Home » The Baojun Yep Is An Adorable Electric Crossover That Gives Us Y2K Nostalgia

The Baojun Yep Is An Adorable Electric Crossover That Gives Us Y2K Nostalgia

Baojun Yep Topshot

Tiny off-roaders and mini EVs are both huge hits right now, so the thinking goes that if you combine both, you’d end up with a smash hit, right? Well this is the Baojun Yep and it does just that. It comes from the makers of the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV, which means that this tiny, cute electric utility vehicle is a very distant relative of the Chevrolet Suburban. How weird is that?

Baojun Yep Side

First a word about styling. Retro styling is derivative by nature, so don’t be surprised if you pick out a few influences here. I see the tiniest bit of second-generation Nissan Cube in the A-pillar and door window and a hint of Daihatsu Taft in a handful of character lines, but the Yep doesn’t feel like a rip-off. It’s its own thing, something new in the tiny crossover segment.

Baojun Yep Rear

So what’s the appeal here? Well, it’s not the speed. The Yep will come with a single motor out back making 67 horsepower. That’s a little bit more than kei cars make, which means that a zero-to-sixty mph time of eventually isn’t out of the question, but don’t expect to go much faster than 62 mph. Weirdly, I can see what looks like a live rear axle in the rear shot, so expect unsprung weight to be quite high. Of course, the benefit of this setup is that it keeps costs low, so it’s snakes and ladders and all that.

[Editor’s Note: My Changli has a solid axle setup, so this isn’t too shocking, really. – JT]

It’s not the range either. A lithium iron phosphate battery pack of an unknown capacity feeds the electric motor to give the Yep a 188-mile (303 km) CLTC cycle range. The CLTC cycle is even more optimistic than WLTP so although the Yep seems to be targeting a rugged urban set, its purported range most likely means you’d need to plug it in at least once mid-way to the greenery.

Baojun Yep Front

It’s the fun, if I’m being honest. It wasn’t that long ago that we could buy drop-top and/or three-door Chevrolet Trackers, Toyota RAV4s, Kia Sportages, and even Land Rover Freelanders. The tiny, somewhat rugged, city-sized do-anything vehicle was a thing, and it’s faded from many of our streets. Maybe it’s nostalgia or just the fact that high-clearance snowmageddon-ready vehicles are now all the size of towns, but it’s nice to see another marque keeping the flame alive.

Rear Three Quarters

In fact, the Baojun Yep goes really hard at keeping things tiny. It weighs just over one tonne despite being electric and is more than 18 inches shorter than a Mitsubishi Mirage. Remarkably, it has four seats despite its stubby length, although I have a feeling that the way back isn’t suitable for people with legs, but that doesn’t matter. In a world of decaying infrastructure, severe weather events, calls for higher urban density, and expensive EVs, the Baojun Yep might be the runabout people need. Expect to learn more about this little thing next month, when it makes its first public appearance at the Shanghai Auto Show.

(Photo credits: Baojun)

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38 Responses

  1. Looking forward to a whole range of SUVs from Baojun, starting with the smallest as the Yep, then moving up in size to the Yeah, then the Yessir, then the range-topping Yessirreebob.

      1. No, I think the problem is that the first gen was only released in Japan, so the first US gen was actually second gen.
        I still wouldn’t consider ~20 years old to be retro, though.

        1. Depends on the lifecycle of the object in question, I think. Cars change design frequently, and trends come and go with amazing rapidity. 20-30 years seems about right for a “retro” classification, in this instance – especially nowadays, where the changes are more significant.

          You know, outside of Stellantis.

        2. Given the cycles of style and the like, 20 years is definitely something that can be considered retro. I’m pretty sure we considered a significant amount of 70s stuff retro in the 90s.

          And in the age of social media, we’re seeing even shorter cycles than ever before.

  2. Unless it’s extremely heavy, which I guess it isn’t, 67hp isn’t a little.

    I’ve owned several old (european and japanese) ICE cars with that kind of power and they were all capable of around 100 mph.

    It’s 60 times more than JT’s Changli!

  3. The brand name in the back is insane. It’s not just a Baojun Yep… It’s an SAIC-GM-Wuling Baojun Yep!

    Maybe they could have benefited from a made-up name like Stellantis. Or maybe we would have loved a Peugeot-Citroen-Fiat-Chrysler Jeep Grand Wagoneer?

    1. It looks like a Kei car, but if I’m going to get a Kei car, I’ll get the real thing, not a Chinese knock-off.
      (And if my state would allow them, I would already have a Kei car or two!)

  4. Cmon this is just a pretty version of the old mail jeeps. Not the trucks currently being retired the crappy old mail jeep. No room, no power, no protection, no anything but it looks purty.

  5. I’m longing for the day that Chinese companies try to crack the US market. Oh, by the way, guys, here are all the standards you need to meet to sell here. No, they are not voluntary. No, your leaders can’t just ignore them or bully us to accept whatever you build. Yes, you will have to compete with established carmakers who really innovate, and no, you are not allowed to steal their designs and technology. You see those big guys over there? Yeah, they are UAW union reps, and they want to talk to you. Hey, where you goin’? Aren’t you going to let automotive journalists test and review your cars? No, they are free to write anything they like about your products. Hey, come back!

    1. The thing is that they don’t need to try to sell directly into North America. They already have enough of every other established manufacturers money thanks to their prevalence in 2nd tier automotive parts manufacturing around the world. Besides, they are selling most of their export capacity into other first world markets in Europe, Asia and Oceania…let alone developing markets.

    2. They are already building stuff to Euro standards for the European market, NIO won a bunch of car of the year awards here. Your views seem quite outdated.

    3. The Buick Envision is a Chinese car, stealthily sold at a GM dealer near you. As expected, it fall short in the quality of the interior, engine power and storage room, especially when compared to its class of vehicles. It’s a profit grab by GM, communism and political prisoner slave labor be damned.

  6. I’d like to read a deep dive on the WLTP vs whatever system we’re using in the US. And now I guess I need some knowledge on whatever the CLTC cycle is.

    Please & Thanks!

  7. Fun form factor and even more fun name. Yeah it’s probably too small for the U.S., but if you scaled it up by 1.5x, I think people would be receptive to it. I know people are skeptical of this, but I really believe small cars have vanished because automakers basically punished you for buying one with sad designs and no source of enthusiasm for the product. Would I want to buy a Versa, which is just a sadder, smaller poverty version of the rest of the Nissan design lineup? No. But would I want to buy a Yep? Yep.

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