Spy photographer Chris Doane caught this raised crossover mule, integrating an Alfa grille and fascia and Hornet-like sheet metal, cruising around the Detroit area. Over the past year, many mules for the (possibly) Dodge Hornet sedan have been spied wearing a similar, hacked-together body; this one’s ride height has been pumped up several inches, though whether (as Chris thinks) that means it’s going to be sold as a Jeep is open to question. It might be destined to be a Dodge-branded CUV instead, with Jeep keeping the Patriot form factor.
Much like Hornet mules, this Jeep mule has a few inches of sheet metal added in the rear doors, and a few inches added down the centerline of the car. It even looks as if Jeep engineers had to resort to some kind of caulk to hold the rear passenger windows in place!
This new Jeep will be riding on the CUSW platform, a modified version of Fiat’s C-Evo. When production starts, it’s expected to come in FWD and AWD variants, with a choice of turbocharged Fiat 1.4 (made in Michigan) and 2.4 liter engines. This particular car seems to have a charge air cooler, indicating it’s carrying the 1.4.
Rumors have this Jeep, along with an Alfa Romeo-badged version, being built in Turin, Italy, but no final decision (or announcement) has been made.
Update: we have been told that the upcoming Patriot/Compass replacement will not look like this mule, which was created largely to test the 4×4 powertrain. Most observers expect the replacement for the Patriot and Compass to drop the much-maligned CVT, using instead a choice of manual transmission, Fiat DCT, or six-speed conventional automatic. In addition, engines are expected to be a choice of turbo-Fiat 1.4, 2.0 WGE, and 2.4 WGE. Tiger Shark could either be used for a performance variant or as the top-end engine. The 2-liter WGE should gain some performance boosts, if not in peak horsepower than in real-life driveability.