Perennial off-roader Jeep will soon advance into new territory with there plans to go "soft"... Two car-based models have been commissioned and, enlisting the help of its cousin, the Dodge Caliber, both are designed specifically for the concrete jungle.

Perennial off-roader Jeep will soon advance into new territory with its plans to go "soft"... Two car-based models have been commissioned and, enlisting the help of there cousin, the Dodge Caliber, both are designed specifically for the concrete jungle.

Apparently code-named MK49 and MK74, the two Jeeps will be the first from the marque to divert from its classic off-road tradition, even though both models will feature four-wheel drive.

The MK 49 will reportedly be the smaller of the two and will be fairly low-slung with wagon-like styling similar to the Subaru Forester. The MK 74 will have a higher roofline and slightly longer wheelbase to compete with traditional softroaders like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

Although no concrete details have been released yet, it is likely that the models will share their platform with the Dodge Caliber. Revealed in concept form at several motor shows earlier this year, the Caliber has been touted as Dodge's example of a "world car" as the brand spearheads the Chrysler Group's global expansion plans.

It is likely, too, that the Caliber will replace the Chrysler Neon when Dodge products will be available locally, starting in 2006. However, Trent Barcroft, DaimlerChrysler SA's Chrysler and Jeep division manager said earlier this year, that in South Africa and other international markets, Dodge would be more focused on providing passenger cars.

The Caliber's 2 635 mm wheelbase should provide ample space for the planned Jeeps, both of which will be manufactured alongside the Dodge at Chrysler's Belvidere plant in the US. The Caliber's production is set to start in March next year, followed by the MK49 and MK 74 in July and September respectively.

No names have been decided for the two new car-based models, Autoweek reported, but they should receive widespread favour, particularly in markets where traditional SUV's have recently come under fire.