Why the 2014 Jeep Patriot Is the Best SUV on the Market

The 2014 Jeep Patriot really is the complete package. Photo credit: Chrysler

Have you ever come to the point where your current vehicle just isn't cutting it anymore? It just seems like one thing happens after another and you realize that it's time for an upgrade. Unfortunately, that just opens up a whole new set of issues as you now need to find that new set of wheels.

That's exactly the position my wife and I found ourselves in recently, when it became apparent it was time to replace our 2007 Jeep Liberty. Because Jeep stopped manufacturing the Liberty after the 2012 model year, we were forced to look elsewhere for our upgrade. Surprisingly, there wasn't much on the market that appealed to us. We were looking for something having the rugged good looks of the Liberty, but with better gas mileage and more comfort for long trips. Not only that, but we needed something with four-wheel drive for visits to family during the winter. Oh, and we wanted it all for a price we could afford.

We spent hours looking online at vehicles including Ford's  (NYSE: F  )  Escape, which, in all honesty, didn't have the rugged good looks we wanted. It was the same story when comparing General Motors' (NYSE: GM  )  Chevy Equinox. Further, while both are excellently built vehicles, when putting a price tag on the fully featured vehicle we were looking for, it really wasn't as appealing as the vehicle we ended up purchasing: the 2014 Jeep Patriot. 

Not only did the Patriot have the rugged good looks we desired, but the price really couldn't be beat. Its base Sport model starts at just $15,995, while the more luxurious Limited can be had starting at $23,995. Compared with the Chevy Equinox which starts at $24,225, or the Ford Escape at $22,700, it's evident why the Patriot has been called the best-priced SUV in America.

Best of all, the Patriot put our gas-guzzling Liberty to shame, as the four-wheel drive 2.4L World Engine our Patriot is equipped with gets up to 27 MPG on the highway and 21 MPG in the city -- though I will point out Ford's Escape and Chevy's Equinox can both get up to 32 MPG on the highway. When it comes down to the overall value, missing out on a few MPGs was a compromise we were willing to make, especially in light of the fact that we were lucky if our old Liberty would give us 20 MPG on the highway. 

With CAFE standards set to nearly double to a tough new 54.5 MPG standard by 2025, both automakers and consumers have really been putting a premium on those more fuel-efficient vehicles. The industry has been making great progress, especially when it comes to SUVs. Today's SUVs are now getting similar gas mileage as midsize sedans were delivering earlier in the decade. That's great news for customers wanting the space of an SUV without paying a lot extra at the pump. 

What's not surprising is that customers are beginning to take notice. This past June was the best sales month for Chrysler since 2007, with sales of its flagship Jeep Grand Cherokee leading the way up 33%. All Jeep brand vehicles recorded double-digit sales gains last month, and the Patriot set a record for its best June ever, as sales jumped 20%. 

The more fuel-efficient Ford Escape has also performed well on the market, as its sales have been on a record-setting pace, though it was just up 1% last month to 28,694 vehicles. Still, the increase helped drive Ford's overall sales, which were up 13%. Meanwhile, over at GM, its total sales were up 6%, with the Equinox having a stellar month as its sales were at record levels, up 14%.  

The key takeaway is that customers want an SUV that gets pretty decent gas mileage at an affordable price. While the Patriot might not have the best gas mileage in its class, when you combine its safety features (it was named an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety top safety pick), price, and rugged good looks, it's really in a class of its own. That, in my opinion, makes it the best SUV on the market today.

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Read/Post Comments (33) | Recommend This Article (16)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 11:03 AM, creg44 wrote:

    How about the death of the Motley Fool's ridiculous predictions.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 11:16 AM, dakota3c06 wrote:

    Great story. Not one word on how it handled. Did you drive it? How is the suspension, the power, the passing ability, the 4wd actuation, the head room, leg room? It appears that the "Best SUV" statement was based on reading the manufacturer's pamphlet. I think you need a better author.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 11:22 AM, Proab wrote:

    I just read an article a couple of weeks ago about how bad this vehicle was. I guess its all about opinion, if you can get past it's looks.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 11:23 AM, ploc36 wrote:

    Even before the 2014 upgrade to the transmission, the Patriot was and still is one of the best CUV in the market. It gives consumers honest, reliable and good value compare to other vehicles out there. It's too bad that 2014 will be the last year of the current model, as Jeep is moving on with a Fiat platform for the next gen CUVs. If the styling of the Cherokee is any indication as to where the Jeep line-up is going, better grap a 2014 Patriot, better grap one before it's too late.

    2009 Jeep Patriot Ltd owner.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 11:28 AM, bcweir wrote:

    Sloppy handling, underpowered and noisy engine, poor build quality, and shoddy interior materials this side of a state prison.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 11:31 AM, carguy79 wrote:

    Well, it seems you were really sold on the Patriot's "rugged good looks." I take issue with the proclamation at the beginning of this article. While the Patriot may be the cheapest 4WD SUV on the market, that doesn't make it the best. I think it should be mentioned that the starting price for a 4WD Jeep Patriot is closer to $18,000 before options. I would be interested to know the options selected on your vehicle, because the Jeep Patriot Latitude I mocked up on the Jeep website came out to just under $25,000. You can buy a few different Subaru models for that, or a nicely equipped Mazda CX5 or Kia Sportage. I think it's also important to respect the actual sales numbers. The Patriot had a record month selling 6,690 units. During the same month Ford sold 28,694 Escapes. I think the key takeaway here is that if you aren't dazzled by the "rugged good looks" of the Patriot, there are other options on the market, if you are willing to spend for them.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 11:34 AM, jwh7610fool wrote:

    Best on market? I think not. Honda, Hyundai, Subaru, Toyota.. Maybe 5th best.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 11:45 AM, jaxon2012 wrote:

    Jeep the best SUV in the market? Please put the pipe down. I won't buy a Jeep with your money , lol. Thanks for the laughs

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 11:47 AM, beerandloathing wrote:

    I agree completely with creg44,"How about the death of the Motley Fool's ridiculous predictions."

    One would be a fool to use MF for ANY advice let alone car advice. MF opinions change with the wind, for MF it's more about making headlines and that's it. I've worked for company where we were ranked the best then not-so-good, then best then not-so-good - no changes aside from the day. Try investing based on that.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 11:49 AM, StockgeniusII wrote:

    Never heard of the Jeep Patriot and I been driving SUV since 2002!

    LandCruiser is the best overall SUV! Bad gas mileage but best SUV!

    Land Rover brand is nice upscale tier but you need to be a mechanic to own one for low maintenance $$$$$. Same with others like BMW, Benz, etc...

    Never had a Jeep brand however!

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 11:55 AM, eggshelleater wrote:

    Should just buy a wagon...

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 12:01 PM, tcandadai wrote:

    I understand this is a subjective matter. So, people should take this, what I consider, a foolish advise with a grain of salt.

    I have had two Chrysler products. Both were bad. I am sure it has improved now, but I have that perception, and perception is reality. A Ford I had was no better than the two Chrysler's I had. I have not tried a GM product, nor will I try one now.

    For my usage, I am quite satisfied with my two Toyota's. I have had at least one Toyota in the last 33 years.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 12:07 PM, carchic63 wrote:

    Carguy79 You seem to imply that the author is wrong or misleading in his price quote. I placed a mock-order on the 2014 Patriot Sport with a manual transmission and it is indeed in line with the author's price quote. The Patriot Latitude that you built is a lot more, because it includes a lot more options...obviously being the highest trim level in the Patriot.

    My days of driving the stripped down version with a manual trans. are behind me, as I have come to expect creature comforts reflective of my greater purchasing power.

    My Jeep Grand Cherokee has me spoiled rotten with the built in Nav, DVD, heated leather seats, Blue-tooth, U-Connect...etc, etc. Mine is fully loaded and I just can't go back to the "good" old days. That being said, if I were shopping in that price range, I'd love to have a Patriot! The price is almost in-line with the first car I ever bought. (Back in 1982!) There are no other good, solid American SUV's in this price range. And YES. I do believe that for a strong US economy we should be buying American made automobiles while we still have US based auto makers (I challenge you to find a pair of American made blue jeans at the mall!!).

    As for the designs of the 2014 Cherokee (ploc36) wow!!! Your comment baffles me. I've been watching and waiting for the Cherokee to come back out. The interior styling is gorgeous!! The price is going to be around 28K to 32K for a well equipped SUV. Great gas mileage...Grand Cherokee body styling which I LOVE (I'm on my 2nd now). The headlights look a little pinched in the photos I've seen, but the new Grand Cherokees I've seen on the road seem to have the same headlights, and I have to say they look better in person.

    As the economy and job prospects have crumbled, I have to admit my purchasing power doesn't justify a fully loaded new Grand Cherokee. That being said, I

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 12:10 PM, jimatmad wrote:

    Why the Patriot is 'the best SUV on the market.'

    1. Rugged good looks

    2. Price (base equipped only)

    3. Worse gas mileage than its competitors

    4. Rugged good looks again

    I don't know why I click on Motley car articles. Maybe one in twenty isn't flat-out dumb.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 12:22 PM, USMCDevil wrote:

    I'm an owner of a 2001 Jeep Cherokee XJ that I use as a daily driver and a big fan of Jeep. Last year we had to replace my wife's car after Sandy and was looking into the Patriot. She wanted the Patriot because it had the "rugged" look as my XJ (well, looks more like an updated version). Our criteria was for a vehicle to have good gas mileage (since it will be mostly a city daily driver), comfortable, less than $20k, etc. We compared and test drove every manufacturer's midsize SUV and unfortunately ended up with a Hyundai Tucson.

    We really wanted the Patriot but other than the looks, everything else was a downer. Handling, interior, gas mileage and price. We got more for less with the Tucson and hasn't had a problem with it yet.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 12:36 PM, opm3228 wrote:

    I disregarded expert reviews and read owner reviews instead on the Jeep Patriot. I'm glad I did. I purchased my 2014 Patriot Sport 4x4 last month after looking at the CRV, RAV4, Escape, and Subaru XV. I'm 6'4' and have more than enough leg and headroom and like the simplicity of the Jeep's interior. Although, most 2014 Patriots come with a new 6-speed auto transmission, I opted for the Freedom Drive 2 package with the CVT. Last weekend, I took a road trip from middle North Carolina to middle Tennessee and back crossing the Appalachian Mountains on steep grades and winding roads. The handling is great, the steering's predictable, and the ride is smooth. Power is sufficient enough to get me up the hills and with enough ground clearance to the trails for mountain biking and kayaking. Thanks for the article, I'm very happy with my choice.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 12:52 PM, xrayari1 wrote:

    Was the author paid to write this article by Jeep?

    If so, it needs to be listed as an advertisement.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 12:57 PM, 4fkufku wrote:

    It's obvious you have no clue about automobiles, makes one wonder if you know anything about stocks.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 1:31 PM, 742ks wrote:

    Um. No.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 1:53 PM, mackenzie0158 wrote:

    How to spot a sponsored article.

    1. See Motley Fool title calling Jeep Patriot best SUV on the market.

    2. Recall Consumer Reports evaluation trashing Jeep Patriot. See CR report below:

    "Consumer Reports Test of the 2014 Jeep Patriot

    Highs - None

    Lows - Engine noise, acceleration, driving position, front-seat comfort, complicated optional radio

    The 2014 freshened Patriot small SUV has replaced the CVT with a six-speed automatic. Although it has a compliant ride and mostly simple controls, little else stands out. Handling lacks agility. The sluggish 2.4-liter four-cylinder returned just 21 mpg overall, and the previous CVT exacerbated the engine noise. The narrow cabin, wide center console, and small windows give the car a closed-in feeling, and the cargo area is small. Reliability has been above average, but the Patriot scores too low for us to recommend it. CR Overall Score 52 out of 100."

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 2:41 PM, mr091468 wrote:

    Quote from article, "Its base Sport model starts at just $15,995....." JUST $15,995????? I consider this statement an insult just as much as I consider Chrysler Corp and insult to the auto industry.

    I agree with the guy above who said this article should be labeled an ADVERTISEMENT for a piece of junk. Happy Sunday.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 4:46 PM, birder1500 wrote:

    Come on folks. It is just an opinion. Leave it at that. Just about every Motley Fool article you will read here is just an opinion and not much else.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 7:22 PM, Jim85035 wrote:

    How much did Chrysler pay for this ad?

    What Edmunds Says

    It may be billed as the cheapest SUV on the market, but the 2013 Jeep Patriot can't match the space, refinement, quality and driving dynamics of its competitors.

    Pros

    Above-average off-road capability; a few clever features.

    Cons

    Sluggish acceleration; disappointing fuel economy; poor braking distances; limited cargo space; substandard interior materials.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 8:04 PM, herky46q wrote:

    The 2014 Jeep Patriot IS the best SUV...for the author of the article.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 8:22 PM, carguy79 wrote:

    carchic63, I don't mean to mislead or accuse anyone else of misleading. However, when I mocked up the Patriot Sport I saw that the options (that I would want) still added up to around $23,000. The author claimed he chose a 4WD which would ( as I stated) bring the Sport model up above $18,000. Add $995 for air conditioning. All terrain tires require the selection of one of three additional packages. The CVT transmission with off-road crawl ratio runs $1100. Throw in power windows and keyless entry for $1405 because you would have them on any comparable vehicle. and you round out to about $21,375. I would prefer side airbags, daytime running lamps, bringing the price just over $22,000. For just over $4000 more you can go up to the Latitude. That would add daytime running lamps, engine block heater, trailer tow, TPMS, tonneau cover, auto dimming rear view mirror, off road group, premium sound group, and sunroof. I think that's worth the money. However, that's when the Patriot has to be compared to the others. And that's where it loses.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 8:54 PM, taplinger wrote:

    We all buy cars for different reasons: looks, function, reliability, mileage, and the list goes on and on - bottom line, for many people, including myself, the choice is an emotional one. So please leave this guy alone; for him, rugged good looks is important.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 10:49 PM, jokers99 wrote:

    if you like brand new cars that leaks water whenever it rains...then sure, the patriot is the best car. please google jeep patriot water leak, and find yourself countless forum posts on this topic.

    here's a start.

    http://www.jeeppatriot.com/forum/tags.php?tag=water+leak

    won't end there. dealers closing, warranty is garbage. manufacturing is a joke. quality is non existent.

    yeah...patriot is the best suv if you like to throw money and time away.

  • Report this Comment On July 15, 2013, at 8:34 AM, catoismymotor wrote:

    Maybe a 2012 Liberty, a used car, would have been a better move. Never buy a new car unless you plan to keep it for a looong time.

    And I have to agree with the peanut gallery about the shoddy quality of Jeep products.

  • Report this Comment On July 15, 2013, at 9:18 AM, TMFmd19 wrote:

    Hi all -

    Thanks for reading about my car buying experience. Just one small point of clarification, the base model Patriot does get 30 MPG (The fully loaded 4wd version I bought gets 27/28). It cost me just a bit more than a base Ford/GM comparable would have, which is why it wins best overall value.

    It drives well and is very comfortable. I like it a lot so for those that are looking, its something worth looking into (and if you don't like the rugged look, the Compass is built on the same platform).

    Also, to state the obvious, no compensation from Chrysler :)

    Matt

  • Report this Comment On July 15, 2013, at 12:54 PM, ffrer1234 wrote:

    I know a company that uses these as fleet delivery for their company. They drive them to 200-250 thousand miles before turning them in. These are simple rugged little vehicles with spacious interiors.

    Highest safety standards. One poster said they had sub standard stopping distance? I have test track driven these in direct comparison to Honda and Toyota .They simply stop 50 to 60 feet shorter distance. Somebody is lying?

    Chrysler Corp.is a Union built vehicle. Think some have an ax to grind?

  • Report this Comment On July 15, 2013, at 7:31 PM, offroadin98 wrote:

    i'am a jeep guy and i even laugh at this,i read in the

    paper yesterday that the land rover was a serious

    offroader and was the best suv, now that made me realy laugh,the jeep rubicon is the best 4x4 on the market hands down

  • Report this Comment On September 03, 2014, at 8:05 PM, gridley56 wrote:

    I have a 2014 Jeep Patriot 2.4 liter, 6 speed automatic 4x4 with the Sun and Sound package. I now have about 2,500 miles on the car. So far I really like it. Solid. Feels safe. Nice features. No rattles or squeaks. No problems so far. Good pick up in the city. A little more road noise on the highway than I'd like but it's acceptable. Handles city streets very well. I like the traditional Jeep appearance and all the controls work well. They are simple and don't require an electrical engineering degree to figure them out. Decent mileage. Power windows, locks, mirrors and many other standard features. I'd recommend it at this point. As a previous owner of Chrysler products I feel they've made great strides in quality. FYI...Consumer Reports cites "too much hard plastic" in many American cars but seems to ignore all of the hard plastics in Japanese cars, i.e. the Honda CRV....the entire dashboard and most of the door materials are all hard plastic. Why no criticism for Honda on this issue? Seems like unbalanced favoritism to me.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2014, at 10:19 PM, Meegrits wrote:

    I own 2014 Jeep Patriot Latitude 2.4 liter, 6 speed automatic 4x4 and have fallen in love. I also have owned a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo inline six cylinder since it rolled off the manufacturing floor. My older Jeep has been given to my sixteen year old daughter and I trust it to get her to Canada and back if need be! (I'm in Illinois) My Grand Cherokee has 229,000 miles and I have done NOTHING but buy tires, tuned it up and replaced its belts and battery. This vehicle has been the best SUV I have ever owned, so for those of you who said Chrysler has never made a decent vehicle, think again. How many of you have a vehicle with over 200,000 miles without even a starter going out in it?

    As for the Patriot. So far I like it's peppy pick up, the stock stereo speakers are awesome, the seats are comfy (love the heated seats) and it handles awesome! As far as highway noise, it sounds just like my old Jeep, so it doesn't bother me at all. Compared to the inline six cylinder, I have zero complaints about gas mileage! I do believe what the author has written, it is a great SUV and my sticker price was 21,000.00 with a full warranty of everything and the extended warranty takes over at 70,000 for a mere $1500.00 dollars.

    As far as people commenting on handling, I don't think they have driven one for an extended amount of time, mine handles quite well and the acceleration is so much better than the 2014 Journey we drove with a V8!! As far as cabin space, it suits me just fine. I don't have small kids, usually it's only two people riding in the car, so the space is fine for us. I do not feel claustrophobic riding in it. I am not stupid so the stereo isn't an issue either. I love the u connect since Illinois passed the law with hands free cell usage.

    Although I would have loved the Jeep Rubicon, I cannot in my feasibly pay that much money for something I need to get me from point A to B.

    Overall I would recommend this vehicle to anyone!!!

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