The current boom in small SUV sales is manna from heaven for car manufacturers.

Consumers are prepared to pay thousands of pounds extra for the elevated driving position and perceived status that such models convey, even though they’re fundamentally no bigger than a standard hatch and cost little more to manufacture.

Nissan led the way, first with the Qashqai and then with the smaller Juke, and by stealing a march it has carved a lucrative niche. Little wonder, then, that others are following close behind - and investigating ways to leapfrog their opposition.

The question the manufacturers face is how far they can stretch the car-buying public’s acceptance of the theme. Can a city car be adapted to look and feel like a credible SUV?

And, most crucially, will people pay a premium for the experience, and will that be enough, given the infamously slight profit margins on small cars?