It’s not the 4 door Crush Orange Wrangler Rubicon I had dreamed of – but I love my new 2012 Patriot Sport 4X4 all the same.
I had started doing extensive research a few months ago regarding the next set of keys that would find a home in my pocket. The main contender was a 4 door JK, but I was also considering the Toyota Tacoma, and the Nissan X-Terra. Then, life threw a couple curve-balls my way, and as the TJ was starting to really show her age – I needed a new daily driver quite quickly. The budget wasn’t there for the JK (even if I had sold the TJ.) So I started looking more closely at the Jeep Patriot, as well as, the Subaru Outback.
My criteria changed a bit; I was now focusing on fuel efficient, 4 cylinder, crossover type vehicles. I determined that the Outback wasn’t really worth the money, but I would test drive it (and the Legacy) anyway before purchasing anything. A few days into my research; My girlfriend and I were down in Princeton, NJ. She asked if I wanted to stop at Baker Jeep to look at the Patriots. We stopped in and asked if they had any manual transmission, 4X4 Patriots in stock (I had done an inventory search two days earlier and didn’t find any 5spds in the state of New Jersey.) The salesman stopped for a second, and replied… “actually, yes, I think we do have one.” A few hours later, after about 30 min of test driving, lots of questions, and some negotiating… I drove off the lot in my new 2012 Jeep Patriot Sport. I never did test drive either of the Subarus (I knew I wanted the ‘riot once I ran through the gears.)
The newly acquired 4X4 MK is equipped with the 2.4L 4 cylinder engine, a 5spd manual transmission, the wheel and tire package, power group, and air conditioning. It is very basic, and a blast to drive. I needed a vehicle that could haul stuff, get decent gas mileage, handle itself in snowy weather, carry adventure gear on its roof, and leave me with money left to fix up the TJ. The Patriot has, so far, lived up to all of those expectations. Just two weeks after buying it – the Patriot and I moved out of Montclair, NJ and back down to Somerset. I was quite impressed with how much gear I could fit in the back of the riot. Fitting this stuff in the TJ was always like a game of tetris.
So far I’ve put a little over 5,000 (mostly city) miles on the little Jeep – and am averaging 25 mpg. My best tank so far was about 27mpg, and that tank included sitting in traffic for over an hour. The worst tank has been 22mpg – and that tank was full of very spirited driving. I look forward to many years with the paddy wagon and since it’s hard to own a Jeep and not modify it; the MK has already had a pro clip USA iPhone mount, and a Thule roof rack system installed. Full details on the installations to follow.
So far, I’ve been very pleased with the Patriot – and do not believe that I could have done better for the money. I have a few more modifications I’d like to make, including the FDII tow hooks and skid plates, as well as some driving lights and a hitch. The Patriot and the Wrangler serve two different purposes, but seem to be getting along just fine. The TJ is waiting on a water pump, fuel pump, and some general tuning up – more of that to follow as well.