in Affordable Compact SUVs

MSRP: $16,395 - $26,395
Invoice: $16,252 - $25,388
MPG: 23 City / 30 Hwy
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Jeep Patriot Performance

Play 2014 Jeep Patriot Performance Review Video Video: Patriot Performance 2014 Jeep Patriot Performance Video Review

Reviewers agree that the 2014 Jeep Patriot's available engines are loud and underpowered. They are also unimpressed with its handling, saying the Patriot feels shaky at highways speeds and that the steering is vague. Automotive journalists say that while a Jeep Patriot equipped with the Freedom Drive II four-wheel drive system is fairly capable off-road, its performance under normal driving conditions is severely lacking. Most reviewers prefer the new six-speed automatic transmission over the available CVT, but ultimately recommend that buyers look at one of the many affordable compact SUVS that offer far superior performance.

  • "The Patriot can hold its own in modest off-roading when equipped with the Freedom Drive II package, but almost all drivers spend the vast majority of their time on public pavement, and there the Patriot is simply outclassed." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Some road noise is always present. The engine sounds coarse and unrefined, and its ruckus never fully goes away." -- Consumer Guide (2012)
  • "It's the Patriot's highway personality that has been the obstacle that has kept this Dodge Caliber-based crossover from getting much respect. The combination of a small four-cylinder engine and a CVT makes for great fuel economy but relatively unimpressive performance - an issue that plagues many compact crossovers, not just the Patriot." -- Edmunds (2012)

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 Jeep Patriot comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 158 horsepower. A 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 172 horsepower is standard on the Limited model and optional on all other trims. A five-speed manual transmission comes standard, while a six-speed automatic transmission is optional. Four-wheel drive models can be equipped with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The base Jeep Patriot gets up to 23/30 mpg city/highway, which is comparable with the fuel economy of compact SUVs like the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape.

Test drivers are disappointed with the Patriot’s engine options, saying that they are noisy and that acceleration lags. The CVT comes with the Patriot's off-road package, and one reviewer says that its performance is weak, even under normal driving conditions. Most reviewers say that the six-speed automatic transmission makes the best use of the engine’s power.

  • "On the road, neither engine accelerates well, and both are rather crude and loud. The new 6-speed automatic is more satisfying than the CVT, but it can only do so much." -- AutoTrader
  • "Among small SUVs with 4-cylinder engines and automatic transmissions, Patriots with the CVT are about average for passing and merging power. Off-the-line acceleration is lacking." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Neither of the 4-cylinder engines feels very strong, and the CVT transmission does more for fuel economy than it does for performance, although the new 6-speed automatic goes a long way to improving the latter." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "If you equip your Patriot with the off-road group equipment, it will still come with the CVT. This is not among our favorite transmissions, as acceleration is sluggish in normal driving situations. You'll need to plan well ahead for highway passing maneuvers. What's more, the excessive engine noise in the CVT-equipped Patriot we tested had us reaching for the radio volume to drown out the racket." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

The Patriot comes standard with front-wheel drive, while Jeep's Freedom Drive I and Freedom Drive II four-wheel drive systems are optional. Reviewers agree that the 2014 Jeep Patriot has unexceptional driving dynamics and disappointing handling. Some say the Patriot feels shaky over road imperfections and at highway speeds, and that the steering is slow and vague. Some reviewers say that while the Patriot's ride quality is decent, it doesn't match the superior handling offered by rivals.

  • "While the Patriot delivers a fairly smooth ride, its steering is vague, with lots of play in the wheel and slow response time." -- AutoTrader
  • "Ride quality is also an issue in the Patriot, as it's less comfortable than most competitors in this class." -- Edmunds
  • "Highway ride and handling are okay, as long as you don't compare the Patriot to a more refined small SUV - of which there are plenty." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Patriot delivers a compliant and stable ride. Large dips in the road surface induce some float from the suspension and highway expansion joints produce jiggling in the body." -- Consumer Guide 
Review Last Updated: 5/15/14

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