good and bad.
1. Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet
Undoubtedly the most bizarre modern crossover to have ever made it into a mainstream dealership, the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet took a popular four-door family hauler, sliced off two of the doors, and then also removed the roof. The end result was a vehicle no one had asked for and few people would purchase. It's perhaps the most brazen "we don't care, we're building it anyway" example of brand chutzpah in automotive history.
2. Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Convertible
A very close second? The Land Rover Range Rover Evoque convertible. The drop-top Evoque is a little less scandalous in its genesis than the Murano CrossCabriolet since the first-generation Evoque was available in two-door coupe form. Still, Land Rover remains the only luxury brand in recent memory to offer a fully-convertible SUV. Only a handful were sold, with even the fixed-roof Evoque reverting to a four-door-only design for 2019.
3. Isuzu VehiCROSS
Here's a perfect example of weird also being good. From 1999 to 2001, Americans were able to buy Isuzu's futuristic-looking, V6-powered, pocket-sized off-road warrior. With both low and high-range four-wheel drive and an advanced computer-controlled torque distribution system, the VehiCROSS was in many ways ahead of its time. Just over 4,000 were sold in the United States, and this unique SUV represents one of the few instances of enthusiasts being able to buy a concept vehicle that was almost unchanged in production form.
4. Toyota RAV4
The first-generation Toyota RAV4 was the vehicle that would define the "cute ute" segment after it went on sale in the mid-1990s. The two-door version offered the briefest of wheelbases but could be had with four-wheel drive and a respectable amount of ground clearance, intriguing more than a few truck fans with its unibody construction and car-like fuel mileage. A soft top was also available, and it outlived the hardtop as a beach cruiser for those who dared to be different from the traditional Jeep crowd.
5. Suzuki X90
If the RAV4 was the zenith of cute ute design, then the much-maligned Suzuki X90 was its rock-bottom. Briefly offered as a competitor to the Toyota, the X-90's brief existence was marred by awkward proportions, middling performance, and very little in the way of on-road stability at high speeds. Hey, at least it had T-tops!