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Chrysler details changes to minivan, Jeep Patriot

Tue, 14 Sep 2010

Wider use of the Pentastar V6, fascia changes and more luxurious materials in the interior are the key changes being made to the Chrysler Town & Country minivan and the Jeep Patriot for the 2011 model year.

The changes come as Chrysler works to revive interest in its products after nearly two years of virtually no new-product activity while the automaker worked through a government-sponsored bankruptcy.

Earlier this year, Chrysler unveiled the redesigned 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which is now on sale. The company has also shown the redesigned Dodge Durango, which goes on sale late this year.

Also on Tuesday, Chrysler showed the first images of the Chrysler 200 sedan, the restyled and renamed Sebring.

The 2011 versions of the Chrysler Town & Country and the Jeep Patriot, and the Chrysler 200, go on sale late this year.

The Town & Country minivan gets the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, rated at 283 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. That's an 86-hp bump from the 3.8-liter V6 used in the minivan. But Chrysler says the Pentastar Town & Country will get 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway with its six-speed automatic transmission.

Other changes include a restyled instrument panel and steering wheels with audio and cruise controls, upgraded cloth and leather seat coverings, a new heating and cooling system and soft-touch trim.

Fog lights are standard on the 2011 Jeep Patriot.

Soft-touch trim also was added to the interior of the Jeep Patriot, along with a redesigned center armrest and redesigned steering wheel with audio controls.

On the outside, the Patriot gets a redesigned front fascia with standard fog lamps, body-color grille and a rear fascia that extends lower. Ride height of the four-wheel-drive model has been increased by one inch.

By Dale Jewett