Jeep Patriot Back Country

When they were first introduced, some criticized the Jeep Patriot and Compass for being based on the same unibody platform as the Dodge Caliber, while others felt they sported overly cheap interiors. Given the concern about high gas prices, Chrysler isn't about to abandon its plan to develop more unibody Jeeps, but for 2009 the automaker is upgrading the cabin materials and level of fit-and-finish in its small CUVs. And to show off these changes, the Jeep stand in Paris will feature two special versions of the soft-roaders, including a Patriot Back Country concept that Chrysler vice president of design Ralph Gilles says "was inspired by the outdoor enthusiast seeking adventure, fun, and freedom."

What this amounts to is a host of additional Mopar accessories catering to "active lifestyle" owners, including a rooftop cargo basket to help haul outdoor equipment, off-road lights to illuminate your campsite, and deluxe splash guards keep the wheelwells clear when you go mudding. Other exterior upgrades are subtle and serve to give the Patriot a cleaner look, including a blackened B-pillar, a platinum chrome light bar illuminating the license plate, and body-color door handles. Inside, the Patriot's new interior is spruced up with the addition of, among other upgrades, satin chrome trim, a wetsuit-inspired urethane material on the seat bolsters, headrests, and steering wheel, and a special "Back Country Edition" logo on the seats.