Although visually unchanged for the new season, the traditionally styled and impressively capable 2014 Jeep Patriot does gain two new features of note. Back in Sport, Latitude and Limited trim, this compact 5-passenger SUV bolsters its already comprehensive suite of passenger protection elements with new standard front-side airbags. Like the Compass with which it shares much of its powertrain and platform architecture, the 2014 Patriot also benefits from the arrival of the new Power Tech 6-speed automatic transmission with an AutoShift gate that replaces the continuously variable automatic (CVT) used in current model.

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Patriot buyers will be able to upgrade its standard 5-speed manual gearbox with this new 6-speed auto trans regardless of engine choice. For the record, those 4-cylinder motivators remain unchanged from 2013 and consist of a 158-horsepower/2.0-liter that's standard in the Sport and Latitude or the 172-horse/2.4-liter that part of the Limited kit but is offered in both other trim grades. Also returning intact is the trio of drivetrain configurations. While most owners will likely find either the standard front drive or Freedom Drive I, Jeep's full-time, lockable active 4-wheel-drive setup adequate, dedicated dirt devotees with a 2.4-liter Patriot can step up to the trail-rated Freedom Drive II 4x4 Off-road Package that includes a dedicated version of the CVT with an integrated low range and also features 17-inch all-terrain tires, a 1.0-inch taller ride height, skid plates, tow hooks and more.

The 2014 Jeep Patriot will go on sale late in the first quarter. Pricing has not yet been released.


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