Exclusive image: new baby Jeep shapes up

3 Feb, 2014 12:44pm Jack Rix

A new baby Jeep, set to rival the Nissan Juke, will make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show

Jeep is set to unveil a new Nissan Juke rival at March’s Geneva Motor Show, and it’s expected to be called Jeepster. So far, the Fiat 500L-based mule in our spy shots is all we’ve seen of the new model, but our exclusive main image gives a good idea of how it will look. 

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We’ve been told by bosses before that the compact SUV would take inspiration from the iconic Jeep Wrangler, which explains the boxy proportions, round headlights and upright seven-bar grille. The squared-off wheelarches are also a signature Jeep styling cue.

Under the skin is the Fiat Group’s Small Wide platform, which currently underpins the 500L and 500L MPW, but will also form the basis of the 500X crossover. Both cars are set to be built at Fiat’s factory in Melfi, Italy, from the middle of this year.

As it’s a Jeep, you can expect there to be a focus on off-road ability – the American brand prides itself on its models’ class-leading rugged ability. Expect four-wheel drive to be offered across the range, along with clever hill descent technology for driving down steep, muddy tracks. 

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Jeep would not put its badge to any car that could not uphold the American brand's class-leading ability to go off-road, so expect that to be the focus of the heavy engineering. Anticipate four-wheel drive offered across the range, along with hill descent technology.

No engine details have been confirmed, but we’re expecting a 1.6-litre Multijet diesel from Fiat, plus the 2.0-litre diesel which is set to be offered in the Cherokee from April. Petrol options are likely to include a regular 1.4-litre and a 1.4 MultiAir turbo. A manual box will be standard, although Jeep does have a nine-speed auto.

The already booming compact SUV class is expected to double in size by 2017 due to increased demand in Europe and Asia, and Jeep hopes the Jeepster will gain a slice of that market by offering something different to the Juke, the Peugeot 2008 and Renault Captur with its chunky looks and proper off-road credentials. 

Jeep hopes that the Jeepster will gain a slice of the market by offering something different from the class-leading Nissan Juke, the Peugeot 2008 and the Renault Captur with its chunky looks and proper off-road credentials.

In order to gain a slice of the business the baby Jeep will need to be priced competitively, so expect a starting price of around £14,000 at launch near the end of this year.