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2014 Jeep Patriot Overview
Jeep's least-expensive compact 4-wheeler soldiers into 2014 with a few changes in hopes this might not be its last year in production. Unless company executives decide otherwise, this utilitarian version of Jeep's Compass is slated to stalwartly follow wherever it may go—and so far the Compass is headed into a deep, deep ocean of rental cars. Offering no better off-road capability than the now similarly equipped Compass for 2014, the Patriot lost its Jeep Liberty competition for 2012 but still continues to struggle so much that most reviewers were surprised to see it return for 2014 at all.
Lacking any real distinguishing points other than its price, the Patriot is probably best described as an unhappy middle between too many markets. Given angles of approach and departure no better than your average minivan's, fuel economy no better than your average midsize SUV's and road manners decidedly worse than either's, the Patriot's only saving grace is a small army of dedicated Jeepers who prefer to take their Patriot on unpaved road trips and leave their serious Jeeps to serious off-roading. It gets a few fans for waging weekend wars with its relatively smooth ride and willingness to get dirty, but otherwise the Patriot is a clover wisely looked over by most drivers.
The Patriot does offer trail-rated performance in 4-wheel drive (4WD) form with Freedom Drive II, but that means taking the noisy, sluggish and notoriously finicky CVT for no better than 28 mpg and 28 degrees of climbing leeway. A new Hyundai-designed optional 6-speed automatic is expected to do a bit better, Jeep promising up to 30 highway mpg with it mated to the smaller 158-hp 2-liter of the Patriot's pair of 4-cylinders with either front-wheel (FWD) or Freedom-Drive I wet-weather-ready all-wheel drive (AWD), but of course at least 2 mpg worse when paired with the 172-hp 2.4-liter engine. Those that prefer a Jeep on a stick can get their 6-speed fix only in the base Sport, again for no better than 28 mpg even despite the Patriot's specialized highway ratio, but it, too, gets the options of FWD or AWD and 2-liter or 2.4-liter engines. That means the only mechanical difference between the Patriot and Compass for 2014 is an extra gear on the manual—that's it.
Offered in Sport, Latitude and Limited trims just like its Compass brother, the Patriot likewise shares 2014 Compass updates to style inside and out with the same new option for a back-up camera and new sound-dampening windshield, but adds newly standard front seat-mounted side airbags as well. However, unlike its brother, the Patriot is very sparsely equipped at its base, lacking air conditioning or any power accessories by default—again playing Jeeper-magnate rather than tending to "outsider" driver desires for more seat comfort, better lane-changing rearward visibility, competitive fuel economy, road manners and generally more likeness to every other compact SUV on the market. That said, it's probably a safe bet Jeep would rather let the Patriot go to sleep for a while than shoot for that kind of a revolution.
Your prototypical "Tom Girl" Patricia got her start digging into Ford engines before she aged into double digits. Gifted with a mechanical mind, her favorite pass-time in the summer is picking up a fixer-up'r at the local public auction and massaging its every ailment until it's primed for a new lover. From dirt bikes to land yachts, every partner offers something truly special in her love affair with the road - just don't tell her husband.
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