Here’s one of the weirdest test mules CAR’s spy snappers have ever scooped: the new Jeep supermini-crossover. Underneath the jacked-up Fiat 500L body and Alfa Romeo Mito headlights, this is Jeep’s new weapon for pinching European-based sales from the popular Korean and Japanese miniature crossovers.
Not a Fiat 500L sporting a Polo Harlequin paint job then?
Mercifully not. The reason for Jeep hiding its new crossover in Fiat and Alfa fancy dress is something of a family affair: Jeep is one of the brands nestled under the wing of Chrysler (along with Dodge and performance arm SRT) – and Chrysler is, you guessed it, a subsidiary of the Fiat Group. As such, the new mini-Jeep, codenamed BSUV, will be built in Italy, rather than one of Jeep’s US facilities.
So, that’s the family tree, but who’s the new arrival?
Jeep needs to shift more vehicles in Europe. The solution? A Nissan Juke/Renault Captur-sized crossover supermini marrying classic Jeep design cues with frugal engines and a touch of Evoque-bothering off-road ability. The as-yet unchristened crossover will slot into the range beneath the controversial-looking new Cherokee, which, incidentally, will go on UK sale in early 2014, and cost from around £23,000.
Any word on engines?
Fiat/Alfa Romeo powerplants are the most likely candidates: a Jeep source told CAR that the ‘BSUV’ will use a diesel-biased line-up in the UK, with the most popular powerplant expected to be the 1.6-litre ‘Multijet’ engine from the Fiat stable. An entry-level 1.3 diesel will also be offered.
Will it really be any good off-road?
CAR has been promised the BSUV will maintain ‘all the attributes of a proper Jeep, including in off-road ability.’ That said, the top-selling models won’t be mud-plugging 4x4s, but front-drive versions. The Jeep Compass, currently the cheapest model in the company’s European range, has been best-received by customers as a front-driver, thanks to the lower weight, fuel consumption, and C02 output.
When will the new Jeep be revealed?
The new ‘BSUV’ will be formally unveiled at the Geneva motor show in March 2014, ahead of UK sales kicking off next summer.