The 2014 Jeep Patriot subscribes to a "what you see is what you get" philosophy, which is good, because it might have let me down otherwise. This compact SUV is an affordable choice for families, but its pokey engine and small cargo area should make Jeep think twice.
My school-aged kids liked this SUV's rugged angles and the Deep Cherry Red paint that flattered the iconic Jeep's rounded headlights and large grille. While they had no problem getting into the Patriot, younger kids will likely need a boost.
I test-drove the midlevel Patriot Latitude. It comes with a 172-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with a new-for-2014 six-speed automatic transmission. It's kind of slow, particularly off the line, and it also struggles with highway accelerations, so merging and passing require planning.
Few automakers embrace the special edition like Chrysler and its Dodge and Jeep brands. With most automakers, a sprinkling of special editions turn up on performance cars such as the Chevrolet Camaro Hot Wheels Special Edition, but Chrysler's examples span from economy to sports cars. Seemingly dozens of PT Cruiser special editions almost made that weird car interesting. Almost.
Fast forward to today and special editions of various Dodge, Jeep and Chryslers continue to grow. At our count, there are roughly 25 unique special editions called out across each brand's website. All use specific exterior and interior features to create a limited-edition package that stands out.
Each special edition ranges in execution from a colored grille and special wheels to a complete reimagining of the car's purpose; names like Glacier, Core, Freedom, Blacktop adorn each one. We dug into all 20-plus Jeep, Dodge and Chrysler special editions — check out our most and least favorite models:
Chrysler is voluntarily recalling a combined 435,400 Jeep vehicles in two separate actions, the automaker announced today.
The larger of the two recalls affects 254,000 model-year 2010-12 Jeep Patriot and Compass SUVs, and it's due to a problem with the occupant-restraint system that could malfunction during slow-developing rollover crashes. The other recall affects an estimated 181,000 model-year 2012-13 Jeep Wrangler SUVs and is due to a problem with the transmission oil cooler line that could cause premature wear.
No accidents, injuries or complaints have resulted from the problems in either recall, Chrysler said in a statement. These two latest recalls are unrelated to an issue earlier this week in which the automaker refused to comply with a NHTSA recommendation that it recall 2.7 million model-year 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2002-07 Liberty SUVs due to a potential fuel-system problem that could lead to fire in a rear-end crash.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's newest test — frontal small overlap — is pretty tough to ace. The agency recently performed the test, meant to simulate a crash of a vehicle's front corner into another vehicle, a tree or a pole, on 13 compact SUVs; 11 scored Marginal or Poor.
The new-for-2014 Subaru Forester came out ahead of the pack, earning a Good score and the agency's highest overall safety rating, Top Safety Pick+. Behind it is the slow-selling 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport; it pulled an Acceptable score. The test group included 2014, 2013 and 2012 models.
The Chrysler Group issued six separate recalls affecting around 215,000 vehicles in the U.S. According to the automaker, the following vehicles are affected:
In January, Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne outlined dozens of forthcoming models for the automaker's smorgasbord of brands — Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, SRT, Fiat and soon-to-come Alfa Romeo. The Jeep brand got quite the overhaul: an updated Compass and Grand Cherokee, which we've seen, plus a Liberty replacement this year and five more additions or redesigns and a refresh through 2016.
If Mike Manley gets his way, none of them will be a shopping-mall crossover.
"We're very clear on what makes a vehicle a Jeep, and one of the things that we've said is we'll always offer segment-leading [off-road] capability," the 48-year-old Jeep division CEO said. "I wouldn't want to create crossover vehicles."
Manley spoke with us at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show, which runs through Feb. 18. Besides heading up Jeep, he's also the chief operating officer for Chrysler's Asia-Pacific region.
The Chrysler-Fiat product collaboration will continue in the next couple of years as both companies develop new offerings based on common architectures — the next brand to get the attention of company planners is Jeep.
Coming to the New York Auto Show in March will be the replacement for the current truck-based Jeep Liberty, and the big question is whether or not Jeep will keep the Liberty name or revert back to an old favorite: Cherokee. "There are clearly only two options for the name of this vehicle: It's either going to be Cherokee or it's going to be Liberty," Jeep brand CEO Mike Manley recently told industry publication Wards Auto. "We are going to make that decision in the very near future. Both of them are historical names, Cherokee more so than Liberty."
Going with the Cherokee name over Liberty would seem a logical choice, given the massive popularity that the old Cherokee still enjoys among loyal Jeep fans and the more favorable brand equity it has over the Liberty name. Cherokee is also the name that the Liberty has used in overseas markets, so it would require no changes abroad. However, the name conjures a very specific image for Jeep fans: a boxy trucklike SUV. Spy shots of the new vehicle, however, suggest a much more modern and carlike profile.
The new midsize SUV is expected to ride atop a larger version of the compact U.S. wide Fiat platform that currently brings us the Dodge Dart. It will also spawn replacements for Chrysler's midsize cars, but that's not all that's coming from Jeep in the next two years.
As what is widely regarded as the most important U.S. auto show of the year opens next week in Detroit, an automotive icon returns to the claim the spotlight.
The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette is poised to be the star among the more than 50 production and concept vehicles slated to debut at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The show runs Jan. 19-27 — with press, industry and charity preview events on Monday-Jan. 18 — at downtown Detroit's Cobo Center. Last year's NAIAS attracted nearly 771,000 people, according to organizers.
Sunday night's press debut of the seventh-generation Corvette is hotly anticipated, and for nearly the past three months Chevy has done much to fan the flames, teasing us with tidbits of information and blink-and-you-missed-it video images. The automaker has disclosed that the new 'Vette will have a new 6.2-liter V-8 engine that's good for 450 horsepower and a zero-to-60-mph time of less than four seconds — all while improving on its 2013 predecessor's 26 mpg; Chevy also has said the 2014 model's aerodynamics were designed with Corvette's years of racing in the American Le Mans Series in mind.
Check back for full coverage of the 2013 Detroit auto show. Until then, here are the vehicles we know about now:
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