Jeep Patriot:

2009 Jeep Patriot: Motorist Choice Award Winner

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JP009_005PA.jpg“The Jeep Patriot wins AutoPacific’s 2009 Motorist Choice Award for Compact Crossover SUVs. Just the right size for passengers and cargo and with traditional Jeep appearance, the Patriot meets the product needs of its buyers in a financially efficient way. For them, it is the Goldilocks SUV – not too much and not too little – in every respect.” – AutoPacific
“The Patriot has the best-in-segment fuel costs, above-average retained value and low insurance and maintenance costs.” – IntelliChoice
Owner Satisfaction Highlights
• Feeling Safe While Driving
• Safety Features
• Reliable / Dependable
Cost-of-Ownership Strengths
• Lowest Fuel Costs
• Strong Retained Value
• Low Insurance Costs
• Low Maintenance Costs


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2008 Jeep Liberty: New York Auto Show

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And the Show Goes On…
At easily the wettest press conference yet attended by VehicleVoice and AutoPacific correspondents, Jeep revealed their new Liberty outside the Javits Convention Center, home of the New York auto show. Not willing to cancel a press conference over something as small as a constant downpour (quite rightly thinking letting rain scare them off isn’t in good Jeep form), Chrysler’s PR staff simply made sure Frank Klegon, Chrysler Group Executive Vice President, Product Development, had an umbrella to keep the worst of the rain off during his presentation. And the vehicle showing off the new Sky Slider canvas roof still drove up with its roof open, though an umbrella could be spotted sticking out in an attempt to keep the interior a little dry.

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Rain aside, the Liberty burst out of the ground as planned. The Liberty doesn’t go on sale until late this year, about twelve months after its new-for-2007MY Dodge Nitro sibling. The Jeep Liberty gets a new look inside and out, more technology and convenience features, and takes up more space outside to provide more space inside. Liberty gains two more inches in wheelbase and overall length and is wider, to improve cargo space and make passengers more comfortable. (While this Liberty is larger than the outgoing car, the Nitro is appreciably larger than the new Liberty.)
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Liberty Returns to Square
The new Liberty also goes back to a squared-off look along the lines of old Cherokees, though it isn’t as stiff looking as the new Patriot. This is an interesting choice, given the introduction of the Compass and the company’s current traditional/modern SUV point/counterpoint showroom. Consider: Compass and Patriot, Liberty and four-door Wrangler Unlimited, Grand Cherokee and Commander. Given these almost logical pairings of modern complementing traditional Jeep styles, why did the Liberty go square again?
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Quibbles aside, the new Liberty looks good, and more important looks all Jeep. Of the four introductions over the past year, Jeep’s only misstep in the looks department is the Compass. Wrangler maintained and improved its image and capability; Patriot provides a true entry Jeep, in looks and capability; and the Liberty looks all the better for losing its softer form.
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2007 Jeep Patriot: An Off-Road Prince

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Jeep’s Second Crossover SUV Really Takes Compact Crossovers Off-Road
Jeep followed up the Compass, which went on sale in November 2006 (click here for our first Compass drive), with a tougher, more off-road-capable, and more traditional Jeep crossover SUV in the Patriot. Though we brought you news of the Patriot following its introduction in New York last year (click here), AutoPacific staffers were invited to be among those taking the first drives. Compass and Patriot share quite a bit, both under the skin and in the interior, as they use the same platform. Compass follows the “modern” side of Jeep, which includes the Grand Cherokee. Jeep considers the Patriot a traditional Jeep, like the old Cherokee, the Liberty and new Commander.

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To successfully fill the traditional Jeep role, Patriot needs to support its Cherokee-inspired design with legitimate performance, if not Wrangler ability. So Jeep offers Patriot in three driveline flavors, standard front-drive, Freedom Drive I all-wheel-drive, and Freedom Drive II Trail Rated all-wheel-drive. Freedom Drive II gives Patriot best-in-class (Crossover SUV class) off-road ability. But Patriot competes in a class better known for inclement-weather driving than off-roading; they aren’t targeting off-road performance. If the Wrangler is Jeep’s off-road King, the Trail-Rated version of Patriot is its Prince. This prince better be more capable off-road than the Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Honda CR-V, Jeep Compass, and Subaru Forester.
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Jeep Wrangler – First Four Door

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Firsts for Wrangler: Four Doors and Seating for Five
Further meeting the Even More promise Jeep made with the introduction of the latest Wrangler in January, the Wrangler Unlimited adds twenty inches to the wheelbase, two doors, and creates enough room to seat five. Jeep ensured that Wrangler Unlimited includes the open-top driving aspect of the Wrangler appeal. The new Unlimited benefits from the mechanical, interior, and exterior changes of the standard Wrangler, including a standard Sunrider softop (introduced on the 2004.5MY two-door Unlimited, it has a sunroof area that can be opened over first- and second-row passengers if you don’t want to take the whole thing down) and the optional new three-piece Freedom top hardtop. Jeep takes the liberty of calling the Wrangler Unlimited the only four-door convertible on the market; you’ll find it in dealers in fall 2006 though information can be found on Jeep‘s consumer web site now.

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Jeep unveiled the four-door model at the 2006 New York auto show, with the help of local firefighters, as they washed away more than six tons of mud to reveal the star of Jeep’s show stand. The Patriot was unveiled alongside the Wrangler, but the Wrangler is still the heart of the brand. AutoPacific and VehicleVoice contributors were there to see the unconventional reveal, keeping out of the path of flying mud.
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Jeep Patriot Complements Jeep's Range

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Small Trail-Rated SUV Joins Jeep Lineup in Fall
New York’s Jacob Javits convention center is the backdrop for Jeep’s introduction of a second all-new, additive vehicle for the 2007 model year, as the Patriot is unveiled at the 2006 New York auto show. Come fall 2006, Jeep showrooms will be home to six vehicles, two more than in 2005 and the most in the brand’s history. The Patriot and Compass are additive vehicles for this year and are the first Jeep products derived from a car platform. Compass, introduced at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in January, goes on sale this summer. Though the show is still a couple of days away, AutoPacific and VehicleVoice correspondents have been watching the development of the Patriot, and here are our first impressions.

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As Jeep was developing its first car-based SUV, the company evaluated two proposals with different personalities and decided to go for both. The Patriot’s job is to meet the demands of entry-level Jeep enthusiasts and intenders and give them a less-expensive way to put the legendary brand in their driveway, while the Compass is supposed to bring in more conquest buyers at an early point in their purchasing lives. Pricing for Patriot will be lower than Wrangler and likely similar to Compass, we expect. The Compass launches with a price range from just under $16,000 to just under $22,000, including destination. The top Patriot adds more off-road ability than the Compass, so this model may top out at a higher price point than Compass. Patriot is going for owners from their early 20s to early 40s. Jeep sees Patriot buyers as “confident, independent, rugged individuals who like the outdoors.” Presumably, Compass buyers are just as confident and independent, though perhaps less rugged or interested in the outdoors.
In the expansion of the Jeep brand, one can see the atomization of the market itself; buyers can find just the right SUV to meet their needs. Need a rugged off-roader? Take Wrangler. Need more space than Patriot or Compass and nicer on-road manners than Wrangler? Take Liberty. Need a mid-size, premium SUV? Take Grand Cherokee. Need seats for three more? Take Commander. You can even get a performance-oriented SUV in the Grand Cherokee SRT-8. Now, if you want a cheap Jeep, you can choose between urban style with the ability to handle inclement weather with ease or a traditional package with off-road ability. We’ll find out later this year if the strategy works better at the lower end of the market than it is at the upper end, as Jeep seems to be currently building more Commanders than they can easily sell.


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Jeep Compass – First Ever Jeep Soft-Roader

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Jeep Compass: Car-Based SUV Joins Jeep Lineup
With the launch of the Jeep Compass car-based SUV in the 2006 calendar year, Jeep customers get to decide if a car-based Jeep is still a Jeep. Though there will be two car-based Jeep SUVs to consider by the end of the year, the production Compass has been shown first with its Patriot stablemate coming later. The “talent” launchingthe Compassat the 2006 North American International Auto Show was Angie Harmon of Law and Order fame.
Vehicle Voice http://www.vehiclevoice.com and AutoPacific http://www.autopacific.com editors and analysts were on hand for the unveiling. Our take on the Compass is that it will do pretty well. Jeep has historically been narrow-cast with tightly defined Rubicon-capable sport utility vehicles. The Compass provides a softer counterpoint for buyers who value the Jeep nameplate but who don’t need the off-road capability of a traditional Jeep.

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Interestingly, while it seems that nearly every other manufacturer is be jumping on the “crossover” bandwagon, the Compass is described simply as what it is: a compact SUV. As risky as offering a less-than-Trail-Rated Jeep is for the brand, they are not likely to add to the concern by promoting the Compass as anything other than an SUV, a move which we applaud.
The car underpinnings in this case are a version of the next-generation Mitsubishi Lancer shared platform. Both Compass and Patriot were previewed by concepts at the 2005 Frankfurt auto show in September. Compass sales are set for the third quarter of 2006.
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