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.