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    Small Fiat-Based Jeep Delayed


    William Maley

    Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com

    February 5, 2012

    A new small Jeep has been delayed. According to Automotive News, the new Jeep has been pushed back due to a review of future investments by Fiat.

    The new Jeep, codenamed B-SUV would use Fiat’s new Small Wide platform, which also underpins the new 500L. The model would be placed underneath the Compass and Patriot in Jeep’s lineup.

    Fiat’s plan called on a $1.3 billion expansion of Fiat's Mirafiori plant in Italy to build Jeep and a Fiat version of the B-SUV.. Now, Fiat will begin building their version to replace the Sedici, which is currently based on the Suzuki SX4. Production of the Fiat model will begin sometime in 2013, while the Jeep will begin a year later.

    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

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    Yep, along with what mudmonster just said, this so called "small Jeep" is even smaller than the MK Patriot and its upcoming replacement.

    Edited by black-knight
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    Not a fan of the current compass / patriot. Both are ugly and cheap feeling and looking inside. They need to be replaced with much better vehicles.

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    I'm wondering where the next Liberty is going to go...they should bring back the Cherokee name (as the Liberty is called outside NA), IMO.

    It's going to be much more of a soft roader than the current KK model. For starters, two-wheel drive models will be front-wheel drive instead of rear-drive. That's understandable since it'll be based on the CUSW Plus platform. Four-wheel drive models will have a setup similar to the Freedom Drive II system on the MK Jeeps, so that means no two-speed transfer case ... or a transfer case at all, for that matter.

    There are rumors that the next-gen Liberty will carry the Cherokee moniker, but I'm personally not betting money on it.

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    I'm wondering where the next Liberty is going to go...they should bring back the Cherokee name (as the Liberty is called outside NA), IMO.

    It's going to be much more of a soft roader than the current KK model. For starters, two-wheel drive models will be front-wheel drive instead of rear-drive. That's understandable since it'll be based on the CUSW Plus platform. Four-wheel drive models will have a setup similar to the Freedom Drive II system on the MK Jeeps, so that means no two-speed transfer case ... or a transfer case at all, for that matter.

    Ick...I was thinking maybe they would do something like a cut down Grand Cherokee platform...

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    Not a fan of the current compass / patriot. Both are ugly and cheap feeling and looking inside. They need to be replaced with much better vehicles.

    I have to disagree with you. I came within inches of buying a 2007 Freedom Drive I Patriot Sport and while I did think the interior plastics were a little flimsy and lined with razor blades, the design was nice and functional with okay panel tolerances. Newer models have much better interior materials, so any complaints about the plastics are now moot. While I have never been a fan of the Compass' design, I don't see what's wrong with the Patriot. If you liked the old XJ Cherokee then there's a lot to like about the Patriot's styling.

    Edited by black-knight
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    If anyone needs a good indicator of what this upcoming Jeep will amount to, read up on the old JJ program. Call it a hunch, but I don't think this new "small" Jeep will have a Trail Rated offering.

    jj.jpg

    Ick...I was thinking maybe they would do something like a cut down Grand Cherokee platform...

    While that would prove to make a more capable and much better Liberty, the old SJ (Wagoneer), XJ (Cherokee), ZJ (Grand Cherokee), and WJ (GC 2nd-gen) Jeeps would still leave it in the dust off-road. It certainly wouldn't touch a CJ, TJ, and YJ Wrangler or even the JK Wrangler off-road, either.

    There's no denying it, Jeep has slowly been going soft over the years after the Daimler buyout. It started with the KJ Liberty then the WK Grand Cherokee. Solid front axles were thrown out the window along with the simple, durable, and lightweight QuadraLink suspension in favor of independent front-suspensions. They had absolutely no good reason for the switch either. Sure, some ignorant reviewers in the automotive media bitched about how "old tech" they both seemed on paper, but then again at the same time no one -- auto journalist, consumer, or otherwise -- was really complaining about how a XJ Cherokee or WJ Grand Cherokee handled on-road. No one also denied the fact they handled far better than other SUVs in their class.

    That all also begs the question: who in the hell buys a Jeep for its on-road behavior anyway? A traditional Jeep's on-road behavior didn't stop hundreds of thousands of owners of mega-dollar luxury cars from parking a Grand Wagoneer in their garage in the 1980s. If it was good enough for someone who drove an 300SEL, then I fail to see the problem.

    There's also no denying that there was nothing wrong with the old 4 liter inline-six. Instead of replacing it with the questionable Power Tech 3.7 V6 and that old boat-anchor they took out of the minivans, they should have just engineered a new motor with the 4.0's block as a starting point.

    I'll also say this right here and right now, the JK Wrangler is a slightly overweight caracature of the old YJ and TJ Wrangler. I know I've said before that it's the only industrial-strength Jeep left and I stand by that statement (it's for sure the only Jeep left that's capable of taking any terrain you can throw at it), but I can't deny the old YJ and TJ were much, much more involving to drive and far less forgiving.

    I remember driving a 2003 TJ Wrangler with the 4.0L I-6 and a five-speed row-your-own once and it was and still is the most involving four-by-four I've ever driven by far. It's always communicating to you, always demanding your attention. You can feel the engine working in front of the transmission in a TJ, all of the cogs meshing into one another when you change gear, the clutch engaging and disengaging with every up and down shift. When you don't disengage the clutch perfectly in a TJ, it'll tell you so. A TJ's firm suspension isn't punishing, but it's always letting you know through the seat of your pants what road surface you're driving on. A brand-new JK is so civilized in comparison it's almost apathetic. You don't have the same man-and-machine relationship in the JK like you do in the TJ.

    Don't get me wrong, though. I think an all-season, fuel-efficient, four-cylinder Jeep runabout like the MK Patriot is a fine and perfectly needed addition to the Jeep line-up. But that doesn't mean Jeep should offer medium, large, and extra large sizes in it.

    Edited by black-knight
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    ..

    . Sure, some ignorant reviewers in the automotive media bitched about how "old tech" they seemed on paper, but then again no one -- auto journalist, consumer, or otherwise -- was really complaining about how a XJ Cherokee or WJ Grand Cherokee handled on-road. No one also denied the fact they handled far better than other SUVs in their class.

    True enough...I've always thought my WJ drives quite nicely on-road for a 4x4, much better than the '96 Explorer Sport my Mom had or the '99 Explorer Eddie Bauer my sister had back in '00 when I bought my GC, and infinitely better than my old Bronco II did.. I never cared for the WK generation w/ it's blocky shape and violently cheap interior trim. The WK2, on the other hand, :wub:

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    I will say that for the 4 years I owned my Sahara edition wrangler from 94 to 98, the on road manners were more than fine, it was easy to drive with excellent feedback of the road to the driver and I never felt the inline 6 engine or 5 speed tranny was lacking. Off road that baby went everywhere.

    Jeep needs a Patriot and Compass, but I doubt like others have stated here that they need to soften up the rest of the auto's.

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