In the world of Cute Utes, the Jeep Patriot stands out among all others in this segment. While the majority of brands have chosen the raked roof look which affects overall space, Jeep hasn’t strayed from what made them successful. This week we’ll see what sets this American Patriot apart from the crowd of foreign competitors and see if there is a need for a more traditional exterior shape that goes against the current design trends invading our shores.
This week we’ll test the mid-range 2015 Jeep Patriot Latitude 4X4 model. Base price ($24,395).
What’s new for 2015?
For 2015, the Jeep Patriot gains navigation on the Latitude model we’ll be testing. Patriot loses its cargo light/flashlight combo.
Features and option packages
Patriot Latitude AWD upgrade standard equipment to include AC, power windows, driver’s seat height adjustment, heated front seats, reclining rear seats, fold-flat front passenger seat, heated power mirrors, remote keyless entry, 115-volt outlet, and P215/60R17 tires on aluminum wheels.
This tester came with the optional Customer Preferred Package ($1,095) that included the high altitude package with leather seats, 6-way power driver’s seat, 17-inch grey aluminum wheels, power sunroof and driver’s lumbar adjust. The Security and Cargo Group ($695) upgraded radio system ($1,385) and Uconnect voice command ($495). Total MSRP $29,060 including destination.
Stepping inside Patriot reveals why Jeep has kept the boxy exterior shape without much change. The cabin feels roomy for a small utility vehicle unlike many other vehicles in this segment with raked roof lines. It’s the only reason to stay with this design and it does make a difference in cargo and overall space. Patriot’s boxy shape translates to a more spacious feeling inside and the vertical rear hatch allows more cargo carrying ability. It also sheds snow and ice better in the winter and allows better all around visibility in all climates.
Patriot also feels bigger on the inside because of the high seating position giving the driver a commanding view of the road or trail. There is a surprising amount of headroom, good thigh support, but lackluster back support. Our Patriot Latitude came with the optional leather-trimmed upholstery, which may seem like over dressing in a rugged Jeep, but many owners have dogs which makes it easier to clean dog hair.
In the back, rear passengers have plenty of room to stretch out for longer trips to the mountains and the Latitude’s reclining rear seats add even more passenger comfort. The rear seat splits 60/40 and folds flat easily for extra cargo carrying ability. There’s a spacious 53.5 cubic feet of cargo capacity with the seats folded flat. The rear cargo deck is a relatively high 30.7 inches off the ground making it easy to load heavy or large loads.
Engine and fuel mileage specs
Patriot Latitude is powered by a 2.4-liter engine with 172 horsepower and 165 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated with a 6-speed automatic transmission and a manual gearbox is available for traditionalists. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 21/27 mpg city/highway with the automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive.
The 2.4-liter four cylinder powerplant is responsive enough when you need it to be. We took the Latitude model into the high country where the Jeep should be right at home at altitude. Coupled with the 6-speed automatic, the Patriot pulled the steep hills with ease and didn’t lack for power as we motored into the mountains. The only complaint we have, is the lack of sound deadening material in the all-wheel-drive vehicle. There was quite a bit of road noise at high speeds.
On paved roads the Patriot feels nimble and light, on dirt roads it feels stable and confident. Overall, the Latitude with the 2.4-liter engine and 6-speed automatic delivers a comfortable ride, capable handling in the corners, useful performance, and a satisfying but not particularly sporty driving experience.
If you are more interested in function over styling, the 2015 Jeep Patriot Latitude offers plenty of useful cargo and passenger carrying ability. With the standard roof rails, the vehicle can carry mountain bikes, snow boards or a small boat. Add in the Patriot’s all-wheel-drive capabilities and you have a compact SUV that’s ready to get you away from civilization.
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