The next-generation Jeep compact SUV replacement for the Compass, and to some degree the Patriot, is still well on track and will be released globally in the third quarter of 2016, says company head Mike Manley.
This comment, which he gave to Australian media including CarAdvice at this week’s New York motor show, comes in response to the fact it did not premiere in the Big Apple as was widely expected.
Instead, says Manley, the new Jeep C-segment SUV will make its world premiere in Brazil, a key market for the vehicle and home to the manufacturing plant that will make it first. Others may follow.
Jeep already makes the Renegade (which in part serves as a slightly smaller Patriot replacement) in the state-of-the-art new plant it opened in Brazil last year.
“There’s no problem with it, we decided to launch new C SUV actually in Brazil, which we’re planning on at the moment, it will be the first plant the gets the global vehicle. No delays, it’s on track, we just thought it was more appropriate,” British expat Manley insisted.
Launching a non-commercial global vehicle in Brazil is nevertheless a little unusual. But the Jeep C segment SUV is very much a global car.
Under the skin, the car seen here is believed to be based on a stretched version of the platform underpinning the Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X. The new vehicle is seen internally as more a replacement for the more stylised 10-year old Compass than the boxier Patriot, which in part is being replaced by the existing Renegade.
As we reported recently, Jeep is referring to the car internally as the Compatriot, albeit with some humour. The portmanteau is too good to pass up. Don't expect that name to carry over to production. We'd say the smart money is on the more globalised Compass name continuing, and the Patriot name disappearing.
The new SUV is expected to be sized between the 4230mm Renegade and the 4623mm Cherokee. The current Compass and Patriot both measure around 4.4m in length.
From what we can see from the spy shots featured here, the new crossover vehicle will have a more traditional take on the brand’s traditional seven-slot grille, rather than the half-upright, half-canted backwards version used on the latest-generation Cherokee.
To highlight the brand’s off-roading history, the new car will also feature blistered fenders with squared off wheel arches. We expect four-wheel drive to be optional on many models.
Despite their age, the Patriot and Compass twins have been solid sellers for Jeep. In past years they have accounted for around 25 per cent of the brand's global volume.
Jeep Australia has made it clear that this global C segment SUV is very much on the radar for us. Expect to see it launch here in 2017.