Up go the sales and down come the prices in our most dynamic car sector - two-wheel-drive baby SUVs. This week, Ford added to the burgeoning baby choice with the release of the EcoSport, which I tested earlier this week in Victoria.
It has three features that might surprise some readers. It's built in India, includes a three-cylinder engine in its line-up and starts at the very low price of $20,790 plus on-roads.
Back in 2008, when Hyundai kickstarted the two-wheel-drive baby- SUV craze with its Tucson City, the brand sent buyers delirious with its $25,990 drive-away pricing.
Many new players have been doing great business around that price for the past couple of years. But lately, strong downward price pressure has come from the likes of the Fiat Panda, Nissan Juke, Holden Trax and, now, the EcoSport.
The coming Renault Captur, which looks pretty funky, is expected to start about $20,000. Such price tags - and the playful styling of these models - certainly bring young buyers into play, although such cars are popular across a wide demographic.
Quite simply, they make sense.
They're small, agile and economical yet amazingly roomy and practical inside, especially after the split rear seats are folded. For example, early this week, I was testing the cheapest baby SUV on the market - the Panda - when I decided I needed two 1800mm x 900mm sheets of lattice. "Damn, I've got a tiny Panda," I said to myself but persisted anyway.
And the Italian came through, to the amazement of fellow shoppers.
However, perhaps they were just staring at me driving with my nose hard up against the windscreen.
The EcoSport's a good thing - well-built to dispel concerns about coming out of the subcontinent, a smart looker and coming with some excellent cabin technology.
Vitally, the car's a gem to drive with terrific steering, handling and ride while noise intrusion is low.
The more involving engine is the 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo.
It has direct-injection technology which maximises power while minimising fuel use (5.7L/100km) but, alas, this motor is not yet available in auto form.
The other engine, a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated, does come with a choice of self and auto-shifting models.
It goes OK, too, but is not as satisfying as the turbo and uses more fuel - 6.5L/100km.
There's a range of specs - Ambiente, Trend and Titanium.
The $20,790 entry price applies to a 1.5-litre Ambient manual, whose features include the excellent Ford Sync connectivity system with emergency assistance.
Provided your smart phone has connection, the system automatically delivers a voice message to 000 operators, indicating that a vehicle has been involved in a serious accident.
The threshold for activation is that the airbags have been deployed or the emergency fuel pump cut-off is activated. The system also opens the line for a car occupant to make hands-free communication.
Sync also offers hands-free, voice-activated in-car connectivity and a six-speaker audio system.
Other standard inclusions are seven airbags and 60/40 split rear seats with a fold and tumble function.
The Trend's specs add cruise control, driver's seat lumbar support, glove-box cooler, front fog lamps and 16-inch alloys.
The Titanium provides leather seat trim, automatic climate control, Smart key-free access, rain-sensing wipers, rear parking sensors and auto headlights.
What you won't find in any model are soft-feel dash materials or satellite navigation.
The tailgate, which carries the spare wheel under a body-coloured cover, looks great. It also maximises luggage room in the cabin and allows for a full-size spare.
However, its swing action could be a pest compared with a lift gate at shopping centres.
Another quibble is the small seat squabs could be uncomfortable for bigger motorists.
It's a little ripper at a great price, though I thinks its best is yet to come - the auto version of the turbo model.
Engine: 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol
Outputs: 82kW, 140Nm
Transmission: Five-speed manual or Six-speed auto
Ambiente: $20,790 man; $22,790 auto
Trend: $24,290 (auto only)
Titanium: $27,990 (auto only)
Engine: 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost turbo petrol
Transmission: Five-speed manual