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Jeep Patriot
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jeepOverall
While its low price might be under fire from the new Renegade, the Patriot remains one of the most able small “soft-roaders” around.

Drivetrain
Two different four-cylinder engines keep the Patriot well tethered to terra firma; a six-speed automatic transmission and a carryover five-speed manual; continuously variable unit only appears with trail-rated 4×4 model.

Since they’re so closely related under the skin, whatever you say about the Jeep Compass also applies to its Patriot relation, including its long-delayed departure. For now, it’s continuing alongside the Compass, which means when something happens to one, you know it’ll happen in the other. The six-speed auto added for 2014 is available with either the standard 158-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder and the optional 172-horsepower 2.4-liter, with either front- or optional Freedom Drive I four-wheel-drive. The sole place where the CVT shows its face is with the Freedom Drive II 4×4 off-road package. There it acts like a mechanical low-range box but without the added weight or complexity. Other tweaks include all-terrain tires on 17-inch wheels, skid plates, tow hooks, and most importantly, two inches of additional ride height. Either engine can be connected to a five-speed-manual transmission, although they remain front-wheel-drive. Patriot trim levels are consolidated slightly, now only consisting of Sport, Latitude and Limited. Sport content includes not a heck of a lot (no A/C and you even have to manually crank the windows, hence the low starting price). As you move up the line — in some cases, way up — there’s air conditioning/climate control, leather-covered seats (heated up front), power windows, door locks and outside mirrors and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror available for your comfort and pleasure. Options, some of which are standard with the Limited, include all-terrain tires, navigation system, soil-repellent and anti-microbial seat fabric and a premium sound system with speakers that drop down from the liftgate (when it’s in the raised position) for tailgate parties.Two different four-cylinder engines keep the Patriot well tethered to terra firma; a six-speed automatic transmission and a carryover five-speed manual; continuously variable unit only appears with trail-rated 4×4 model.