New Jeep baby SUV for 2014

New Jeep baby SUV for 2014

Jeep’s new Nissan Juke rival promises to remain true to the brand’s off-road capability and image

Jeep will release a new baby SUV in 2014.

The company promises that its baby SUV will be the “most capable off-road vehicle in the segment” when it arrives in the middle of next year.

As these spy photos show, chassis development is under way for the new vehicle, which is based on the underpinnings of the Fiat 500L.

Jeep has high sales expectations for its new rival to the Vauxhall Mokka, Nissan Juke and Ford EcoSport. Although the vehicle, codenamed B-SUV, is intended to broaden the brand’s appeal and boost its sales in North America and Europe, company chiefs are adamant that this will not happen at the cost of Jeep’s ‘trail-rated’ identity.

It will have rugged looks inspired by Jeep’s latest Wrangler off-roader and could feature four-wheel drive as standard to give it clear differentiation from its rivals.

“We feel there’s a position for a real Jeep offering which will be the true SUV in that growing segment,” said Chris Ellis, head of Jeep for Europe. “It will be identifiable as a Jeep from its styling and it will be the best and most capable off-road vehicle in that segment. It will be a Jeep through and through.

“What we’re not trying to do is generalise the brand in order to appeal to a larger group. We believe the core values of Jeep — freedom, authenticity and adventure — are relevant to a large enough population for us to get the market growth that we need.”

It seems likely that the baby Jeep will be revealed at the Geneva motor show in March, during what will be a busy year for the brand. The latest Cherokee will reach Europe in the second quarter of 2014, and Ellis said that “it is going to put us near the top of the class in terms of fuel economy” while “still doing all the things that a Jeep should do”.

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