The 2016 Patriot Latitude offers an inexpensive ingress into Jeep’s world of four-wheel drive vehicles that are capable of driving off-road.
Jeep says that the Patriot is the best-priced SUV in America, and its Sport base model has an MSRP of just $17,295. But if you want four-wheel drive (and things like air conditioning and power windows), you’ll have to add them as options to the Sport or step up to the other Patriot model, the Latitude.
The Latitude I drove this week had the more powerful of the two engines available in the Patriot line: a 2.4-liter four cylinder with 172 horsepower. The Sport comes standard with a 2.0-liter, 158-horsepower four cylinder. Because the acceleration of the Latitude with the 2.4-liter engine was somewhat sluggish, I’d recommend avoiding the 2.0-liter.
Three transmissions are available in the Latitude: a standard five-speed manual, a six-speed automatic or a continuously variable transmission. My Latitude had the latter, and it made me wish for the automatic. The Latitude was slow from a dead stop and when accelerating on an entrance ramp. It droned noisily, too.
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Even with the four-cylinder engine and the CVT, gas mileage was only 20 miles per gallon in city driving and 23 on the highway, but that’s with full-time four-wheel drive, too.
The CVT is part of the Freedom Drive II off-road package that delivers a 19:1 overall crawl ratio. Combined with the skid plates underneath the Latitude and the 8.1-inch ground clearance, this Jeep can go off-road, although it can’t go boulder climbing like its more-capable Wrangler brethren. Still, it deserves its “Trail Rated” badge that appears on the driver’s side of the Jeep. The four-wheel drive was both reassuring and capable this week in the snow and ice. Our street resembled a skating rink, and the Patriot was steady where our front-wheel vehicles struggled.
The Latitude had a lot of nice standard features including air conditioning, power windows and speed-sensitive power door locks, power heated exterior mirrors, illuminated keyless entry, automatic headlights, 17-inch aluminum wheels, front heated cloth seats, a reclining rear 60/40 seat, driver seat height adjuster, 115-volt power inverter, body color exterior door handles, lift gate brow, satellite radio and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and speed controls.
My Latitude came with an optional ParkView rear backup camera, which I think should be standard on all new vehicles.
The interior of the Latitude, while far from luxurious, was acceptable considering the price of the vehicle. It’s a narrow cabin with a lot of hard-plastic finishes. Still, the seats were firm but comfortable and the ride was pliant.
Three years or 36,000 miles, with a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
The MSRP of the 2016 Jeep Patriot Latitude was $25,395. Options include the Freedom-Drive II Off-Road Group that features a bright exhaust tip, brake lock differential, hill descent control, a full-size spare tire, transmission/engine oil pan skid plate, fuel tank skid plate shield, tow hooks, engine oil cooler, Trail Rated badge, all-season floor mats and trailer tow wiring harness. Other options include a continuously variable transmission with off-road crawl ratio, tip start, a 6.5-inch touch screen display with 40-gigabyte hard drive, SiriusXM travel link, ParkView rear backup camera and remote start system. The sticker price, including destination, was $28,825.
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2016 Jeep Patriot Latitude 4x4
ENGINE: 2.4-liter, 172-horsepower four-cylinder with 165 pound-feet of torque
TRANSMISSION: Continuously variable transmission, four-wheel drive
WHEELBASE/LENGTH: 103.7/173.8 inches
CURB WEIGHT: 3,367 pounds (4WD, 2.4-liter Sport)
BASE PRICE: $25,395
AS DRIVEN: $28,825, including options and destination
MPG RATING: 20 miles per gallon in city driving, 23 on the highway