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TCC: 2007 Jeep Patriot Preview

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Preview: 2007 Jeep Patriot

The Compass gets a hardcore sibling.

by Henny Hemmes (2006-04-10)

The Chrysler Group gave us the first glance at the Jeep Patriot at the Frankfurt auto show last fall. Although the Patriot was shown alongside the Jeep Compass as a concept car, the Patriot soon became a confirmed entrant in the small-SUV segment. This Wednesday in New York , the Patriot will be shown to the public as a production-ready vehicle.

The new Patriot will do to Jeep's bottom what the Commander did to its top - extend the model range for the hallowed brand. A compact SUV with a traditional Jeep exterior design, the Patriot is based on the underpinnings of the Dodge Caliber that is on sale now in the U.S. and will go on sale in Europe in May.

The new Jeep is sized similarly to the Caliber. It has a wheelbase of 103.7 inches, an overall length of 173.6 inches, and it's 69.1 inches wide and 64.4 inches high.

The Patriot will be available with three drivetrain configurations: the basic front-wheel-drive version, as a Freedom Drive I model, and as a Freedom Drive II Off-Road vehicle.

The Drive I seems designed to bring in shoppers of other SUVs and those who want more all-weather safety than in a normal front-drive car. It has an available full-time 4WD system with Lock mode and is meant for daily use including driving in rain and snow. The system features a lockable center differential for deeper snow and other low-traction surfaces.

The Freedom Drive II Off-Road version is charged with keeping Jeep's dirt cred intact. It gives the Patriot a Trail Rated 4x4 label and includes a continuously variable transaxle (CVT) with a low range that engages when the off-road mode is activated. It also includes 17-inch aluminum wheels and all-terrain 215/60 tires, a full-size spare, skid plates, an air-filtration system, fog lamps, and tow hooks. The package is meant for serious off-road situations, including steep grades and rock climbing.

The Trail Rated Patriot sits one inch higher than the normal versions and has nine inches of ground clearance, a 29-degree approach angle, a 33-degree departure angle, and a 23-degree breakover angle. This version also has additional body sealing and high-mounted drivetrain vents to support 19-inch water fording capability.

The Patriot will be available in the U.S. with a 172-hp 2.4-liter engine with 165 lb-ft of torque, teamed to a five-speed manual gearbox. This motor is a new World Engine that is built in the Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance (GEMA) assembly plant in Dundee, Mich. The Patriot rolls out of the assembly plant in Belvidere, Ill. , that also builds the Caliber and the new Jeep Compass. For other markets, including Europe, the Patriot will also be available with a 2.0-liter turbo diesel engine.

All Patriots have standard traction control, stability control, Brake Assist, Electronic Roll Mitigation, and off-road anti-lock brakes with rough road detection.

Jeep engineers coupled the off-road goods with a flexible interior with rear seats that can be folded flat and a front passenger seat that can also be folded down to increase cargo space. Skis or an 8-foot ladder can be transported in that configuration.

The Patriot's Ultra Floor, a washable and removable vinyl load floor in the cargo area, has a load capacity of 250 lb. The seats are covered with "YES Essentials" fabric, a soil-repellent and anti-microbial textile that protects seats from stains, odors, and discoloration.

Among other features, the Patriot includes standard side-curtain airbags, a theft-deterrent system, an AM/FM/CD radio with an auxiliary audio input jack, an outdoor temperature display, a 12-volt power outlet, and foldaway mirrors.

The Jeep Patriot will be available in the fourth quarter of this year. Pricing has yet to be announced.

Link: http://www.thecarconnection.com/Vehicle_Re...181.A10262.html

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Darn it, I was hoping the "heavy duty" model would have a manual transmission available, instead of the CVT. I'll have to test drive a Caliber with CVT to see how it feels. I was not impressed with a test of an ION with CVT.

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I think the Patriot will do a lot better in terms of sales than the other crossover Jeep is releasing this year...I can't remember the name. It looks a lot better and will probably do more offroad.

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Even though the Patriot has the same craptastic interior as the Compass and Caliber, the exterior looks very good and should attract people who want a small cute-ute like the Rav4 used ot be.

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The new Patriot will do to Jeep's bottom what the Commander did to its top...

...Nothing whatsoever?

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