Hard plastic surfaces aren't the most inviting but they are easy to clean, which is one benefit of the Patriot's utilitarian cabin. Still, there are some nice techy features to enjoy (a Uconnect media center with iPod interface, SiriusXM satellite radio and navigation with Sirius Travel Link) and a couple of truly clever ideas, such as the cargo-area lamp that pops out to become a rechargeable LED flashlight and the speakers that flip down from the raised liftgate to energize those tailgate parties.
Jeep's design team did an admirable job of sculpting traditional Jeep proportions onto economy-car, front-drive architecture. Requisite Jeep-family features show up, including the seven-slot grille and "can-do" fender flares. The Patriot's upright layout provides reasonable outward visibility as well as some visual character.
Notable Standard Equipment
Despite its very affordable starting price of under $17,000 including destination, Jeep's 2014 Patriot Sport is well equipped. Standard features include electronic stability control, electronic roll mitigation, Hill-Start Assist, ABS, audio jack, fold-flat rear seats, deep tinted glass and roof side rails. Standard power is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine connected to a 5-speed manual transmission.
Notable Optional Equipment
You want options? Jeep has supplied them, mostly in the form of upgrades in trim level or package selection. The move from Sport to Latitude adds air conditioning, power windows and door locks, 17-inch aluminum wheels, remote start, front heated cloth seats, body-color exterior door handles and leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and speed controls. Opt for the top-line Limited and you'll enjoy the larger 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, leather seating, 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS and Jeep's Electronic Vehicle Information Center.
Under the Hood
Within its three trim levels reside two engine choices (2.0-liter and 2.4-liter fours) and three transmissions (5-speed manual, 6-speed automatic and the CVT2L with low range). The 158-horsepower 2.0-liter is standard on 2WD Sport and 2WD Latitude, while the 172-horsepower 2.4-liter is fitted to 4WD Sport, 4WD Latitude and all Limiteds. Patriots with the Freedom Drive II Off-Road package get the CVT2L transmission, which incorporates a low range for slow-crawling off road.
158 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
141 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/30 mpg (2WD, manual), 21/28 mpg (2WD, automatic)
172 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
165 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/28 mpg (2WD, manual), 21/28 mpg (2WD, automatic), 23/28 (4WD, manual), 21/27 mpg (4WD, automatic), 20/23 mpg (4WD, CVT automatic w/ Off-Road package)
Jeep claims you won't find a lower-priced 2014 SUV than the 2WD Sport Patriot, at just under $17,000, nor a lower-priced 4x4 than the 4WD Sport, at just over $19,000. At the top end, the 4WD Limited starts at just under $27,000. Given the car's econobox roots, you may feel hard-pressed to justify any of those prices. For a little more money (Kia Sportage, around $20,000; Subaru Forester, just under $23,000), legions of more modern choices open up, albeit without some of the Jeep's special equipment. But if your budget says no to that stretch, then the Patriot may be in play. Plus, a car at the end of its production cycle will likely carry generous incentives. To make your best deal, check our Fair Purchase Price, which reflects real-world transaction prices being paid in your area. And be ready for rapid depreciation; the Patriot's retained value will be well below those of Asian nameplates.
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