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The 2014 Jeep Patriot is on a simple mission: It provides the iconic, rugged look of a traditional Jeep along with decent off-roading ability. Jeep has also aggressively priced the Patriot so that it's one of the least expensive crossover SUVs on the market. That's an appealing combination, but the devil is in the details.
It's true that the Patriot, at least in its base Sport trim level, has a lower as-new price than any other crossover SUV. But that Sport trim goes without a lot of desirable standard features, such as air-conditioning, power locks and power windows. When adding features like those back in, the Patriot's price becomes similar to those of a much more desirable group of competitors.
In terms of off-road capability, you aren't getting much bang for your buck with the 2014 Jeep Patriot either. It's really only capable when it's been fitted with extra-cost features that enhance its ability to climb over obstacles. If you never go off-road, you might not care, but the Patriot also has some significant issues that detract from its desirability in daily use. Cargo capacity is the biggie, as the Patriot offers just 53.5 cubic feet with its rear seats folded, and that's a very small number for this class. Interior materials quality is nothing to write home about either.
In past years, we also griped about the Patriot's acceleration, but Jeep has addressed this issue for 2014: Most Jeep Patriots can now be equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission. This should be an upgrade over the underwhelming continuously variable transmission (CVT) that was previously mandatory. We have yet to test a 2014 Jeep Patriot with the six-speed automatic, but we'll update this review when we do.
The 2014 Jeep Patriot receives a newly optional six-speed automatic transmission. Front-side airbags are now standard rather than optional.
The 2014 Jeep Patriot is a compact crossover SUV that seats five people. It is available in Sport, Latitude and Limited trim levels.
The base Sport level is sparsely equipped with standard 16-inch steel wheels, roof rails, foglights, cruise control, cloth upholstery, a tilt-only steering wheel, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. The optional Power Value Group adds full power accessories, heated mirrors, keyless entry and additional body-color exterior pieces. Air-conditioning and 17-inch alloy wheels are also optional.
The Latitude gets the above features as standard, plus a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, heated front seats, a fold-flat front passenger seat and steering-wheel audio controls.
The Limited adds automatic climate control, rear disc brakes (versus rear drum brakes), upgraded exterior trim, leather upholstery, a six-way power driver seat (plus manual lumbar adjustment), a six-CD changer and a trip computer.
The Latitude and Limited are eligible for several option packages. The Sun and Sound Group adds a sunroof and a nine-speaker Boston Acoustics sound system (with two drop-down liftgate speakers) and satellite radio. The Security and Cargo Convenience Group adds adjustable roof rail crossbars, remote ignition, a tire pressure monitor display, a cargo cover, Bluetooth, a USB audio jack and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. A 6.5-inch touchscreen audio interface that includes digital music storage is also available, and on Limited models, it can be equipped with a navigation system as well.
All-wheel-drive models, regardless of trim, can be equipped with the Freedom-Drive II Off-Road Group. This includes an enhanced four-wheel-drive system, all-terrain tires, a full-size spare tire, hill descent control, tow hooks, skid plates and, on the Sport, a height-adjustable driver seat.
When equipped with standard front-wheel drive, the 2014 Jeep Patriot Sport and Latitude are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 158 horsepower and 141 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional.EPA-estimated fuel economy with front-wheel drive and the six-speed automatic is 21 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined, which is disappointing given the Patriot's lack of power. The manual version does slightly better with mpg ratings of 23/28/25.Optional on the front-drive Sport and Latitude is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that produces 172 hp and 165 lb-ft of torque. This engine is standard on all-wheel-drive models and all Patriot Limited models. You can choose between the five-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmission. The optional Freedom-Drive II Group provides a more serious four-wheel-drive system with low-range gearing and hill descent control, but requires that you also select the available continuously variable transmission (CVT).EPA-estimated fuel economy with the 2.4-liter engine, the five-speed manual and all-wheel drive stands at 23/28/25. Picking the automatic drops these numbers to 21/27/23. With the CVT, fuel economy is quite poor at 20/23/21.In Edmunds performance testing, a Patriot Limited with Freedom-Drive II and the CVT needed a lengthy 10.3 seconds to go from zero to 60 mph: one of the slowest times of any small crossover SUV.