KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 3/8/2013
When Jeep created the Patriot in 2007, the idea seemed spot on. After all, the compact SUV segment was booming and Jeep had nothing to offer for less than $20K that got much better than 20 mpg. Despite its humble Dodge Caliber roots, the Patriot does possess a modicum of off-road ability, especially with the Trail Rated Freedom Drive II package. And while its overall build quality has improved, the Patriot still lags far behind industry leaders like the Honda CR-V and Kia Sportage. However, if your budget is limited and you're not all about engine refinement and performance, the Patriot will hold a spot on your dance card. It's also one of the few remaining SUVs still offering a manual transmission.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you live in an area where snow and inclement weather are regular occurrences, the 2014 Jeep Patriot's low cost 4-wheel drive model should look quite appealing. When equipped with Freedom Drive II, this little compact can go where many of its rivals dare not.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a refined ride with the latest technologies both under the hood and inside the cabin, you probably won't connect with the 2014 Jeep Patriot. Real off-road enthusiasts will prefer the Wrangler, while those looking for maximum fuel economy might prefer a Mazda CX-5 or Subaru Forester.
What's New for 2014
A new 6-speed automatic transmission is now available on most models, although the dreaded continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is still roaming freely among models equipped with the Freedom Drive II option. Front-seat side-impact airbags are now standard on all trims.
You can't deny your roots, and neither can the Jeep Patriot. The Dodge Caliber econocar platform probably made sense for a low-priced, light-duty Jeep in 2007, but the small-SUV class is too competitive for that formula to still work. The Patriot can hold its own in modest off-roading when equipped with the Freedom Drive II package, but almost all drivers spend the vast majority of their time on public pavement, and there the Patriot is simply outclassed. Neither of the 4-cylinder engines feels very strong, and the CVT transmission does more for fuel economy than it does for performance, although the new 6-speed automatic goes a long way to improving the latter. Highway ride and handling are okay, as long as you don't compare the Patriot to a more refined small SUV – of which there are plenty. The all-new (probably Fiat-based) Jeep Patriot can't come too soon.
FREEDOM DRIVE I (ON-ROAD PACKAGE)
For those facing seasonal road conditions, Freedom Drive I provides a full-time 4WD system designed to give year-round peace-of-mind. You won't be tackling the Rubicon Trail with Freedom Drive I, but you could tow your ATV to where the trail starts.
FREEDOM DRIVE II OFF-ROAD PACKAGE
For those preferring the road less traveled – or no road at all – Jeep offers the optional Freedom Drive II Off-Road Package. It includes a 2nd-generation CVT transaxle with low range, 17-inch all-terrain tires and an abundance of skid plates, tow hooks and fog lights.
For vehicle details and pricing notes…