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Car Of The Week – Jeep Patriot

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Jeep Patriot

This is our Car of The Week because we noticed one at Merry Hill shopping centre a few weeks ago and were really impressed by it and have not stopped wanting one since. No doubt next week something else will come along to tempt us  but for now this is flavour of the week.

The Patriot is reviewed below courtesy of MSN and you can read their original article here.

Jeep Patriot

Key rivals – Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Nissan Qashqai. Ford C-Max, Subaru Forrester, Golf PlusSummary

New entry-level Jeep Patriot promises on road agility and off-road ability at a remarkably low price for the brand. But does it deliver? And will we ever get over American attempts at interior plastics?

Likes: styling, price, driving on- and off-road, clever 4×4, diesel economy, value

Dislikes: interior plastics, cramped rear seats, smallish boot, lack of steering feedbackGALLERY: Jeep Patriot

First impressions

Ok, so that’s a lot better looking than I was expecting. So went my opening thought on glimpsing Jeep’s Patriot in the wild for the first time. A new entry-level model for the brand, it’s much smaller than I’d anticipated – helping defuse the unadventurous Jeep identity it assumes in photographs. With its relatively low ride-height and chunky wheelarches the Patriot hunkers down into the road surface, styling that’s tough but not aggressive – thanks, I think, to the round headlights – somehow suggests it means business. As a road car. I immediately want to like it, but on recent Chrysler group experience there’s a nagging suspicion the driving will ultimately disappoint…

Performance

The Patriot has two engine options: a 2.4-litre 168bhp petrol, and a 2.0-litre 138bhp turbodiesel. It weighs slightly the wrong side of 1.5 tons – actually quite light for an authentic 4×4 – so no prizes for guessing it’s not exactly a rocket ship. Only the diesel was available on-road, which has a claimed 0-62mph time of 11 seconds dead. It feels like you’d have to be trying pretty hard to replicate that kind of performance, and in any respect this lags behind 4×4 rivals from Honda and Toyota. However, once you’re on the move 229lb ft of torque ensures there’s plenty of real-world shove.

The six-speed manual gearbox you get with the diesel isn’t the most cooperative, either, resisting quick movements but feeling mechanical tolerant to abuse in the process. The petrol has to make do with just five-speeds as standard, but the version available was actually fitted the optional CVT automatic. This adds a half second penalty to the petrol’s 10.7 second 0-62mph time, but replicates six cogs if you choose to use the awkward side-to-side manual shift option. Does just fine off-road in fully-automatic mode, however; just shame I couldn’t try it on it.

Ride and handling

The Patriot looks so good in its low-slung Jeepy way you can’t help hoping it’ll be fun to drive on the road. The bad news is the steering – it’s not very direct or especially precise, the assistance is a little too light and there’s virtually no feel through the rim. But everything else the Jeep does with aplomb. After an initial moment of lean – hardly surprising given the high centre of gravity – body roll is swiftly checked, the well-judged damping keeping everything under control without becoming intolerably hard over less than perfect surfaces. Rapid progress is easy and unflustered – aided by the clever ‘Freedom Drive 1’ 4×4 system.

In normal road driving the Patriot is front-wheel drive only. Between 25 and 65mph, the system can help cornering grip by switching on the rear wheels via some fast-acting electronic trickery (above 70 it’s two-wheel drive only ‘for efficiency’). It also steps in if you’re in danger of becoming the scene of an accident, as part of the standard-fit ESP. For off-road use there’s a four-wheel drive ‘lock’ up to 10mph, and special ABS and traction control settings. Sounds like a gimmick – until you actually try it. Standard road tyres, a proper off-road course and Welsh mountains with the worst rain in years? No problem, and very impressive.

Interior and safety

If you’re expecting the Jeep to let itself down a bit in the interior department, sad to say you won’t be disappointed. However, compared to other recent Chrysler brand cabins the Patriot actually acquits itself rather well – which is a surprise considering its pricing, on which more in a moment. The trim appears hard-wearing, the controls are all sensibly laid out (if also a little cheap feeling in places; air-con knobs, I’m looking at you) and whoever’s responsible for speccing the interior plastics has at least restrained themselves to one type of finish. Which is a relief.

There are only two trim levels – Sport and Limited. Sport is what passes for entry-level – and comes complete with everything essential. Limited comes with everything essential plus leather, cruise control, front fogs and different coloured fittings. The only options are metallic paint, and a better stereo featuring the odd ‘Sound Gate’ fold-down speakers in the tailgate, previously seen lurking in the Dodge Caliber’s accessories list. So no bluetooth or satnav. Room is generous in the front but tight in the back; the boot’s not that big but the seats fold flat easily. There are six airbags, ESP with Electronic Roll Mitigation, and ABS with Brake Assist – all standard.

Economy

This is where things get really interesting. Jeep has managed to price the Patriot not only undercutting other entry-level SUVs – Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 – while also offering genuinely capable off-road 4×4 hardware. It’s also designed to tempt family hatchback and MPV buyers. The Patriot costs from just £15,995 for the petrol Sport, rising to £18,795 for the diesel Limited (or petrol Limited with CVT auto). This, given the on- and off-road performance, plus decent equipment and safety levels, is a bargain. Environmentally speaking, the petrol manages 32.5mpg, the diesel 42.2mpg – both admirable, neither ground breaking.

The MSN Cars verdict: 4/5

The Patriot doesn’t disappoint. It looks good, drives engagingly on- and off-road, and is extremely competitively priced. If you want rugged family transport, or simply something a bit different, check it out.

Ratings out of five: Jeep Patriot

Performance***

Ride & handling****

Interior***

Safety****

Price*****

Practicality****

Fuel economy***

MSN Cars verdict****

Need to know

Petrol engines 2.4

Diesel engines 2.0

Power (bhp)138 – 168Torque (lb/ft)162 – 229

0-62 (secs)10.7 – 11.3Top speed (mph)112 – 117

Combined mpg29.7 – 42.2

C02 emissions (g/km)/tax (%)180-226 / 26-32

Author: ibeastie

Interested in Photography, Watches, Style and Cars

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