SUVs have been the flavour of the month for… well, a deal longer than that. Once the enclave of countryside dwellers, SUVs have rocketed into the mainstream at a pace no-one would have predicted two decades ago. 

It’s not reached its peak yet either – the growth of SUVs, particularly in the premium compact SUV segment, is predicted to rise even further over the next few years.

Proof of all this is in the endless stream of SUVs being introduced by car makers. If you thought they’d filled all the SUV niches, think again.

So, what’s next? I asked a handful of car designers that very question and received a range of non-committal, vague responses. It's possible they're trying to keep their ideas away from rivals, but it seems many genuinely don't know. And if they don’t know, I certainly don’t…

But what about existing segments that have lost favour in recent years, particularly small city cars? It's a decline that is troubling the car industry. Renault stopped selling its Twingo in the UK recently, while Geely has taken a 50% stake in Smart, with a plan to turn it into an electric-only brand. Geely's aim is to make a profit, something Mercedes never achieved as sole owner.

At the New York motor show, Genesis revealed its Mint concept, coined “a small car for the Big Apple”. It looks pretty, but is it viable for production? There’s no official word, but Genesis says “premium has no size” and that it doesn’t make concept cars just for the fun of it.

We are moving towards a time when 75% of the world’s population are set to live in towns and cities. Add in increasingly stringent low-emission zones, and a small, electric runaround - such as the Mint concept - starts to make sense.

It’s not alone either. On Smart's plan to limit itself to electric models, you only wonder why the brand didn’t do it sooner. Honda will introduce its E electric city car early next year. Expected to cost from £35,000, it will, then, sit in a premium bracket and is touted as the maker’s “flagship” thanks to innovative technology and high specification. 

These city cars might also fit into a world where longer, motorway journeys are predominantly delivered by larger, autonomous vehicles. And there’s no reason why such small premium vehicles couldn’t be part of the growing car-sharing phenomenon, which might also help justify the list price in the first place.