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Details emerge on Jeep's sub-Cherokee crossover

by Ronan Glon

The baby Jeep might revive the Jeepster nameplate.

A report coming out of Australia indicates the compact Jeep crossover that will replace both the Compass and the Patriot will revive the storied Jeepster nameplate when it is introduced at next March's Geneva Motor Show.

Riding on a modified Fiat 500L platform, the Jeepster will borrow design cues from the iconic Willy's that was used widely in World War II. Pictures are not available yet but rumors indicate the crossover will get round headlights and bold version of Jeep's trademarked seven-slat grille that will be taller than the one found on the newly-introduced Cherokee.

The Jeepster will share its unibody platform with a Fiat crossover tentatively called 500X. While the Fiat will be offered with both front- and four-wheel drive, the Jeep version will likely boast improved off-road capabilities and an earlier report suggests that it will be exclusively available with four-wheel drive. A two-speed transfer case like Jeep's more dirt-oriented models has not been confirmed yet.

The Fiat's entry-level engine will be a turbocharged 0.9-liter two-cylinder dubbed TwinAir but the Jeep will gain a 160-horsepower 1.4-liter gas-burning four-cylinder. A 1.3-liter turbodiesel four-banger rated at 105 horsepower and 236 lb-ft. of torque will be offered to buyers Europe, and Jeep might sell it in the United States if oil-burner sales continue to rise.

Following its debut in Switzerland, the Jeepster will production in Fiat's Melfi, Italy, factory next summer and land in showrooms across the country next fall as a 2015 model. The car will slot beneath the Cherokee and cost several thousand dollars less.

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