10.04.2015

Option Creep: The 2015 Jeep Patriot Latitude 4X4

Front 3/4 view of 2015 Jeep Patriot Latitude
The 2015 Jeep Patriot Latitude 4X4.
Looking through TireKicker's vast archives (more than 800 reviews in seven years), I find that we've said this about the Jeep Patriot three times already.  Let's make it an even four:

If you are looking for the true spiritual successor to the 1980s Jeep Cherokee (simplicity, low base price, true Jeep Trail-rated status), this is the Jeep from today to have.




Rear 3/4 view of 2015 Jeep Patriot Latitude 4X4
2015 Jeep Patriot Latitude 4X4.
Jeep advertises, to the extent that it advertises the Patriot at all, as "The best-priced SUV in America", and at its base price of $16,895, that is true. But that's for the front-wheel drive base Sport model. Go for four-wheel drive and it's $18,995.  Still a remarkable value.  But there are things that make the average buyer consider moving up the trim level chart a bit.  The lack of standard air conditioning---yes, really---would be a big one, especially here in Arizona.

Getting air standard means moving up to a mid-level Latitude like the one we drove for a week.  It also adds heated front seats, a folding and reclining rear seat, 17-inch wheels rather than 16s, keyless entry, a six-speed automatic transmission in place of the Sport's stick and optional upgraded audio systems that are unavailable at any price on the base model.  Your base price is now $24,795. And should you want to climb higher up the Patriot ladder, there's a High Altitude model ($25,890) and a Limited ($26,895).

But let's stay with the Latitude, its amenities and $24,795 base price.  A well-equipped four-wheel drive Jeep SUV for less than $25,000 is not a bad thing.

Interior view of 2015 Jeep Patriot Latitude 4X4
2015 Jeep Patriot Latitude 4X4 interior.
But what if you didn't stop there?  The people in Jeep's press fleet didn't.  Our test vehicle included Customer Preferred Package 23G, which is the High Altitude package, the High Altitude badge, leather-trimmed bucket seats (6-way power for the driver), 17-inch Mineral Gray aluminum wheels, and a power sunroof.  That's $1,095.

There was also the Security and Cargo Convenience Group---a security alarm, tire pressure monitoring, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, electronic vehicle information center, a universal garage door opener, adjustable roof rail crossbars and a soft tonneau cover.  Add another $695.

Remember the upgraded audio systems that you can't get on the base model but are optional from the Latitude on up?  Our test vehicle came with one that has a 40GB hard drive (with 28GB available) and Sirius XM Travel Link.  $1,435.

And then there's Uconnect voice command with Bluetooth, which trades the auto-dimming rear-view mirror in the Security and Cargo Convenience Group for one with a microphone in it, as well as a remote USB port. $495.

With destination and handling charges of $995, the as-tested price of our test vehicle was:

$29,510.

Not only a long way from $16,895, but only $485 shy of the starting price for a Grand Cherokee Laredo 4X2 (we tested one two years ago).  Sure, the Patriot's four gets better mileage (EPA estimate 21 city/27 highway), but there's only a four mile per gallon penalty city, three highway with the Grand Cherokee.

We are still big fans of the Patriot.  But optioning one like this prices it out of the practicality that is one of its biggest virtues.

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