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First look: Jeep slams down facelifted Patriot

New Jeep entrée: Jeep’s entry-level model, the Patriot, receives a raft of upgrades for the 2011 model year.

Upgraded Jeep Patriot to follow new Grand Cherokee and facelifted Wrangler in 2011

Jeep logo20 Sep 2010

By MARTON PETTENDY

JEEP will cap off a busy first half of next year by introducing a facelifted Patriot with an upgraded exterior and interior, plus improved chassis dynamics.

The facelifted Patriot will go on sale in Australia by the middle of 2011, following the first-quarter release of both the all-new Grand Cherokee and upgraded Wrangler range.

Revealed late last week in the US, the 2011 Patriot will come with a fresh front bumper design, with foglights positioned within its new headlights that flank a new body-coloured grille.

9 center imageFrom top: Jeep Patriot interior, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Wrangler.

At the back, a new rear fascia extends lower than before, while new 17-inch alloy wheels will be available as an option in the US.

Changes to the Patriot interior echo the cabin upgrades for the 2011 Wrangler and include soft-touch front door trim panels, a new centre armrest and a new cloth interior with premium cloth bucket seats up front.

There is also a new steering wheel with remote controls for the radio, cruise, phone and climate systems, while new backlighting illuminates the door window, mirror and locking switches.

More significantly, the 2011 Patriot receives fine-tuned suspension and steering systems to improve both ride and handling.

In the US, the Patriot will be available in three specification levels (Sport, Latitude and Latitude X), with each version offered in both front and all-wheel drive configurations.

The Patriot is currently an AWD-only model in Australia, where it opens the Jeep range with a starting price of $29,990 for the 2.4-litre Sport manual.

With help from the top-selling Wrangler 4x4 (sales of which are up 88 per cent this year) and the mid-size Cherokee SUV (up 37.7 per cent), the Patriot has helped Jeep to a 61 per cent sales rise in 2010 – despite the iconic US off-road brand having discontinued the large Commander and small Compass SUVs.

Jeep remains the backbone of the revitalised Fiat-owned Chrysler Group, with global sales expected to increase 60 per cent to 800,000 by 2014.

As we reported when Fiat revealed its five-year plan for Chrysler last November, the Cherokee (also known as the Liberty), Patriot and Compass models will be replaced by Fiat-developed products in 2013, including an all-new sub-compact crossover and a single model to replace the Patriot/Compass twins.

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