2014 Jeep Patriot Latitude Review By Dan Poler
2014 Jeep Patriot Latitude | Rocky Mountain Review
By Dan Poler
Rocky Mountain Bureau
The Auto Channel
Let’s get right to the heart of the matter. The Jeep Patriot has been maligned by the press. Available in substantially the same form since 2007, it’s age is showing. Now, that said, new for 2014 is a Hyundai-sourced six-speed automatic transmission available alongside the power-sapping CVT. It makes a world of difference, and properly equipped, the Patriot is a capable and comfortable small SUV – but it carries one fatal flaw that we’ll talk about in just a moment.
Our tester came in the Latitude trim. Whereas features like power windows and locks, heated mirrors, air conditioning and keyless entry are optional on the base Patriot Sport, the Latitude trim includes these features as standard, and adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, height adjustment for the driver’s seat, a fold-flat front passenger’s seat for long loads, and steering wheel audio controls. Another interesting standard feature in the Latitude trim is heated front seats with cloth trim, a nice touch and not often seen.
On the outside the Patriot’s boxy shape, the rectangular rear taillights, and the seven-slat grille are clearly descended from the old Jeep Cherokee, out of production since the 2001 model year. Round headlights tie the vehicle nicely to the Wrangler, and the back end is virtually indistinguishable from that of the Jeep Liberty.
Under the hood, the 2.0-liter and 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engines carry over unchanged. Our tester was equipped with the latter, producing 172 horsepower and 141 lb-ft of torque. New, however is that six-speed automatic transmission, available alongside the much-derided CVT. The new six-speed rates high marks – shifts are smooth, without hesitation. We never once found the transmission to be lacking, and it’s a great addition to the Patriot lineup. The 2.4 is “just OK” – acceleration is smooth but sluggish, at the low end of what we’d consider adequate power for a vehicle of this size and class. Expect highway merges to involve your right foot burying the accelerator in the floor.
Inside, the cabin feels fairly cramped, particularly for the rear passengers. Seats are, however, quite comfortable and supportive, with attractive two-tone cloth. Controls for the driver are easy to reach, and the upright seating position provides excellent forward visibility. The dashboard instruments are fairly small and the speedometer and tachometer numbers are tiny and hard to read. In fact, the interior, with its liberal use of hard plastics and chunky knobs, feels the most in need of an update. Even the infotainment system feels dated – vintage mid-2000’s, as is the cargo area which is cramped, measuring in at a paltry 23 cubic feet.
Our tester came equipped with Jeep’s Freedom Drive I 4x4 setup, a basic setup with a lockable center coupling. We found that it handled very well, and – particularly in combination with the Patriot’s generous 8.1 inches of ground clearance – was more than sufficient to keep us out of trouble on back roads in the mountains. Those looking for an even beefier setup can opt for Freedom Drive II, which includes low-range gearing and hill descent control, but requires selection of the CVT rather than the 6-speed auto.
Around town, the 4x4 system helps the Patriot feel firmly planted – we wouldn’t advise abrupt high-speed maneuvers as we experienced significant body roll, but the relatively weak powerplant is most likely a blessing in this case, intended to keep the driver out of any real trouble. Fuel economy was an excellent 25 MPG combined.
Despite the interior feeling a bit dated, the Patriot Latitude is a nice vehicle, a well-equipped rugged little $20,000 SUV. There’s just one problem, that fatal flaw we mentioned earlier.
The 2014 Jeep Patriot Latitude we tested felt like a $20,000 SUV, but it was not in fact a $20,000 vehicle.
Our tester carried an as-tested MSRP of $26,450.
In this segment of the market, it’s an astronomical difference. At an MSRP on the north end of the mid-20’s, the Patriot is simply outclassed – put simply, similar and better vehicles, albeit not “Jeeps”, can be had for less. In particular, Subaru’s XV Crosstrek runs thousands less for similar features, better ground clearance, and substantially improved fuel economy. It’s unfortunate – although we enjoyed our time with the Patriot, and it’s a fun vehicle to drive, we cannot recommend it on this basis. Chrysler is expected to have a replacement for the Patriot in the near future and we look forward to seeing it and spending some time with it when it’s ready.
2014 Jeep Patriot Latitude Base Price: $15,995.00 Price as Tested: $26,450.00 Engine Type: I4 DOHC 16-valve dual VVT Engine Size: 2.4 liter Horsepower: 172 @ 6,400 RPM Torque (lb-ft): 141 @ 5,000 RPM Transmission: 6-Speed shiftable automatic Wheelbase / Length (in): 103.7 / 173.8 Curb Weight: 3,331 lb Pounds per HP: 19.37 Fuel Capacity (gal): 13.5 Fuel Requirement: Regular unleaded Tires: Goodyear Wrangler SR-A; P215/65SR17 Brakes, front/rear: Ventilated disc / Solid disc Suspension, front/rear: MacPherson strut / Multi-link Ground clearance (in): 8.1 Drivetrain: Four wheel drive EPA Fuel Economy - MPG city / highway / observed: 21 / 27 / 25 Towing capacity (lb): 2,000 Base Trim Price: $23,395.00
Options and Charges
All Weather Capability Group: $395.00 (Daytime running lamp system, OWL all-terrain tires, tow hooks, all-season floor mats, engine block heater) Security and Cargo Convenience Group: $495.00 (Security alarm, tire pressure monitoring display, auto-dimming rearview mirror, electronic vehicle information center, universal garage door opener, adjustable roof rail crossbars, soft tonneau cover)
Uconnect 430 CD/DVD/MP3/HDD: $695.00
Uconnect Voice Command with Bluetooth: $475.00
Price as tested: $26,450.00