A Jeep of a Different Caliber
Jeep's entry-level crossover has little to love.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: June 24th, 2013
Who's side is Jeep on, anyway? If you're an iconic American brand and you're going to make a vehicle named the Patriot, shouldn't it be something every red-blooded flag-waver should be proud to own? Shouldn't it at least have some power? Or at least some swagger? Unfortunately, this little entry-level Jeep - built on the much reviled Dodge Caliber platform -- has less in common with Uncle Sam than it does with Uncle Vanya.
The Patriot's design has an understated classic Jeep-ness that's admirable. It's a car that doesn't try very hard, so its looks are not deceiving. It's small and boxy, but not in any way unattractive. From a distance, one could almost mistake it for a Jeep from the past.
As an entry level car, the Patriot gets the full-on entry-level interior. Like the exterior it's bland and inoffensive. Things are where they should be and there's even a 120-V outlet, as well as a USB port (although we couldn't get our music to play via direct connection -- despite being plugged in, it always streamed via Bluetooth). There's a respectable amount of storage, especially with the rear seats folded over, but the must utilitarian thing about the Patriot is the rear dome light, which is actually a removable flashlight. It's a clever bit of design that we were surprised to come across in such a non-clever car.
On the Road
Fortunately, Jeep ditched the CVT for the 2014 Patriot, replacing it with a normal 6-speed automatic. The bad news is if you want the trail-rated package, you still have to swallow the CVT. The Patriot performs like a champ around town. It's comfortable, easy to drive, and the steering is confident without being too stiff. If you're looking for quick acceleration, however, you're not going to find it.
Safety & Fuel Economy
There is no safety rating as of yet for the 2014 Patriot, but the 2013 model got less-than-perfect marks from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), The Patriot does pretty well, mpg-wise, getting a respectable 27 miles per gallon on the highway and 21 in the city, for a combined rating of 23 mpg.
The Jeep Patriot definitely falls under the time-honored "you get what you pay for" rule. As the cheapest car in the Jeep fleet, it's got little in the way of style, power, or off-road capabilities. And as is the case with most crossovers, it's difficult to see why someone shouldn't just buy a sedan instead. But if you just have to have a Jeep, but you can't really afford one, the Patriot may be right up your alley.
Features & Prices
165 lb.-ft. torque
4-wheel drive, 6-speed automatic
21 mpg (city)/ 27 mpg (hwy)
Price (as tested)
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2014 Jeep Patriot, click here: 2014 Jeep Patriot.