Chrysler Group officially will unveil the other half of its new small Jeep duo, the Patriot cross/utility vehicle this week in New York.

The more rugged, classic styling of the Patriot, exhibited last fall as a concept at the Frankfurt auto show, is expected to skew the vehicle toward a more male audience, as compared with its Jeep Compass platform-mate. In addition, unlike the Compass, the Patriot is “Trail Rated.”

Both the Compass and Patriot share underpinnings with the Dodge Caliber and will be built at Chrysler’s Belvidere, IL, assembly plant. Patriot production is set to get under way in the third quarter.

Like the Compass and Caliber, the Patriot is powered by Global Engine Mfg. Alliance’s 172-hp 2.4L 4-cyl. World Engine, which will be produced at the GEMA plant in Dundee, MI. The engine, which features variable valve timing, generates 165 lb.-ft. (224 Nm) of torque.

It is mated to either a standard 5-speed manual transaxle or one of two second-generation continuously variable transmissions – the CVT2 or CVT2L. The latter offers a best-in-class 19:1 low ratio Chrysler says is ideal for crawling over obstacles. The Compass is not offered with the CVT2L transmission.

An optional 2L turbodiesel, paired with a 6-speed manual transmission, will be available in some markets outside North America.

Three drive configurations will be available, front drive; “Freedom Drive I” fulltime all-wheel drive with lock mode; and Freedom Drive II Offroad Package, which includes the CVT2L transmission and 4-wheel drive.

The Offroad Package also includes 17-in all-terrain tires and aluminum wheels, a fullsize spare, air filtration system, skid plates, tow hooks, fog lamps and seat height adjuster.

All models come standard with brake traction control, driver-controlled 3-mode electronic stability program, brake assist, electronic roll mitigation and antilock brakes with rough-road detection.

With the rear seats folded flat, the Patriot offers 54.2 cu.-ft. (1.5 sq.-m) of cargo room. That increases to 62.7 cu.-ft. (1.8 cu.-m) with the front passenger seat folded down.

The stiffer windshield, upright backlight and bold rear bumper typify the Patriot’s classic Jeep styling.

“Simple yet distinctive geometric forms and planar surfaces define Jeep Patriot’s timeless proportions,” says Trevor Creed, senior vice president-design. “Combined, these features give Jeep Patriot its robust, strong, capable off-road image.”

Side-curtain airbags are standard, and available equipment includes a navigation system, 9-speaker sound system that includes articulating speakers mounted in the liftgate and a self-recharging removable cargo lamp.

Chrysler says the Patriot will compete in the rapidly growing compact utility segment, which it says accounted for 297,000 vehicles, or 1.7% of U.S. sales in 2004. That will double to 568,000 units by 2010 and hit 814,000 vehicles by 2016, the auto maker says.

Targeted buyers are expected to be in their early 20s to early 40s, both married and single, with a median income of $65,000. More than half will be college educated, Chrysler says.

Two trim levels will be available, Patriot and Patriot Limited.

The Patriot will hit U.S. dealerships in the fourth quarter and reach key global markets – in both left- and right-hand drive – beginning first-half 2007.

dzoia@wardsauto.com