By BRENWIN NAIDU
What sets the Patriot apart from rivals in the segment in my opinion, is its rugged aesthetic features. It boasts sharp, boxy angles and has a face that says – “Don’t mess with me.” While you might get similar compact SUVs with physiques that are slightly more curvaceous, the Patriot stays true to off-road character with its unassuming, neat, sqaure looks.
And of course, being a Jeep, the Patriot has heritage: everybody knows that Jeep are the off-road pioneers, having proven their worth with products like the Wrangler and Cherokee. With that trademark seven-slot grille at the front, the Patriot is easily distinguished as a Jeep.
But the Patriot is geared at a different kind of buyer. Instead of aiming to attract the typical Jeep faithful, the Patriot serves as an entry-point into the Jeep stable. From my observations, it appears that the Patriot has attracted a younger following to the Jeep brand – one always sees trendy, youthful types posing behind the wheel of this vehicle. And the press release says that Jeep are after “single and married educated professionals in the 20 to 40 year age group,” with this model.
The Jeep Patriot is available with a host of technologies, aimed at making off-road driving easier. As part of the Freedom Drive I package, is a full-time four-wheel-drive system in addition to a “lockable center coupling, ” promising to boost grip in situations where traction is limited. Then there is the Trail Rated Freedom Drive II off-road package, for the driver who is a bit more serious about venturing out onto the untamed, beaten track. The Freedom Drive II Off-Road Package features 17-inch tyres with aluminium wheels, as well as a second-generation continuously variable transmission which is coupled with low range. In terms of safety, all Jeep Patriot models have Brake Assist, Brake Traction Control, Electronic Roll Mitigation, anti-lock brakes and side-curtain air bags as standard.
Powering the Patriot is a 2.4-litre “World Engine” with an output of 125-kilowatts and 224 Newton-metres of torque. Those wanting a more involving drive can opt for a five-speed manual transmission, and those who prefer leisurely cruising can choose the CVT – continuously variable transmission.
According to the Jeep South Africa website, customers can expect to pay R299,990.00 for the 2.4 Limited five-speed manual and R309,990.00 for the 2.4 Limited CVT model. The Patriot seems like a good way to get behind the legendary Jeep name. One might start Jeep ownership here – and end up progressing to products higher up in the range, like the Grand Cherokee.