Let’s start with the good news about the 2014 Jeep Patriot Latitude. There’s nothing wrong with it. I mean really wrong. Like truly bad.
Now that bad news, there’s not a lot that’s all that right.
Go out and test drive the new Jeep Grand Cherokee and you’ll be impressed with every aspect of that car. Drive the Jeep Patriot Latitude and you’ll be even more impressed, with how far they had to go to get there. The Patriot is just an unimpressive car. That’s OK if it has some special redeeming factor like a dirt cheap price. But the Patriot Latitude I tested came in at $26,575. Not a bad price, but there’s a lot of great cars in that compact SUV price range.
I guess the one thing that makes it special is that it’s four-wheel drive. It’s not all-wheel drive, but supposedly designed to actually go off-road. Get a stripped down Patriot Liberty with 4WD and that might be a decent deal. It’s not enough here.
If you’re one of those folks who don’t like the fancy new styling and are perfectly happy with the old Jeep look, you’re in luck. That’s because inside the car is actually pretty nice. The fit and finish is well done and it has Chrysler’s Uconnect system which may be the best in the car business these days. It may not look upscale, but it definitely didn’t look or feel cheap. It even had heated seats. You won’t have to worry that the trim will fall off in your lap before you’ve made the third payment.
Of course, that pleasant feeling will drift away when you hit the gas. The 2.4 liter four-cylinder motor delivers a whopping 172 horsepower. It will get you there, but don’t expect quick getaways. This engine gets 21 mpg in the city and 27 on the highway. I averaged 23 mpg during my week with the car. You can save a few bucks and get the 2.0 liter four-cylinder with 152 horsepower (which will also get a small bump in mileage as well). If you do, I’d suggest the manual transmission. The six speed automatic isn’t bad, but the manual is probably the best way to deal with the low power on both engines.
Cargo space is a little less than other cars in this class. Once again, not bad, just not as good as the competition. Interestingly, it does have more room in the back than it’s hot new cousin, the 2014 Cherokee. So if cargo room is critical, and you want a small Jeep, the Patriot is a better option.
My gut says the Patriot isn’t long for the automotive world. With the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee getting (and deserving) all the attention these days, Chrysler is probably just figuring they’ll keep building the Patriot until the market finally drops. Until then, if it meets your needs and you can get a good deal, go for it. Just don’t expect to impress anyone.