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| Joined: 02/07
Does it really? Jeep claims that its trial rated but I’ve heard other wise.
What I’ve heard is that the off-road capability is very debatable to its claim.
Midsize Patriot maintains Jeep's off-road draw
BY MARK PHELAN
Detroit Free Press
Friday, May 11, 2007
They call it the unique selling proposition. It's the tool that good products use to carve out a spot in a crowded market: Offer something nobody else has.
It can be style, performance, price or features nobody can match. The 2007 Jeep Patriot compact sport utility vehicle has several of those.
The Patriot, which went on sale earlier this year, comes to the market with an appealing price range, classic Jeep looks and more legitimate off-road capability than any of its competitors.
Jeep built its reputation off-road, but it hasn't designed a little SUV like this before. Jeep fans were justifiably suspicious that the Patriot would be a gutless wonder, particularly when folks started calling it a crossover, marketing mumbo jumbo for vehicles that have sport-utility looks but lack the hardware to scale a hill.
Stand easy, Jeepsters. Fitted with the optional off-road package, the Patriot passes the test: fording 19 inches of water, climbing tumbled logs and clearing obstacles that would eviscerate the soft underbelly of other car-based midsize SUVs.
Prices for the 2007 Jeep Patriot start at $14,425 for a front-wheel drive Sport model with a five-speed manual transmission. The least expensive four-wheel drive model is a $16,175 Sport with the manual transmission. A 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 172 horsepower is standard. The better-equipped Limited model starts at $19,225 for front-wheel drive and $21,175 with four-wheel drive. I tested a well-equipped Patriot Limited 4x4 with a $23,620 sticker price.
The off-road package, which includes a low range for its gearbox, allows the Patriot to go where other compact SUVs can only dream about. Raised height, stiffened springs and skid plates make it capable enough to wear the hallowed Jeep badge.
The Patriot's second advantage goes with the badge. Its boxy shape is an intentional throwback to the Jeep Cherokee, a discontinued model the brand's fans still miss. The Patriot's squared-off looks also provide exceptional head, shoulder and cargo room. Front legroom is excellent. The rear-door opening should be wider for easy access, but the fold-flat seats create ample storage space, up to 8.5 feet long with the front passenger seat folded. The leather-trimmed seats are comfortable, but the front seats are a little short on thigh support.
The off-road suspension proved itself very much at home on paved surfaces, absorbing bumps well and showing little body roll in fast highway curves. Despite the Jeep's blocky styling, wind noise is acceptable. The Patriot has plenty of power for passing and fast highway drives. Steering and brake response are good, with plenty of feedback through the wheel and pedal. Anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control and curtain air bags are standard.
The Patriot's attractive price, good off-road capability, room and looks make it a strong new player among midsize SUVs.
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