The carmaker is promising a competitive package of performance and fuel economy with the Patriot and Jeep Compass Rallye models, which will be positioned below its current entry-level model, Wrangler. Wrangler starts at £16,470.
Peter Lambert, managing director of Chrysler Group UK, says: “Customers are increasingly interested in family hatchbacks with four-wheel drive systems as they offer better handling and enhanced safety.
“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.”
His aim is to entice younger customers seeking 4x4 ability and style but who may not have considered Jeep products because of their size and price.
Compass and Patriot are both based on the Dodge Caliber platform and are comparable in size to a family hatchback. The engine options will include a 2.4-litre petrol and a 2.0-litre turbodiesel, which will be sourced from VW Group.
“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 strong impact with buyers,” says Lambert.
“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.”
While mainland Europe gets a full left-hand drive Compass range, the top-spec Rallye variant will be the only right-hand drive car sold by UK dealers.
“These two family hatchback-sized cars represent a new chapter in the history of Jeep,” says Lambert.
“The compact 4x4 segment in western Europe is expected to increase to nearly 400,000 units by 2010, and these four-wheel drive vehicles mean Jeep is ideally placed to meet this demand.”