JUST ENOUGH ESSENTIAL PARTS
Published on Mon, Sep 20, 2010
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By John-Fredrik Wright A Jeep will always be a Jeep. Need I say more? Even if a Jeep is loaded up to the gills with a bunch of cool toys, it’s still a Jeep. Like the proverbial Jeep we all know and love, this Patriot Limited 4X4 is made to go off-road. Sure it’ll roll down a paved road, but that’s not where the true character of this vehicle will show itself. Unfortunately, its character shows itself on paved roads as well, and that can be a problem (more on this later). Lets get back to the cool stuff. The tested Patriot is loaded with nine Boston Acoustics speakers, including a subwoofer. A nifty added bonus is the articulating lift-gate speaker console. This swings off from the open liftgate so it projects noise (music) out, away from the car instead of into it. I assume this is an epic feature for tailgate parties and the like. The audio system has multiple ways to hook up to your music, both iPod and USB ports as well as a hard drive with a 30GB capacity. And if that’s not enough, the car is ready for Sirius Satellite Radio, where you can access more music and talk than you can scan through in an entire week. Unfortunately, the satellite signal in the Patriot exhibited more than the average number of signal dropouts when passing under even small bridges.
The interior of the Patriot Limited is rather spiffy for a vehicle meant for the bush. The leather seats are comfy and bring out a pretty exclusive look, interior-wise. Even if the car looks pretty big and beefy from the outside, however, it loses some of that space in transition from outside to inside. The two front seats have ample room to move about, but the rear seats are very straight-backed and there is less room for your legs than in a Passat. A big drawback for me is the lack of a middle headrest in the rear seats. There are five seat belts total, but only four headrests. Those little cushions are what stand between you and a severe whiplash injury in the case of a rear-end collision. And having been in a car (without a middle headrest) that got rear-ended pretty hard, and having watched the middle passenger in the back get her head slingshot back and forth, I now have a rule that nobody uses a seat where there is no headrest if I’m in the car. Period. As for driving characteristics, this one feels a bit like a truck. It’s big and bouncy even on paved roads. For a population used to driving big SUVs, however, this should not be a problem. Unfortunately this Patriot is also a little bouncy even at a standstill. When the vehicle is stopped at a light and the transmission is in Drive, the Patriot’s got a whole lot of shaking going on. After realizing what was causing the vibrations, I got in the habit of switching to Neutral when stopped at a light. In my mind, this should not be needed, but what do I know?
The tested Patriot Limited comes with a 2.4 L in-line four cylinder motor. It feels a little sluggish. But then again, it’s a Jeep, not a sports sedan. I was happy to not have a bigger engine, as that would decrease the MPG even more. Regarding fuel consumption, this, again, is a Jeep. Rarely did I get more than 20 miles per gallon during my week of testing. To be fair, Jeep does offer a 2.0 liter inline four cylinder engine with a manual transmission that has an EPA rating of 29 miles per gallon on the highway, which is, according to Jeep, an unsurpassed rating for a four-wheel drive vehicle. Something that I keep noticing in many cars I drive is the fact that the touch screen doesn’t dim down when I dim the other interior lights; mainly the dashboard. It might not be a big deal, but it is a little frustrating that I need to dim the interior lights on two separate knobs on the Patriot, when it should be pretty easy to connect the touch screen to the original dimming-knob. This car feels big and bulky to drive. It may fit the off-road path, but as a family commuter car, it has its limitations. Loaded with all the cool toys available (did I mention that this one has a remote start function?) it may be just enough essential parts to keep the natives happy.
SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2010 Patriot Limited 4X4 Price: $24,550 (base) $30,445 (as tested, with Sun and Sound Group, Security and Convenience Group, Freedom Drive II Off-Road Group, CVT transmission with Off-Road Crawl Ratio, and a Media Center) EPA fuel economy rating: 20 MPG city / 22 MPG highway Engine: 2.4-liter I4 DOHC 16V Dual-VVT Engine Power: 172 hp at 6000 rpm Torque: 165 pound-feet at 4400 rpm Transmission: JATCO Model CVT2 Continuously Variable Transmission with Auto Stick, lockup torque converter, electronic controls Drive configuration: Four-wheel drive Suspension Front Independent MacPherson strut, coil spring over gas-charged shock absorbers and stabilizer bar—Standard Rear Multi-link independent with coil springs, link-type stabilizer bar, gas-charged shock absorbers—Standard Dimensions Length: 173.6 inches Width: 69.1 inches Height: 65.7 inches Ground clearance: 9 inches Curb weight: 3310 pounds