If you’re in the market for low-priced transportation with good traction qualities to get you to and from work during snowy days, check out the 2016 Jeep Patriot. This somewhat dated in styling but compellingly priced 4WD compact SUV, can fill the bill.
Patriot is offered in Sport, Latitude and tested High Altitude flavors. The latter was enhanced with the optional ($1,045) High Altitude package that included a 6-speed automatic transmission, leather trimmed sears and a host of other amenities. The standard feature list is lengthy but among the more important included Hill-Start Assist, Brake Assist, Electronic Roll Mitigation, Stability Control, Tire Pressure Monitoring and many more.
Patriot gets its power from one of two engines. A 2.0L, 158-hp four cylinder, however this choice only comes in FWD. Then there’s the tested 2.4L, 172-hp four cylinder that puts out 165 lb/ft of torque. Both powerplants come standard with a 5-speed manual but a CVT is optional for the 2.0L engine. The 2.4L is offered with an optional 6-speed automatic that carries a 2,000-pound tow rating. This combination gets EPA mileage ratings of 20 city, 26-highway mpg and has been 0-60 clocked at 9.4 seconds. With two adults aboard, acceleration is lively although the 6-speed automatic trans seemed like a CVT trans in operation in that when getting on the accelerator from a stand still or during a quick passing situation, then quickly letting off, engine revs continue to climb for a few seconds.
Patriot’s 4WD system has a 4WD Lock that is activated by a pull handle on the console. The better 4WD system Jeep offered was in their now defunct and extremely popular selling Liberty compact which had a more versatile 4WD system with dog-leg shifter that provided 2WD, 4WD High and 4WD Low. It was a true 4WD system preferred by those who really go off-road and during deep snow conditions.
Patriots’ interior is very basic in comparison to most of the competition in this class. A rather small 6.5-inch touchscreen serves to display a rearview camera with assist parking lines, GPS nav and audio functions. HVAC controls are simple rotary dials that can easily be adjusted with gloves on.
Leather trimmed seats are nicely supportive and Euro firm. The back seats can only seat two adults mainly because a cup holder on the transaxle hump doesn’t allow any legroom. But there’s gobs of headroom fore and aft with an easy 18-inch step-in. Legroom in back can be tight if the front seats are racked well rearward. At regular settings there’s sufficient legroom.
Back in the cargo area that has a 30-inch load height, the seatbacks fold in 60/40 fashion. With them up, there’s 23 cubic feet of space or 53.5 when folded. More meaningful, there’s 33 inches of depth with the seatbacks upright, 42 inches of width and 28.75 inches of height. Flip the backs and depth extends to 64 inches. The under floor houses a space saver tire. Here, it’s nice Jeep didn’t’ go the tire inflator kit route.
With a short wheelbase (104 inches), Patriot rides solidly on smooth roads when shod with Firestone 17-inch tires, but a bit jittery over pimpled surfaces, when encountering unimproved railroad crossings and tar strips. There is a good deal of body roll in sharp turns but there’s no tippy feeling when so doing.
Patriot’s biggest selling point aside from its inherited traction abilities is its price. Starting at a base of $25,395 this attractive price escalates to $29,070 after adding the High Altitude package mentioned, $1,435 for a satellite radio that includes the 6.5-inch display and 40GB hard drive, $200 for a back up camera and $995 for delivery. As such, Patriot retains Jeep’s heritage in a boxy design but it won’t be for long. If the vehicle meets your requirements, better get one soon as the model as well as the similar Compass, will be cut for the 2017 model year. Jeep is doing so because they have newer more modern models that take their places. There’s the compact Fiat-based Renegade, midsize Cherokee and continued top selling Wrangler in two and four door configurations.