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Monday, September 12, 2005

New Jeeps in Frankfurt

Two of the guys behind Autoblog are in Frankfurt, Germany, snapping pictures of the auto show. One of the more interesting photos they grabbed was this image of the Jeep display, showing two new products, the Compass and Patriot.

Image courtesy of AutoBlog

The Patriot is a small SUV which looks very much like a resurrected and refined Cherokee, except that it is apparently build on a car based unibody platform. According to Edmunds, both are built on the same platform as the forthcoming Dodge Caliber, which was a joint development with Mitsubishi to replace the aging Neon. So the Patriot is likely to be front wheel drive/all wheel drive, with independent suspension, very much unlike the solid axles of the old Cherokee. I would be surprised if it came with a low-gear transfer case. I think it looks pretty good, and will be a nice competitor to the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CRV. I also like the name.

With the Compass, however, Jeep has lost its way. It looks like Jeep took a Subaru WRX stud, bred it with a Toyota Matrix mare, and grafted on the nose from a Liberty. In other words, the thing is ugly, and looks much meaner than it will likely actually be, unless Jeep puts a turbo on the 2.0/2.4L engines planned for this platform. I really dislike the way that the Jeep front end looks on a vehicle with tall wagon proportions.

Image courtesy of AutoBlog

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