Remember the kitted-up Compass Rallye concept that made its debut at the 2005 Frankfurt show? The show car looks were dropped for the production version, which is currently available here in the US and will start appearing in European showrooms soon. The UK, however, is a different matter entirely.
In the UK, the only Jeep Compass that will be available is a right-hand-drive limited-production version of the concept car. The 2007 Jeep Compass Rallye will be available only with the Freedom Drive 1 all-wheel drive system and the aforementioned appearance package. Black wheels, aero-style bumpers and side skirts, and extra foglamps give the Compass Rallye its unique look.
The decision to make only the Rallye edition available was the result of UK market research that showed that the bespoilered Compass would be a better seller than the standard vehicle. To illustrate the limited availability of the Compass Rallye, Jeep stated that the UK division's other new arrival, Patriot, will outsell the Compass Rally 10:1. Pricing won't be announced until later.
Both the Patriot and Compass, as you know by now, are built on the same platform as the Dodge Caliber, and as such, they share powerplants with the little Dodge. Like the Euro Caliber, the Compass Rallye and Patriot will be available with either the 2.4L gasoline 4-cylinder or the VW-sourced 2.0 diesel. Looking at the aeroed-out Compass Rallye, we can't help but wonder what it'd be like to have it in the US ... with AWD and the Caliber SRT4 mill. Now that'd be something.
(Press release after the jump)
[Source: DaimlerChrysler UK]
JEEP TO LAUNCH PATRIOT AND COMPASS RALLYE IN UK
Jeep will launch two new compact four-wheel drive vehicles in the UK in 2007 that will offer drivers fuel economy figures in excess of 43mpg for the first time.
The Jeep Patriot and Jeep Compass Rallye are compact 4x4s that deliver a competitive package of performance and fuel economy, with a design and price that will appeal to a new class of Jeep buyers.
Both vehicles are designed to reach younger customers who may not have previously considered the brand but value the distinctive Jeep look and see four-wheel drive as a must-have on their daily drive.
Peter Lambert, Managing Director of Chrysler Group UK, said: "Customers are increasingly interested in family hatchbacks with four-wheel drive systems as they offer better handling and enhanced safety on the road.
"The new Jeep Patriot offers classic Jeep looks, a roomy interior, a choice of fuel efficient diesel and petrol engines and an all-new 4WD system in a package the size of a Ford Focus."
Freedom Drive I is a full-time, active four-wheel drive system that offers the driver tangible benefits in every day driving conditions such as wet and icy tarmac as well as great off-road ability. The Patriot will be the new entry-level price point for the Jeep brand.*
"These two family hatchback sized cars represent a new chapter in the history of the Jeep brand – the compact 4x4 segment in Western Europe is expected to increase to nearly 400,000 units by 2010, and these new car-based four-wheel drive vehicles mean the Jeep brand is ideally placed to meet this growing demand."
The Jeep Compass Rallye offers a very different look and feel to the Patriot, with a design that reflects the 'Jeep Modern' theme, but offers the same 4WD system.
Lambert added: "We considered the role of the Compass and Patriot in the UK and customer research indicated that the classic Jeep looks of the Patriot had a very strong impact with UK buyers. Our research also suggested that a 'hot' looking version of the Compass would be desirable in the UK, although we will only offer Compass Rallye in limited numbers at launch.
"The whole compact 4x4 segment is shifting – our competitors are pricing themselves out of the sub-£20,000 segment and we will fill this space with our new vehicles next year."
The Compass Rallye and Patriot are both based on the Dodge Caliber hatchback platform, and both Jeeps will offer a 2.4-litre petrol and a VW-sourced 2.0-litre diesel engine.
"The vast majority of our vehicles sold in the last few years have been diesel powered and it is vital for the success of these new Jeeps that we have a small diesel engine that is competitive in the family hatchback segment. The 2.0-litre diesel will enable Jeep drivers to achieve a combined fuel cycle figure of 43.5mpg for the first time."
In the UK the Jeep Compass Rallye will launch in April 2007 and the Jeep Patriot launches in July 2007.