The ’07 Patriot cross/utility vehicle, one of two new Jeep products based on Chrysler Group’s high-volume C-segment platform, will start at $14,985 (including destination charges), the auto maker says.

The announcement reduces by $1,000 the price of entry for prospective Jeep customers. The ’07 Compass CUV, which shares its platform with the Patriot and the ’07 Dodge Caliber small car, had been Jeep’s lowest-priced vehicle. Compass production launched in May, while Chrysler began building the Patriot this month.

The Patriot was developed for “youthful customers and people with active lifestyles who may have always wanted a Jeep vehicle but, until now, may not have been able to afford one,” says George Murphy, Chrysler’s senior vice president-global marketing.

The new CUV begins arriving in North American dealerships this month and will be available overseas – in left- and right-hand-drive markets – early next year.

The new CUV’s list of standard equipment includes electronic stability control, antilock brakes with rough-road detection, traction control and an anti-rollover system.

Properly equipped, Chrysler says it will achieve fuel economy of up to 30 mpg (7.8 L/100 km).

Equipped with Jeep’s trademark Trail Rated off-road package, the Patriot tops out at $23,530.

The Patriot, Compass and Caliber are assembled at Chrysler’s plant in Belvidere, IL.