Jeep Patriot Diesel 4×4
It’s not easy to find a bargain in the showrooms now days, but we are pretty sure we have done just that with the new Jeep Patriot.
Every inch a Jeep, the new Jeep Patriot blows away the opposition in terms of price, hitting the show rooms at under £16,000.
Most of the household names in the 4×4 market cost far more than this new U.S. offering, with Discovery running from £27k to £44k, Freelander costing £21k to £32k and even the more main stream (but very excellent) Nissan X-Trail ranging from £18k to £27k
So starting at only £15,700 and going up to just £18,580 for the top spec LTD Diesel version, in terms of cost, the Jeep Patriot certainly seems to have the bargain box firmly ticked. Question is, “is it any good?” Should we believe the hype?
So we asked Jeep and they loaned us a Patriot 2.0 CRD Limited diesel to do some tests with.
Firstly, the Jeep is a genuine American car. It’s not some pretend thing that was built in Europe under license then badged with a classic American brand to give it some cache. The Jeep starts life in the City of Belvidere, Illinois, which like the new Patriot itself, is pretty small, with a population of around 26,000 people.
The Patriot is a real departure for the U.S. car maker in as much as it’s different to anything that came before it, yet pretty much looks the same and still carries that iconic Jeep styling sharing the boxy look and traditional Jeep grille. Where it differs from Jeep’s of the past is in its size, it’s just so much smaller. I guess to give an example, of something we are all familiar with, it’s more like a Ford C-Max in dimensions, yet despite this, it still looks a big vehicle and still has that moody appearance in bucket loads.
Power options are a 2.4-litre, 168bhp petrol engine with a choice of a CVT auto or a manual transmission whilst in diesel, the 2.0-litre, 138bhp turbodiesel Volkswagen unit used in other Chrysler group cars, is mated to a very slick 6 speed box.
The Jeep Patriot isn’t just some old industrial thing, its really hi-tech, and the cars 4×4 drive system is pretty special. In normal road conditions the Patriot does not need to be running in 4wd, and its mission becomes saving gas instead, as it improves fuel economy by channelling all of its power to the front wheels for most of the time. But the moment you put your foot down, or take a corner, it’s a 4×4 again as power is transferred back to all four wheels improving grip and control. Best of both worlds eh! Combine this with the Patriot’s electronic stability programme, anti-lock brakes and traction control and you have a great easy to drive safe SUV that’s both taking care of you and trying to take care of the planet as well.
Our test car was a Patriot 2.0 CRD Limited diesel with the 6 speed gearbox.
We thought because of the cars chunky looks, it was going to drive like a big heavy unwieldy off-roader, but this just couldn’t be further from the truth, as the Patriot drives surprisingly well. The steering is maybe a tad over assisted, but never the less still allows you some feel of the road. Body roll isn’t bad and even on twisty roads the Patriot feels sure footed, competent and composed and the car grips well in all but the most adverse conditions. Yes I accept it isn’t as “car like” as the Honda CRV or Toyota’s RAV4, but then the Patriot has much better off road abilities than either of those as it is a proper 4×4 off road vehicle, and after all, that is why you’re buying the Patriot isn’t it?
Power wise, although you initially feel the 2.0 VW diesel engine is underpowered with just 138bhp, you soon get used to the 11 second trip to 62mph, and the engine in most other areas has stacks of torque and really does feel big enough and strong enough for the job at hand. The Patriots gearbox is lovely, can’t criticise that at all, it’s light, precise and well just pretty slick.
One of the major selling points that Jeep is pushing is the Patriots MPG. Jeep regularly claim over 42mpg average is what you might expect to get, however I have got to say, we were way off this. Part of our testing is the regular commute and we drive every vehicle we test in the same way, allowing us to accurately set one against the other. A week with the Jeep Patriot saw us average 33.6mpg, which is just 80% of what Jeep claim as an average. We reset the trip set the cruise control and sat at 60mph on a 9 mile stretch of motorway and saw the Jeep return almost 53mpg average, but that was no stopping, no fast acceleration, just cruising! This said, I do believe if you drove it to achieve it, you probably could get the 42mpg, by driving with a very light right foot and predicting what’s ahead to avoid any “fuel wasting” braking. Never the less, the Jeep Patriot is the most economic 4×4 to ever wear the Jeep badge and Jeep deserve praise for that.
The cars interior is comfortable and perhaps I should have stopped here whilst everything had been going so well, for this is where I think Jeep let the Patriot down and frankly was really the only thing we didn’t like about this car. Yes it’s a 4×4 and that’s got utility connotations about it and indeed, it’s a very cheap 4×4, but you would never know that by looking at it or by driving it, so why on earth did Jeep go to so much trouble to destroy that by making the dash board look so boring, so bargain-basement and so plasticky?
Hard plastic is fine, it’s hard wearing and that’s good and Jeep use loads of it on the door panels etc and believe me, it does look fine and it’s well acceptable and you will be happy with it (I promise), but mainly because you don’t have to stare at it for hours as you do with the dashboard. Why oh why is the interior of this car spoilt when for just “A Few Dollars More”, Jeep could have given us something that excited us and made us feel we were driving something special.
So did the Jeep pass the test? Well I have to say yes. Although it’s an American vehicle, it felt European. Not only did its size fit our UK roads, it felt as if it were designed to be used on them. Its easy to live with, has a nice image and we love its mini-military looks. As a bonus, we know it’s got a great engine with a proven track record and of course, it hasn’t got an earth destroying CO2 reading and delivers as good an MPG as anything in its class.
MPV and 4×4 Driver Magazine has recently awarded the Jeep Patriot as its 4×4 of the year, commenting “The Jeep Patriot is quicker than the Land Rover Freelander 2, more able off-road than the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV 4, pumps out less CO2 than the Nissan X-Trail and has a boot around the size of the VW Tiguan’s”. Huge praise indeed.
People buy Discovery’s and Range Rovers because of their image. Step outside of Land Rover and nothing has a stronger 4×4 image than Jeep, but in the past, they were built for the States, for the main part they’ve been hugely expensive and not cheap to run. Well Jeep have broken the mould with this car and produced a real contender that has a superb pedigree, great image, delivers excellent MPG and has such an amazingly low asking price and proves that you can have your cake & eat it (or perhaps in this case it should be American Pie).
We really enjoyed our time with the Jeep Patriot and if you are thinking in terms of a real 4×4 without the need to take a mortgage out to pay for it, you really must take a look at this car.
For a quotation on the Jeep Patriot or any other Jeep products, please contact us.