Jeep Planning MINI Countryman Rival

Jeep Planning MINI Countryman Rival

With Fiat’s backing, Jeep is building a small crossover that takes direct aim at MINI’s Countryman. Will it still be Trail Rated?

Because the Patriot and Compass weren’t, which must have been hard for Jeep to resist slapping them with “Trail Rated” badges. This crossover will be even smaller than those two, based on a Fiat platform but developed out of Detroit.

The internal designation for the crossover is “SS,” which, according to Chrysler, stands for “super sport” and not what you think it does. Like the Compass and Patriot, it will start with front-drive and have the option of AWD, with a simple torsion-beam rear suspension and electronic braking for traction control.

A spate of Fiat motors will be available: the 1.4-liter Multiair unit from the Fiat 500, which may use turbocharging to get the heavier crossover going. In Europe, it will make do with an 875cc two-cylinder with 100 horsepower; in America, it’ll probably have 150 horsepower instead. And attached to this will be Chrysler’s new automatic gearbox with nine speeds; just in case you wanted to one-up your Porsche-driving neighbors in any way possible.

The mini-Jeepster will come by 2013, at the earliest. And as the smallest, most fuel-efficient vehicle in Jeep’s lineup, it should fare well against the Countryman and keep any manufacturer-average emissions regulations at bay.

[Source: Car And Driver]