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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
10. Mazda CX-5 $20,995
Crossovers continue to be one of the most competitive new car segments in the industry, and that’s a good thing for car buyers. With more and more entries into the market, prices have dropped across the board. Here’s a quick look at the top 10 cheapest crossover vehicles.
Back in January, Jeep launched a competition called “Name My Ride.” It was set up to find the perfect name for Jeep’s latest special edition models.
Much to the company’s surprise, the contest drew in well over 100,000 entries from Jeep enthusiasts, with “Altitude” as the winning name.
Now Jeep is taking the name to new heights but releasing not one, but three models: the Grand Cherokee, Compass and Patriot Altitude editions. Each of these vehicles will receive some special treatment, which starts with the “blacked-out” look you see above.
The Grand Cherokee’s exterior gets a grille surround appearing in black gloss, and mesh grille texture in platinum chrome. A platinum chrome lower fascia applique completes the unique front-end appearance. Black headlamp bezels and a black liftgate light bar continue the theme throughout the vehicle’s exterior. It also gets 20-inch black gloss alloy wheels.
Inside you’ll get leather-trimmed heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, a 9-speaker 506-watt sound system with subwoofer, iPod/MP3 connectivity, back-up camera, rear-park assist system, Keyless Enter-N-Go, plus Chrysler Group’s Uconnect hands-free communications system.
Available in six colors, this special edition Grand Cherokee will be available from May with a $35,595 starting price for 4×2 models and $37,595 for 4×4 models.
The Compass and Patriot get a similar styling treatment, albeit with 18-inch and 17-inch wheels respectively. Only four colors are available for the Compass Altitude edition with pricing starting at $22,190 for 4×2 models and $23,940 for 4×4 models.
The Patriot Altitude edition is also available in four colors and its pricing starts at $20,240 for 4×2 models and $23,275 for 4×4 models.
Jeep has seen a 34 percent increase in sales in 2012 and they are certainly hoping to up that figure even more with these new special editions. Pending success, maybe the Liberty and Wrangler will get similar treatment.
GALLERY: 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Altitude
GALLERY: 2012 Jeep Compass Altitude
GALLERY: 2012 Jeep Patriot Altitude
Jeep has scrapped plans to build a replacement for their Patriot and Compass SUVs in Italy, and will instead build a subcompact Jeep product in Italy that will also be badged as a Fiat in world markets.
The car will replace the Fiat Sedici, which is itself based on the Suzuki SX4. Jeep will then build a replacement for their two small SUVs, as well as an Alfa Romeo-badged variant in Illinois.
The Compass/Patriot will eventually be replaced by a single model that will likely ride on the same architecture as the Alfa Giulietta, that will also underpin a replacement for the Dodge Caliber.
[Source: Automotive News]
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]
Hard-hitting Consumer Reports, recently tested a plethora of updated Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles, revealing that while Detroit’s number three automaker has made significant gains in terms of vehicle improvement, levels of quality between vehicles remain varied and there’s still a lot of work to be done.
Speaking at CR’s Auto Test Center, located in East Haddam, Connecticut, David Champion, senior director at the center, said, “we see major improvements for models that have had a significant redesign. When Chrysler invests the time and money in a true redesign, the result has been a much more competitive model.”
The models rated as the most significantly improved, were the re-designed seven-passenger Dodge Durango SUV and the 2011 Charger full-size sedan, both of which received ‘very good’ ratings during CR road tests.
The 2011 Chrysler Town & Country minivan also received a ‘Very Good’ rating, however other vehicles tested at the same time, including the Chrysler 200, Dodge Avenger, as well as Dodge Journey, Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot, while still improved over their predecessors, were still rated as ‘mediocre’ by the publication.
Consumer Reports also said that in terms of overall reliability, based on its Annual Auto Survey, Chrysler vehicles still rank below average, in fact scoring the lowest overall road test scores for any major automaker. In the last three years, CR has only only given a single Chrysler vehicle a ‘recommended’ rating, the Ram 1500 half-ton pickup.
The results from the eight 2011 Chrysler models tested will appear in the August issue of Consumer Reports, the publication had planned to also include the Fiat 500, Chrysler 300 and Dodge Challenger, but those vehicles weren’t available for testing at the time.
It’ll be interesting to see what the magazine makes of those when it gets around to evaluating them.
[Source: Consumer Reports]
The diesel will be a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6, sourced from the Fiat mothership and built by VM Motori. It’ll come in two forms: one with 188 horsepower and 324 lb-ft of torque, and the other with 237 horsepower and 406 lb-ft, which also gets around 28 miles per gallon.
Meanwhile at Geneva, Jeep will introduce 70th Anniversary Editions of all its models, including the Wrangler, Wrangler Unlimited, Patriot, and Compass. The package includes exterior trim packages, brushed-aluminum door sills, 18-inch wheels, and some nifty badges; the interior will get Dark Olive perforated leather seats, shiny trim, and Berber floor mats.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the 2012 Dodge Viper will be produced, and will move towards a more “upscale” position, abandoning its “racecar” heritage. The vehicle was previewed at Chrysler‘s dealer meeting in Orlando.
Autoblog reported that the design is angular, and a departure from the previous car. No mechanical details were announced but a variant of the 8.4L V10 may return, with a V8 filling an entry level role.
Among other products debuted were an all new Dodge Grand Caravan, which will differentiate itself from the Chrysler Town & Country by appealing to a sportier customer, including a limited edition “Man Van”, the all new Chrysler 300, which will be sold as a Lancia in Europe and a replacement for the Jeep Compass and Patriot crossovers.
[Source: Wall Street Journal]
Jeep fans who were up in arms about the Compass and Patriot crossovers will have a no reason to get aggravated; a new video that purports to go inside Jeep’s design studios apparently show a new crossover based on a C-segment Fiat.
Aside from the illustration, we can also see a clay model in the video, suggesting that the car is still pretty early on in the design stage. Truthfully, it doesn’t look bad but we can almost hear the cries from hardcore Wrangler owners and internet pundits who will forever treat this Jeep as an unwanted stepchild.
Alfa Romeo fans are bracing themselves amid credible reports of an SUV joining the ranks of the Italian marque’s lineup. Autoguide previously reported on an Alfa Romeo SUV as a key product for their North American return.
Targeting vehicles like the BMW X3 and Audi Q5, the Alfa crossover will be built on an all-new platform designed to replace the Jeep Compass and Patriot. Expect the Alfa to use a version of the Q4 AWD system, but details surrounding engine and transmissions remain murky.
Despite the uneasiness surrounding an Alfa 4×4, remember that the Porsche Cayenne was originally derided, but went on to gain acceptance and help Porsche return to profitability. If this new Alfa can do the same, then bring it on.
Last week Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne set out a long-winded plan for the future of the American automaker and how its future will be closely tied to its new Italian parent company. There was a lot to digest at the seven hour press conference and so we thought a model by model breakdown would be helpful and would shed some light on what appears to be the general plan to eliminate old Chrysler products and replace them with new Chrysler Group-branded Fiat models. So let’s start with Dodge…
From the smallest to the largest vehicles, Dodge will see the introduction of a subcompact car in 2013 based on the Alfa Romeo MiTo. Currently Dodge does not offer a sub-compact with its smallest offering being the compact Caliber, which receives a mild update this year but will be eliminated in 2012 and then replaced the same year by a Fiat Group-based vehicle. Presumably it will be another Alfa Romeo platform, however, the car will be built in the U.S.
Moving to the mid-size segment, the Avenger will also be updated for 2010 and then replaced by a Fiat Group platform in 2013.
The future for the Journey, Grand Caravan and Charger is more positive, with the Journey and Grand Caravan getting updates for 2010 with a new Grand Caravan due in 2014. The Charger will be all-new for 2011 with a new interior and exterior, after originally launching in 2006. A new rear suspension will also be part of the package. As for its Challenger sibling, it will be updated for the 2012 model year.
Two vehicles that will be eliminated are the Nitro and Viper, with the Nitro slated to be scraped in 2011 (with a possible successor), while the Viper will cease production mid next year with a potential sports car replacing it in 2012.
One new model will be added to the Dodge lineup; a seven-seater crossover based on the new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee (pictured above).
The new Ram brand still won’t have a lot going on, although Fiat is looking to expand its offerings. The Dakota is scheduled to cease production late in 2011 with a possible unibody pickup to replace it. As for the Ram 1500, it will get a mid-cycle refresh in 2012, as will the heavy duty Ram trucks. A chassis cab version of the Ram will also arrive in 2010.
Two additions to the lineup include a front-drive small work van and full-sized van in 2012. The small van will be similar in purpose to Ford’s Transit Connect and will be based on the next-generation Fiat Doblo. It will be imported from either Turkey or Brasil. As for Ram’s new full-sized van offering, it will be one of two vehicles: either the body-on frame Iveco Daily or the unibody Fiat Ducato. Unlike the small van, this full-sized unit will be assembled in the U.S.
Starting in the small scale, the Chrysler Brand will also get a subcompact, although (surprisingly) it will not be based on the same Alfa Romeo vehicle as the Dodge sub-compact. Instead, it will be underpinned by the next-generation Lancia Ypsilon five-door hatch and will go on sale in 2013.
A new compact sedan (based on a Fiat Group platform) will be launched in 2012. It is not clear if the Fiat Group platform is the same one that will underpin the Dodge compact sedan. The same can be said for the Sebring, which, like its current Dodge counterpart (the Avenger) will get styling updates next year and be replaced by a Fiat Group platform in 2013.
As for the PT Cruiser, it will be eliminated late next year – although we’ve heard that one before.
The Chrysler 300, like the Dodge Charger, will be all-new for 2011 with the new model arriving some time next year. Styling is expected to be evolutionary, so don’t expect much change – which is probably a good thing.
And as for Chrysler’s final product, the Town & Country minivan, it will get updates next year with a new model in 2014. Fiat hopes to differentiate the Chrysler minivan from its Dodge counterpart by taking it more up-market. (Have we learned nothing from the R-Class?)
Finally, there’s the Jeep brand, where we’ve already learned the Patriot, Compass and Commander will be eliminated over the next few years. The first to meet the scrap heap is the Commander, with production ending late next year, while the Patriot and Compass will be get mild updates for 2010 before being retired in 2012. Interestingly, Fiat may build and sell the Commander overseas after 2010.
At the low end of the spectrum, a new subcompact SUV will arrive in 2013 based on the next generation Fiat Panda Cross, while a new compact crossover will arrive the same year based on an unnamed Fiat Group platform. A new Liberty will also arrive that year, again based on a Fiat.
As for Jeep’s core vehicles, the Wrangler will get a new interior next year, with a new engine offered in 2011. The Grand Cherokee will continue on as planned with the new model debuting next year as a 2011 model.
[Source: Automotive News]
A week ahead of a planned Fiat/Chrysler press conference in which Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of both automakers, was to outline the future of Chrysler, much of the information has been revealed in an in-depth report in the Wall Street Journal. But before we get to the new products that the Italian-owned automaker is planning to bring into the North American marketplace, it’s time to learn the fate of the vehicles being axed. And judging from the list, it appears as though Fiat is intent on moving its products in and Chrysler’s products out.
The vehicles to be cut include the Chrysler PT Cruiser and Sebring. On the Dodge side, four models will be eliminated, including the Caliber, Nitro, Avenger and Grand Caravan. Three Jeeps will also meet their maker: the Commander, Compass and Patriot.
In place of these vehicles Fiat is ready to announce the introduction of the 500 in 2011, along with three Alfa Romeo vehicles: the MiTo (shown above), Milano (which will replace the 147) and another yet unnamed mid-sized sedan.
The rest of the plan will see the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger redesigned in 2011, with the Grand Cherokee due out soon. And with only two Chrysler products left, the rumored decision to axe that brand’s name may just happen.
The Wall Street Journal made no mention of past reports that the Fiat Panda would see its way to the U.S. as a Jeep. There is also no word on if the Fiat 500 will be offered in just it’s standard hatchback form, or if a convertible and sporty Abarth version will also join the product lineup.
GALLERY: Alfa Romeo MiTo
[Source: WallStreetJournal via KickingTires]
To help boost sales Jeep has just launched the new Rocky Mountain Edition versions of the Patriot, Liberty and Grand Cherokee. This new trim level delivers $2,300 in options for an add-on price of just $1,595 over the base MSRP.
The Jeep Patriot Rocky Mountain Edition gets 17-inch wheels, a sunroof, a leather steering wheel with radio controls, “Rocky Mountain” badging and a uconnect tunes 30-gigabyte stereo with SIRIUS Satellite Radio and a nine-speaker Boston Acoustics audio system with a subwoofer and 458-watt amplifier.
The new Jeep Patriot Rocky Mountain Edition will also come with a monochromatic paint scheme in four colors including a new Optic Green Crystal Pearl.
The new Jeep Liberty Rocky Mountain Edition is based on the Jeep Liberty Sport model and gets 17-inch wheels, a power sunroof, tinted glass, “Rocky Mountain” badging, a uconnect tunes 30-gigabyte radio and speed control. It will be offered in Deep Water Blue, Bright Silver Metallic, Inferno Red and Brilliant Black paint colors.
The final model, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Rocky Mountain Edition gets many of the same options including 17-inch wheels, a power sunroof, a uconnect tunes 30-gigabyte Boston Acoustics sound system and Rocky Mountain badging. It also gets a 12-volt power outlet, chrome side moldings and heated front seats. Jeep will offer this model in Light Graystone, Bright Silver, Brilliant Black and now in Inferno Red.
“The new 2009 Jeep Patriot, Jeep Liberty and Jeep Grand Cherokee Rocky Mountain Editions add more value and features to our iconic Jeep lineup,” said Mike Accavitti, the Director of Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge Brands. “And with Jeep’s best-in-class legendary 4×4 capability, our new 2009 Jeep Rocky Mountain Editions are ready to make any adventure—from the snow-covered mountain trails to sand dunes at the beach—even more fun.”
Pricing is listed as $19,765 for the Jeep Patriot Rocky Mountain Edition, $25,355 for the Jeep Liberty Rocky Mountain Edition and $32,825 for the Jeep Grand Cherokee Rocky Mountain Edition. All three new trim models are available to order now with vehicles arriving in dealerships later this month.
More on the Rocky Mountain Edition Jeeps after the jump: