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Replacing our Beloved Jeep Patriot and Compass…

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Take a close look. That 2016 Jeep Patriot in Miami, FL will be the last model year you’ll ever see because its replacement is looming just beyond the horizon. This replacement vehicle will replace both the Patriot and Compass, and should bring a level of off-road capability to that awkward segment positioned between the Renegade and Cherokee. The Patriot and Compass were good vehicles, but realistically they couldn’t compare to vehicles like the C-segment Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 — which was their major competitors. While it makes sense to drop the axe on the Patriot, this little iconic trooper is still going to be sorely missed.

Let’s take a look at what we know about the replacement model so far, explore why it’s a logical choice on Jeep’s part, and then look at some of the things we’ll miss most about the Patriot.

What We Know About the Replacement

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We don’t know the name of the new model, but everyone who has posted spy photos and reviewed this announcement hope that it will be called something funny and pun-ridden like the ComPatriot. I couldn’t agree more with these suggestions, and really hope that Jeep decides to call it the ComPatriot in order to pay homage to the current vehicles the brand will soon eliminate.

Apart from the speculation of this hopeful name, there are a few other highly-probable opinions circulating the web on this mystery vehicle. The most common one is that it will most likely be a stretched version of the Renegade’s platform, which would only make sense, since the Renegade will then be the smallest vehicle in the Jeep lineup. That way, this new creation will fit snuggly between the Renegade and Cherokee, therefore providing direct and more-than-capable competition for the ever popular CR-V and RAV4.

Not to mention, the little Renegade lands best-in-class 4×4 capability when compared to the other vehicles. So it makes sense to entirely scrap the Patriot and Compass instead of basing the new vehicle off their platforms, and focus entirely on adapting the base of a more modern, capable, and up-and-coming model like the Renegade. Just like the Renegade, however, it most likely won’t beat the Cherokee in any off-roading competitions. It will probably be a model that attempts to strike a balance between fuel economy and off-road capability.

The Competition?

Compared to the competition? Jeep intends to dominate its competitors when traveling off the beaten path. You can tell simply by looking at some of the recently captured spy photos. The new vehicle has Cherokee-esque styling, with a much rounder hatch that replaces the upright and square roofline found on the Renegade. This blend of styling creates some surprisingly impressive approach and departure angles. Since the front and rear fascia appear to be more rounded, this will make going over obstacles much more manageable. Put that next to a vehicle like the CRV or RAV4 that is more square with inferior angles, and this new crossover is going to roll over all the rest when traversing rough terrain.

Engines?

While it’s not entirely possible to predict the engine that will be used to power this vehicle, I’m going to guess the 2.0-liter Tigershark I-4 because it has been proven to provide a good blend of power and efficiency in the other Jeep models. If that’s the case, there will probably be another slightly stronger engine option for those who want to focus more on off-roading.

A crossover SUV with decent on-road efficiency, combined with competitor-topping off-road performance, is highly predictable, given Jeep’s recent trend with its new vehicles. There is no reason it would be any different, especially if it’s going to be in direct competition with other vehicles in the segment like the RAV4 and CRV.

The release date is unknown, however. So perhaps the Patriot will be kept in the lineup for another year or two. The new Jeeper was originally supposed to be revealed during the New York Auto Show. Now, this C-segment SUV will be revealed later this year in Brazil at the Sao Paulo Motor Show on November 8th, and will then make its North American Debut a couple of weeks later at the Los Angeles Motor Show.

It’s a Logical Choice on Jeep’s Part

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This is, obviously, a logical choice on Jeep’s part. Even though there is much love for the Patriot and Compass, they’ve weakened in the overall lineup. They trip over each other in the smaller SUV market, and the only reason Jeep essentially released two different types of the same vehicle is because some consumers gravitate towards one over the other.

But now, when vehicles like the CRV and RAV4 really take off, Jeep needs a vehicle that’s going to keep up with – or better yet – beat the competition on the market. The logical solution? Send the Patriot and Compass to the grave, and bring in a single vehicle that’s updated and modern enough to take on the stronger competitors in the C-segment. That way Jeep can lock that part of the market down as well, and essentially have a monopoly on the compact, crossover, and mid-size SUV segments. With the Patriot sitting in the same segment as the Compass, fighting against each other for consumers, and potentially not gaining any ground in the ever-evolving market, Jeep recognized the possibility that these two vehicles could — unfortunately — end up being dead weight a few years down the road.

Regardless of the official reasons, it’s safe to say that change is good in this situation. It’s exciting to see a brand new Jeep model coming to the otherwise relatively unchanged lineup that’s been around for many years. New Jeep blood is exciting, and I have full confidence that the brand will deliver another Jeep that’s unique to the lineup and market, but still have a touch of that familiar Jeep style.

These are a Few of Our Favorite Things

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Like I said, this is all speculation based on what I’ve seen in the spy photos and what I’ve noticed between the models and persistent patterns in Jeep’s lineup. What isn’t speculation, however, is how much we are going to miss the Patriot.

It might not have been perfect, heck it was never as popular as the Wrangler or Cherokee. But, it still did alright for itself. Especially to the tune of $17,695, which makes it the cheapest Jeep model currently offered – about $300 less than the Renegade, and around two-grand less than the Compass. This extremely affordable price will be sorely missed, but if the new model ends up slotting in between the Renegade and Cherokee, we can expect the price of it to follow suit.

The design is another thing that’s going to be missed. It was neat because it looked like a miniature blend between a Wrangler and a Cherokee, and remained relatively unchanged since it was released back in 2007. For nine years, this little Jeep sat at the lowest end of the price range. That small price also came on a vehicle that used to be considered the smallest one in the Jeep lineup, before the Renegade was released. It sits about two-inches shorter than the Compass, and was perfect for those looking for a vehicle that was easy to handle and manage in tight spaces, with some of the capability and utility of an SUV. That small size also meant it could have a small engine — the aforementioned 2.0-liter Tigershark I-4 engine — which let the Patriot return up to 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.

Even the new ComPatriot (here’s to hoping for that name) won’t be able to return fuel-efficiency like that if it uses the same engine, simply because of its supposed larger size.

We’ll Miss you, Patriot

The Patriot is truly a little vehicle that’s played a huge role in the Jeep lineup for the past nine years, in more ways than one. It gave more timid drivers access to the wonderful world of Jeeps without the angst of driving a larger SUV like the Wrangler, and it gave new drivers a fun, safe, and efficient car to go back and forth to school and work. It was for the old, the young, and anyone in between. But, its time has come to a necessary end, and even though it’s not as legendary as the Wrangler or Cherokee, it’s still the death of a well-loved icon.

We’ll miss you, Patriot. (You, too, Compass). 

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