Even if it doesn’t go off-road.
Wait just one New York minute, snort Jeep marketing types. The Patriot will go off road, and in fact is Trail Rated -- just not for the expected base sticker price of under $16,000. Debuted at the 2006 New York International Auto Show and available later this year, the Jeep Patriot will be available in three drive configurations: front-wheel drive, Freedom Drive I (a full-time, active four-wheel-drive system with Lock mode) and Freedom Drive II Off-Road Package (a full-time, active four-wheel-drive system with low range that provides the famed Trail Rated capability. Compared to the new Compass, this Patriot is much more along the lines of what Jeep aficionados had in mind when they thought of an entry-level Jeep. And while you're not getting the off-road capability for under $16,000, you're getting a bunch of features that make the Patriot a tough competitor in a field that includes the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV-4.
Once Patriots make it to showrooms, buyers will get a choice of two trims: the Patriot and the Patriot Limited, with optional 4x4 capability available for both trims. Standard features on the base Patriot include side curtain airbags, Brake Traction Control, Brake Assist, Electronic Roll Mitigation and anti-lock brakes with rough-road detection.
So the base has got the basics covered. Other standard features on the base Patriot include luxuries as Vinyl Tech seats, rear 60/40 fold-flat seats, AM/FM single-disc CD radio with an auxiliary audio input jack, outdoor temperature display, 12-volt power outlet, manual windows, locks and foldaway mirrors, tilt steering wheel, dome and cargo lights, rear window defroster and a center console sliding armrest that moves forward to accommodate shorter drivers. Limited Patriots will offer standard air conditioning, power windows with driver one-touch down feature, speed-sensitive power locks, Remote Keyless Entry, power fold-away mirrors, deep-tinted sunscreen glass, all-season floor mats, a standard fold-flat, reclining rear seat, fold-flat front passenger seat, driver height adjuster, passenger assist handles, 115-volt auxiliary power outlet, removable/rechargeable cargo lamp, speed control, premium cloth low-back bucket seats with YES Essentials fabric, fog lamps, rear-view automatic dimming mirrors, temperature and compass gauge, universal garage door opener and tire pressure monitoring system.
All Jeep Patriot models get a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with Variable Valve Timing (VVT) that produces 172 horsepower and 165 lb.-ft. of torque. According to Jeep, VVT enables the Patriot to offer more power, and better fuel economy than other, comparable models. The Patriot comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission -- with an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT). A 2.0-liter diesel powerplant will also be offered, mated to a six-speed manual transmission. With diesel fuel and engines meeting stringent emissions standards, look for diesels in markets where they once were unable to tread.