n. A small, inexpensive sport utility vehicle, especially one with a car frame rather than a truck frame.
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Small families were looking for an affordable, not-too-honkin'-big SUV-like vehicle for everyday use. For that, car-based sport-cutes such as the CR-V and RAV4 were perfect.
—G. Chambers Williams III, “Sport-cute flexes muscle,” San Antonio Express-News, September 16, 2001
1995 (earliest)
A lot of people are talking about getting into the "sport-cute" market — a smallish and inexpensive sport-utility with funky styling.
—Alex Law, “Suzuki's latest 4x4 opens new 'sport-cute' market,” Toronto Star, October 14, 1995
People who are into sport utility vehicles (SUVs) often refer to them as just sport-utes, thus giving themselves more time for mountain climbing and other off-road (1973) activities. (Assuming, of course, that the average owner of a modern SUV ever goes off-road, which is a doubtful proposition.) The more macho of these SUV types also believe that these vehicular Leviathans can never be too big, so they tend to look down upon teeny versions such as the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4. They dismiss them as sport-cutes (also: cute-utes). so this word has a derogatory tinge to it, which is also seen in a synonym: soft-roader (a play on off-roader).
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