Jeep working on a new model to take on the MINI Countryman

Article by Christian Andrei, on July 18, 2011

Fiat and Chrysler insiders say that the upcoming B-segment crossover from Jeep will be positioned directly against the Mini Countryman. The baby Jeep, which is known internally as the “SS”, stands for super small or super sport. It won’t be used on a production vehicle as it’s even smaller than the existing Patriot and Compass.

Chrysler’s engineers are working on this vehicle, which is expected to have almost the same dimensions as the Countryman. It’s believed that the SS will have the off-roading capability that’s expected from a vehicle with the seven-slat grille.

If the SS isn’t plastered with “Trail Rated” badges, it will likely require more ground clearance than the 5.9 inches of the Countryman. Even as this new Jeep is being designed and engineered from Detroit, it will be based on a Fiat-sourced compact platform like the Patriot and Compass replacement. However, the Italian teams are getting more involved. It’s understandable since the Europeans are the experts in making the most of small vehicles.

There are two different ideas that are floating around on what would be the SS’s design. There are those who believe that the SS will be rounder and will follow the Countryman’s shape.

Another group believes that it will have a boxy design that’s more comparable to Jeep’s own Wrangler. Notably, there was a similar argument during the development of the Compass and Patriot. But then, both got the green light in the end.

Chrysler will choose a final design for the SS soon but this time, just one design will be approved. Similar to the Compass and Patriot, the SS will get either front- or all-wheel drive.

The two-wheel-drive version is expected to feature an electronic brake-based system that simulates a differential to help traction in the muck. The more affordable front-wheel-drive model may get a simple and cost-effective torsion-beam rear suspension. Meanwhile, the four-wheel-drive SS is likely to receive a multilink setup.

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