Editorial

Will This Be The Next Micro Jeep?

In the era of rebadging, a ‘Jeep’ emblem can go on anything. Even... this thing.

With the next baby Jeep, dubbed the Laredo (or Jeepster), being built on the Fiat 500L platform, seeing the Italian’s announcement ofthis cute, plastic-clad four-wheel drive version of its Panda city-car didn't make us smile. It made uscringe. Not because Fiat doesn't make decent cars, or because there is anything wrong with the upcoming Panda. Its just that Jeeps shouldn't ever be downsized into something this minuscule. OK, there really hasn't been any talk of making this 0.9-liter, 90hp twin-turbo ‘offroader’- debuting in Geneva next month - into a rebadgedJeep. Yet.

But with SUVs and crossovers getting smaller and smaller- even in truck-loving America- and with the corporate relationship between Fiat and Chrysler now sealed with a ring, it wouldn't takemuch to turn this micro Fiat into Jeep's newest - and smallest - model yet. Likethe 500L/Laredo makeover, the car could be tweaked to look like a Jeep, andChrysler’s engineers could promise to make this into a Panda that can reallyclimb anything. For now, it’s just our sick imagination at work. But let’s just wait and see.

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