2013 Jeep Patriot Review: Hurricanes, High Tides and Heated Seats: Bring It On!

A Girls Guide To Cars | 2013 Jeep Patriot Review: Hurricanes, High Tides And Heated Seats: Bring It On! - Jeep White

Jeep WhiteIn learning recently about the newly redesigned Jeeps that will make their debut at the New York International Auto Show this spring, we are reminded of why we love Jeep: These rugged, muscle-bound protectors keep us from life’s indignities, yet allow us to arrive impeccably dressed in a gorgeous car. Last fall we had the opporutnity to drive a Jeep Patriot, and woudn’t you just know it, a hurricane blew in.

Hurricane Sandy. So, as the strom cleared and we set out into the neighborhood, dodging downed power lines, tree limbs and the occassional boat in the roadway, searching for hot coffee and a wifi signal, we were comforted and empowered in the Patriot: our devices charged flawlessly, we easily could roll over all the debris in the street, and from our perch, we could see the damage the storm left behind.

I have this recurring daydream about getting an overland permit and driving a rugged four wheel drive truck across sandy dunes to a rambling sea-sprayed house. There, my garden would coexist with sea grapes and climbing roses and bask in the warm sun and cool air. And when my garden’s harvest is done and my family still needs to be fed, I would hop into my truck and make the leisurely trek to civilization for bread and jam and conversation.

Those lucky few who live or vacation in remote areas reachable only by four wheel drive–and often only at low tide–know the joys of Jeep. Jeep is a truck (or SUV in modern lingo) that revels in taking us where we need to go, regardless of the challenges of terrain or water. 

Prepping For SandyThe Patriot’s cargo space was ample space for our pre-hurricane shoppingIt was just such a truck that we needed recently as we faced down Hurricane Sandy in Connecticut. With the storm bearing down on us, we took comfort in the Jeep Patriot in our driveway: not only would its sturdiness and and ample cargo space help us to haul home groceries, bottled water and gas cans that we would need after the storm, but it would help us traverse debris filled streets and downed branches that littered our roads. But it became more than that: it also be came a de facto charging station for our phones and laptops: The Patriot has several charge ports, including USB ports and a two-pronged plug outlet, all of which work even when the car is not running. 

The Patriot is Jeep’s pedigree SUV: it is everything the brand was built on, and it does what it does very well. Designed for off road challenges, the Patriot’s sturdy command of the road had no trouble traversing the storm littered streets. Where sedans may struggle with branches getting stuck under the car, this SUV has no issues; it rolled right over them. 

Jeep’s focus with the Patriot is its rugged capabilities as a luxury rather than luxury for luxury’s sake. So while it is not one of the many amenity-laden SUVs on the market, it has all the necessities, from Chrysler’s UConnect media console (navigation, music, satellite radio, and a 28 gigabyte hard drive that stores music and photos), USB ports, a two-pronged plug, 120v charge ports, heated seats and more. The design of the Patriot’s instrument panel follows this thinking: its controls are tucked into a streamlined, old school dashboard with subdued ambient lighting so that everything is visible but not demanding of attention. The media console is demure; there are buttons and knobs to control the basics–radio and climate–and a touch screen to operate the rest. Those who want the technology can have it, but it can be ignored, too, which lets the sights be the focus of your time in the Patriot.

2012-10-27 14.36.46The Patriot’s rugged frame and high stance were perfect for post-storm touringAnd in the Patriot, the views are easy to see. The truck’s high stance and its tight, upright seating, which leaves all passengers feet resting squarely on the floorboards, gives everyone optimal views–for us it was views of sheared trees and downed power lines, but ideally, it would be an up close look at pelicans nests and pounding surf. 

Charging In The JeepLots of charge ports came in handy when the power went out; and, that they work when the engine is off was perfectSomeday I’ll get my overland permit, and even if it’s only for a day trip, I’ll relish having the Patriot along for its “Sun and Sound” feature: a sunroof and a very clever set of speakers that drop down from the lift gate when it is open, creating what might be the best tailgating or beach picnicking car–ever.{youtube}-89aQkjTM9w{/youtube}

What We Love
Heated seats– Jeep has among the best
Radio control buttons on the back of the steering wheel–so intuitive
Sun and Sound package with drop down speakers that are built into the lift gate
The price–about $25,000! Lease price is around $200 a month
Great ambient lighting–on instruments, cup holders, tuning knobs and buttons
Streamlined design for an old school feel
Chrysler’s UConnect media console
Utility shelf above the glove box and in the cargo area
USB, 120V and two-pronged charge ports that work when the car is  off, allowing you to charge your devices without running the engine

{youtube}BI3vCgTwRRs{/youtube} What You Need to Know
Gets 21 miles per gallon in the city, 26 on the highway (we averaged about 20)
5 passenger seating
172 horsepower engine, which may feel underpowered when towing or accelerating
Air vents and climate control are all located on the dashboard
Cloth seats are standard, a leather trimmed option is available on some models
Rear cargo floor is 23 cubic feet; 53 with the rear seats folded flat
Maximum towing capacity: 2,000 lbs.

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss