I was searching Valmet Automotive’s website for information on Fisker’s plug-in hybrid, but I managed to stumble across a different – and utterly intriguing – sort of hybrid:; a five-door Honda CR-V convertible concept.
Built from a first-generation CR-V in 1998, the topless SUV was Valmet’s way of demonstrating their prowess at designing and building convertible top systems.; Over the past forty years, the firm has been responsible for building both the Saab 900 convertible and the Porsche Boxster.
For a show car, the CR-V convertible’s top system seems remarkably well-engineered.; Top up, the roof keeps much of its original shape (save for the rear window, which apes that of a Mercedes-Benz A-class).; But at the touch of a button, the entire forward section of the roof folds backwards, eventually settling atop what was the cargo area.
Yes, dropping the top would transform that vast expanse of space into a meager trunk, but with the top up, the CR-V convertible wouldn’t necessarily lose any practicality.; By opening the tailgate and unzipping the upper window, the ‘vert offered just as much cargo room (and access) as its hard top siblings.
Sadly, it was an idea that never was.; The market for convertible compact SUVs tanked soon after (Toyota stopped selling its ragtop RAV4 in 2000), and Honda expressed no interest furthering the concept.; That’s a pity; as engaging as early CR-Vs may have been, a convertible model could have been much more fun in the sun.