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Boxing Match

A boxy car could be the perfect fit for your business needs.

Seen those milk crates on wheels? The boxy styling of these vehicles turns heads. And for business purposes, their spacious rear cargo compartments, low lift-over and soaring ceiling heights make it easy to load odd-shaped items. Three that run the gamut from affordable utilitarian to high-priced luxury are the Scion xB, the Honda Element and the Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

The $13,680 Scion xB, with a square nose and micro-van body style, is classed as a small wagon and designed to appeal to young buyers, but its 21.2 cubic feet of cargo space and room for five make it a cool business vehicle. More than 155 inches long and 64 inches high, the xB can be customized to suit your needs. The removable second-row seating and under-floor storage provide plenty of space. The powertrain is a 1.5-liter 108-horsepower 4-cylinder engine teamed with a 5-speed manual or an automatic transmission.

Another rolling box, the $17, 450 four-seat Honda Element is a small, rugged, vanlike vehicle with a side cargo door; 25 cubic feet of trunk space; and a hard, flat floor you can hose down. The cargo area has tie-downs, hooks and bins. The removable rear seats flip up or fold flat. The engine is a 2.4-liter 160-horsepower 4-cylinder with a manual or automatic transmission.

For $77,700, you can own the iconic Mercedes-Benz G-Class, the ultimate in luxurious, leather-trimmed, practical transportation. Filled with the latest technology and powered by a 292-horsepower V-8 engine, it offers telephone and radio controls on the steering wheel as well as permanent 4WD. Traction and stability systems, automatic shift-logic transmission and a differential lock for driving on rough roads are among the vehicle's safety features.

Editor and consultant Jill Amadio has been reporting on the automotive industry for 26 years.

This story appears in the September 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »