The 2014 Jeep Patriot now includes standard front-seat-mounted side airbags. Jeep finally gives the Patriot a traditional six-speed automatic transmission for this year, as well. Unfortunately, the Freedom Drive II all-wheel-drive system isn't available with the new transmission, so buyers looking for the most capable 2014 Jeep Patriot for off-roading will be forced to live with the CVT we've panned for the past few years...
The Jeep Patriot has had a rough life since it was introduced in 2006 as a 2007 model. A compromised front-wheel-drive platform underpins the Patriot and its Compass twin, which never resonated very well with Jeep loyalists. Although the Patriot and the Compass are mechanically similar, the Patriot always looked more rugged and Jeep-like than the Compass, so it was somewhat sheltered from the harsh criticism that dogged the Compass from day one. It used to be the case that the Patriot was more capable off-road than the Compass, which upped its credibility with Jeep loyalists, but Jeep gifted the Compass with the same Freedom Drive II 4x4 system in 2011 and erased the Patriot's mechanical superiority.
The 2014 Jeep Patriot is as good as it's going to get for this platform. This poor model soldiered on for six years with miserable continuously variable transmissions and rough, unrefined engines. Now there's a proper automatic transmission to be had with the Patriot's rugged exterior looks (a five-speed manual is also offered). No matter how much polish is applied to the package, though, the Patriot is built around an old platform that wasn't highly competitive when it was new.
Although we aren't too fond of the 2014 Jeep Patriot, its maker is still showing it some love. An optional six-speed automatic transmission is the only major change for 2014. After years of incremental upgrades, the Patriot now comes standard with side airbags for the front and rear seats, electronic stability control, electronic roll mitigation, air-conditioning, power windows, power locks, keyless entry, cruise control, foglights, illuminated cupholders, a rechargeable flashlight with integrated holder, an exterior temperature display, and a 60/40-split folding rear seat.
When equipped with the optional Freedom Drive II 4x4 off-road package, the Patriot earns Jeep's Trail Rated badge. That package includes a CVT with low range for improved off-road performance, seventeen-inch all-terrain tires, an inch higher ride height, skid plates, tow hooks, and a full-size spare tire. Although the Patriot will never match the Wrangler's off-road credentials, it will still tackle more extreme terrain than most owners can handle with the Freedom Drive II package.
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