Why The 2014 Jeep Patriot May Be The True Successor To the 80s Cherokee

Front 3/4 view of the 2014 Jeep Patriot Latitude
The 2014 Jeep Patriot Latitude.

I suppose I am something of a traditionalist.  The clean, simple lines of the 2014 Jeep Patriot say "Jeep" much more to me than the avant-garde styling of its sibling, the Jeep Cherokee.  Last summer, Michael compared the Patriot to the previous Cherokee, the one built from 1984 on, and favorably so.

Rear 3/4 view of the 2014 Jeep Patriot Latitude
The 2014 Jeep Patriot Latitude.
This year, Jeep sent another, nearly identically equipped Patriot Latitude 4X4 to TireKicker's Phoenix bureau. The base price is up a bit, to $23,795, which is still a good value for what you get. That is, nothing fancy, but everything you really need, such as air conditioning, power windows, cruise control, keyless entry, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with a tilting steering column, roof rails, fog lamps and deep-tinted windows, which are always welcome here in Arizona, no matter the season.

Interior view of 2014 Jeep Patriot Latitude
2014 Jeep Patriot Latitude interior.

As with last year's model, this came with options (a security and convenience package, a six-speed automatic transmission, an upgraded audio system with a 40-gigabyte hard drive for your music library, voice command with Bluetooth, a USB port and SiriusXM Satellite Radio) that drove the price up.  The as-tested price this year was $26,575.

Even with the six-speed transmission and a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, the EPA fuel economy estimates are the same as the six-cylinder Cherokee we recently drove, 21 city/27 highway.

I am told that this is a holdover of the bad old days of Chrysler, which owns Jeep, and that the Cherokee points the way of the future. But somehow, even with its drawbacks, the Patriot seems to be more in the spirit of what Jeep has been.  And it would be a shame to lose that.