Lease a Jeep Compass

 

Compact crossovers have to cover a lot of ground. They need to be able to carry your mountain bike at a moment's notice. They need to offer enough all-terrain capability to get you to work during a snowstorm. They need to be roomy and comfortable for you and a couple of kids. They need to offer a semblance of style along with a decent number of tech features. Yet for all that, we're not willing to pay that much for them. The 2014 Jeep Compass is an example of a budget crossover that tries to check every box while keeping the bottom line low.

 

First off, it's a Jeep, and Jeeps are known for off-road supremacy. The Compass does have quite a bit more all-terrain capability than most other compact crossover SUVs, but that only comes about when you add some extra-cost features. And even if so equipped, it's a good bet you'll be calling your friend with a Wrangler to pull you out of a ditch if you attempt anything really challenging. And so like most other small crossovers, the Jeep Compass is mainly intended to give you enough traction and ground clearance to get to work after a snowstorm.

 

This year's new six-speed automatic transmission promises better fuel economy and acceleration than the continuously variable transmission (CVT) offered in years past, and we'll report on the extent of the improvements as soon as we test a 2014 Jeep Compass with this transmission. Unfortunately, you're still forced to get the underwhelming CVT when you opt for the 2014 Compass' off-roading features. And even with the automatic, the Compass' fuel economy figures are still unimpressive compared with those of other small crossover SUVs. Ride quality is another challenge for the Jeep, as its highway ride is harsher than competitors in this class.

 

We'll update this review as soon as we test a 2014 Jeep Compass, but in the meantime, it's certainly worthwhile to explore all your options in the compact crossover SUV class. If enhanced off-road capabilities in a small crossover are a must-have, we'd suggest taking a look at the all-new Subaru Forester or Subaru XV Crosstrek. For the majority of SUV owners who rarely, if ever, leave the pavement, the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Kia Sportage and Toyota RAV4 are some of the best choices in this class.

 

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options Leasing a Jeep

 

A five-passenger small crossover SUV, the 2014 Jeep Compass is available in three trim levels: Sport, Latitude and Limited.

 

Standard features for the Sport include 16-inch alloy wheels (17-inch wheels if optioned with the larger 2.4-liter engine), foglights, roof rails, air-conditioning, cruise control, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, a tilt-only steering wheel, a 115-volt household power outlet and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. The optional Power Value Group adds full power accessories, heated mirrors, keyless entry and additional body-color exterior pieces.

 

The Latitude gets the above features as standard and adds chrome exterior and interior trim, mesh cloth seat upholstery, a height-adjustable driver seat, a fold-flat front passenger seat, heated front seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls.

 

The range-topping Limited includes 18-inch wheels, automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a power driver seat with lumbar adjustments, a driver information display, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera, a 6.5-inch touchscreen display, 28GB of digital music storage and satellite radio.

 

The Freedom Drive II Off-Road group can be added to all four-wheel-drive trims. It includes 17-inch wheels with all-terrain tires, tow hooks, an off-road driving mode, an engine oil cooler, underbody skid plates, a full-size spare tire, hill-descent control, hill-start assist and a height-adjustable driver seat for the Sport trim.

 

The Latitude and Limited trims are eligible for the Security and Cargo Convenience group. On the Latitude this adds the auto-dimming rearview mirror, a security alarm and the driver information display. The Limited's version of this option group also includes remote start, an audio system USB port and Bluetooth. Jeep also offers Bluetooth and the USB port bundled as a separate option for all trim levels.

 

Also offered on the top trims is the Sun and Sound group (a sunroof, an upgraded nine-speaker Boston Acoustics sound system, two flip-down tailgate speakers and satellite radio for the Latitude trim) and the Trailer Tow Prep group (oil cooler, trailer tow wiring harness and full-size spare). A navigation system is available only on the Limited trim.

 

Powertrains and Performance Lease a Jeep

 

In front-wheel-drive Sport and Latitude trims, the 2014 Jeep Compass is outfitted with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 158 horsepower and 141 pound-feet of torque. Optional on the front-wheel-drive Sport and Latitude is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that produces 172 hp and 165 lb-ft of torque. This engine is standard on all-wheel-drive models and all Compass Limited models.

 

A five-speed manual transmission is standard for the Sport, while the Latitude and Limited receive a new six-speed automatic as standard. The EPA estimates fuel economy for the 2.0-liter engine with front-wheel drive and the automatic to be 21 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined. Sticking with the manual boosts these numbers a bit to 23/30/26.

 

The front-drive Compass with the 2.4-liter engine and automatic is no different from the 2.0 at 21/28/24 mpg. But again, there's a slight boost for the manual here, and it rises to 23/28/25. With four-wheel drive and the 2.4, you're looking at 21/27/23 with the automatic and 23/28/25 with the manual.

 

The optional Freedom Drive II Group provides a more serious 4WD system with low-range gearing and hill-descent control, but requires that you also select the available 2.4-liter engine and CVT. With the CVT, fuel economy is quite poor at 20/23/21.

 

Lease a Jeep Safety

 

Standard Lease a Jeep Safety features for all 2014 Jeep Compass models include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is included with the Limited trim and available on others. The Freedom Drive II Off-Road group adds hill-descent and hill-start control.

 

In Edmunds brake testing, a 4WD Compass Limited came to a stop from 60 mph in 120 feet, which is slightly better than average for this class of vehicle.

 

Interior Design and Special Features Lease Jeep

 

Compared with other compact crossovers, the 2014 Jeep Compass is relatively roomy for front-seat occupants. Taller rear-seat passengers, on the other hand, may find legroom tight. Jeep has upgraded the interior materials for the 2014 model year, but Bluetooth and a USB port, which come standard on most rivals, remain optional even on the upper trim levels.

 

The Compass does sport some clever features, such as a cooled glovebox, a rechargeable LED cargo light that pops out for use as a flashlight, and optional speakers that flip down and out from the raised liftgate to enhance outdoor listening. At 62.7 cubic feet, the Compass' maximum cargo capacity is respectable. It's considerably more than the Subaru XV Crosstrek's 51.9 cubic feet and slightly less than the Escape's 66.3 cubes.

 

Driving Impressions Jeep Lease

 

We have yet to test the 2014 Jeep Compass with the new six-speed automatic transmission, and we'll update this review as soon as we do. Unfortunately, that CVT is still required if you choose the Freedom Drive II off-road option. With the CVT, the engine makes all manner of unsavory noises, and both performance and fuel economy are lackluster.

 

In addition, compared to its newer rivals in this class, the Compass doesn't ride as smoothly, and in spite of its compact dimensions, it doesn't steer or handle particularly well, either. Either of the 2014 Jeep Compass' AWD systems will handle winter roads slicked by heavy rains and snow, and the base AWD/4WD system is all most crossover buyers really need.

Lease a Jeep Grand Cherokee

 

If you haven't been around a new Grand Cherokee in a while, you might be surprised when you slide behind the wheel of the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Previous versions of the top Jeep took hits for their excessive fuel consumption and general lack of refinement, but the Grand Cherokee has rebounded in recent years with significant improvements to ride quality, fuel economy and interior accommodations. It's one of our favorite midsize SUVs, and Jeep has made key updates for 2014 to address its few lingering faults.

 

The two biggest changes to the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee are its eight-speed automatic transmission and a new, highly economical diesel V6. Jeep has fitted the eight-speed automatic to every Grand Cherokee model, and its smooth, refined shifts are a welcome improvement over the lurchy, indecisive behavior we noted with the five-speed automatic previously offered with the base V6 engine. Better yet, the new transmission brings better fuel economy across the board.

 

The new turbodiesel V6 marks the first time the Grand Cherokee has had a diesel engine option since 2009. It provides the highest fuel economy of all the available engines, and its ample low-end torque makes it the best option if you're planning to tow or go off-road with your Jeep. The downside is that the diesel engine is more expensive than the JGC's V8, but our math tells us that difference is made up at the pump in about 35,000 miles. If you can handle the upfront cost, the diesel engine is an outstanding choice on the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

 

Although the current-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee is much more comfortable and civilized in everyday driving than older versions, it hasn't lost any of its off-road prowess. Jeep gives you several four-wheel-drive systems to choose from, and an optional off-road package provides an adjustable air suspension that can change the ride height on the 2014 Grand Cherokee from 6.6 inches for easy entry in garages with low vertical clearance to 11.3 inches for maximum ground clearance while on rough terrain. Alongside that, the Grand Cherokee's upscale interior continues to be a draw, and it's complemented this year by a new electronics interface with an available 8.4-inch touchscreen.

 

Add this up and you're looking at one of the best picks for a do-everything midsize SUV. The Grand Cherokee's closest competitor, the Toyota 4Runner, shares the Jeep's off-road aptitude, but it doesn't offer a V8 or diesel option, and its interior simply isn't as nice. The price tag on the JGC, however, typically exceeds that of the 4Runner or popular crossover SUVs like the Ford Explorer or Honda Pilot. In that sense, the Grand Cherokee is similar to the Volkswagen Touareg, which also has a high-end cabin and offers a diesel engine option (though the VW is tuned more for on-road performance rather than off-road pursuits). Like the Touareg, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee feels as if it belongs in a higher class, and if you need or simply want all of its capabilities, you won't mind paying a little more for it.

 

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options Leasing a Jeep

 

The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a five-passenger midsize SUV that comes in five trim levels: Laredo, Limited, Overland, Summit and SRT. Each is available with rear-drive (2WD) or four-wheel drive (4WD), except the high-performance SRT model, which is 4WD only.

 

Standard equipment for the Laredo includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, cruise control, foglamps, keyless ignition/entry, full power accessories, dual-zone air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth and a six-speaker sound system with a 5-inch touchscreen, a CD player, a USB port and an auxiliary audio jack.

 

The Laredo's optional Security and Convenience Group includes a power liftgate, remote engine start, a 115-volt household-style power outlet, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. Also optional on the Laredo are 18-inch wheels, an eight-way power driver seat, satellite radio and Jeep's new 8.4-inch touchscreen display with voice command.

 

The Limited trim level includes the Laredo's standard equipment plus the contents of the Security and Convenience Group, 18-inch wheels, power front seats, driver memory settings, heated rear seats and a nine-speaker premium audio system.

 

With the Limited trim, two additional option packages become available: the Luxury II Group and the Advanced Technology Group. The Luxury Group II adds a panoramic sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, bi-xenon headlights, leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, and a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. The Advanced Technology Group includes Forward Collision Warning, rear cross path detection, blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control. The 8.4-inch touchscreen is again optional, though it can also be fitted with a navigation system on the Limited.

 

The Overland model features all of the standard equipment from the Limited, plus 20-inch wheels, the 8.4-inch touchscreen with navigation and the contents of the Luxury Group II package. The Summit comes with the most standard equipment, as it includes all of the features from the Advanced Technology Group, along with a 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system and polished 20-inch wheels.

 

The high-performance SRT model is equipped like the Summit model, but the panoramic sunroof moves to the options list. You also get an exclusive V8 engine, 20-inch forged wheels, LED running lights, an adaptive suspension, performance-tuned steering, Brembo brakes, a limited-slip rear differential, leather/suede sport seats and carbon-fiber cabin accents.

 

A Blu-ray-capable rear-seat entertainment system (with twin seat-mounted displays and HDMI and RCA inputs) is optional for the Limited, Overland Summit and SRT. The towing package that's standard on the Overland and Summit models is available as an option on the Laredo, Limited and SRT trims.

 

Powertrains and Performance Lease a Jeep

 

Except for the SRT version, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee comes standard with a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 290 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. This is the only engine you can get on the Laredo, but two other engines are available on the Limited, Overland and Summit models: a 5.7-liter V8 rated at 360 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque and a turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V6 that cranks out 240 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque.

 

The SRT comes exclusively with a 6.4-liter V8 that produces 470 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque.

 

All 2014 Grand Cherokees use an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Grand Cherokee SRT uses a heavier-duty eight-speed built to handle its more powerful engine. The SRT also features a specialized all-wheel-drive system tuned more for high-performance driving than off-road use.

 

The standard 3.6-liter V6 gets an estimated fuel economy of 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 19 combined mpg when equipped with four-wheel drive and 17/25/20 with rear-wheel drive (2WD). At the test track, a Grand Cherokee Overland V6 with 4WD sprinted from zero to 60 mph in a fairly quick 7.9 seconds. When properly equipped, maximum towing capacity for a V6 Grand Cherokee is 6,200 pounds in the 2WD and 4WD configurations.

 

The optional 5.7-liter V8 gets an estimated 14/20/16 mpg when equipped with 4WD and 14/22/17 with 2WD. Towing capacity for the 5.7-liter V8 Grand Cherokee is 7,200 pounds with 4WD and 7,400 pounds with rear-drive. Fuel economy is vastly improved when you select the new diesel engine, which is said to achieve 21 mpg city/28 mpg highway when paired with four-wheel drive and 30 mpg highway with rear-wheel drive. When equipped properly, tow capacity is the same as the V8.

 

The SRT V8 returns an estimated 13/19/15 mpg, a slight improvement on last year.

 

Non-SRT Grand Cherokees come with three available 4WD systems: the single-speed, light-duty Quadra-Trac I system (standard on the Laredo), Quadra-Trac II with a two-speed transfer case (optional on the Laredo, standard on Limited and Overland), and Quadra-Drive II with a rear electronic limited-slip differentia l (optional on Limited and Overland, standard on Summit). An adaptive air suspension (Quadra-Lift) and a driver-selectable traction control system that adjusts to different surfaces are also available (optional on the Limited, standard on 4WD Overland and Summit).

 

Lease a Jeep Safety

 

The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee comes with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, hill ascent control, hill descent control (optional on Laredo) front side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. The Advanced Technology Group (optional on the Limited and standard on Overland, Summit and SRT) includes forward collision warning, rear cross-path detection and blind spot monitoring.

 

In Edmunds brake testing, an Overland V6 4WD stopped from 60 mph in 134 feet. That's about 10 feet more than average for this segment. However, if past history is any indicator, we'd expect the SRT to be very strong in this area.

 

In government crash testing, the Grand Cherokee earned an overall rating of four stars out of a possible five, with four stars for overall frontal crash protection and five stars for overall side crash protection. In testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Lease a Jeep Safety, the Grand Cherokee received the highest possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side and roof-strength crash tests.

 

Interior Design and Special Features Lease Jeep

 

The 2014 Grand Cherokee's interior looks similar to last year's, but there are some useful upgrades. The dash now houses a standard configurable 7-inch screen that can be used to display a wide range of information. We also like the center-mounted 8.4-inch touchscreen that's standard in all Grand Cherokees, except the Laredo. It features an easy-to-use interface and includes a WiFi hotspot and smartphone app integration, including media apps from Pandora and iHeartRadio. It also houses the navigation system if you select that option. Overall, the Grand Cherokee has one of the nicest interiors in its class.

 

While the Grand Cherokee has no third-row seat option, there's ample room for a family of four or five, and you can order up a significant amount of luxury ambience, including ventilated front seats and a new dual-screen, Blu-ray-capable rear entertainment system with an HDMI input. Backseat passengers should be pretty comfortable, as the Grand Cherokee offers up considerably more rear legroom than the Toyota 4Runner. With the rear seats in place, the cargo bay measures 36.3 cubic feet. With the rear seats folded down, the Jeep has 68.3 cubic feet of storage space.

 

Driving Impressions Jeep Lease

 

Driven on paved roads, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is comfortable, quiet and stable around turns. The new eight-speed automatic transmission is a great addition, as it's much smoother and quicker-shifting than the five- and six-speed automatics offered last year. Given its generally smooth and spirited response, most people should be satisfied with the base gasoline V6.

 

Although the new diesel V6 has a low horsepower rating, its high torque output makes it ideal for big-league towing jobs and off-road use. Meanwhile, its high fuel economy ratings will appeal to anyone looking for a downright efficient Jeep with impressive cruising range.

 

The Grand Cherokee SRT is a tower of power that accelerates and stops at rates that will impress even the most seasoned sports car driver. It's a sleeper performance vehicle if ever there was one, but its stiff suspension robs it of some of the comfort that makes the rest of the Grand Cherokee line so good.

 

Off-road, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is at the top of the mountain for its class. The new transmission is also beneficial for off-roading, as it improves refinement and drivability in the dirt. Trail obstacles and steep hills are easily dealt with regardless of which engine you choose, thanks to the advanced four-wheel-drive systems and the Jeep's generous ground clearance.

Lease a Jeep Patriot

 

The 2014 Jeep Patriot is on a simple mission: It provides the iconic, rugged look of a traditional Jeep along with decent off-roading ability. Jeep has also aggressively priced the Patriot so that it's one of the least expensive crossover SUVs on the market. That's an appealing combination, but the devil is in the details.

 

It's true that the Patriot, at least in its base Sport trim level, has a lower as-new price than any other crossover SUV. But that Sport trim goes without a lot of desirable standard features, such as air-conditioning, power locks and power windows. When adding features like those back in, the Patriot's price becomes similar to those of a much more desirable group of competitors.

 

In terms of off-road capability, you aren't getting much bang for your buck with the 2014 Jeep Patriot either. It's really only capable when it's been fitted with extra-cost features that enhance its ability to climb over obstacles. If you never go off-road, you might not care, but the Patriot also has some significant issues that detract from its desirability in daily use. Cargo capacity is the biggie, as the Patriot offers just 53.5 cubic feet with its rear seats folded, and that's a very small number for this class. Interior materials quality is nothing to write home about either.

 

In past years, we also griped about the Patriot's acceleration, but Jeep has addressed this issue for 2014: Most Jeep Patriots can now be equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission. This should be an upgrade over the underwhelming continuously variable transmission (CVT) that was previously mandatory. We have yet to test a 2014 Jeep Patriot with the six-speed automatic, but we'll update this review when we do.

 

In the meantime, if you're shopping for a small crossover SUV, the Ford Escape and Kia Sportage are worth considering as alternatives to the Patriot. Both have roomier interiors with high-quality materials, along with better all-around performance. The Subaru XV Crosstrek and Nissan Juke also compare well, and if you want true off-road ability, we'd point you to the Nissan Xterra, the Toyota FJ Cruiser or even Jeep's own Wrangler, even though they are more expensive.

 

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options Leasing a Jeep

 

The 2014 Jeep Patriot is a compact crossover SUV that seats five people. It is available in Sport, Latitude and Limited trim levels.

 

The base Sport level is sparsely equipped with standard 16-inch steel wheels, roof rails, foglights, cruise control, cloth upholstery, a tilt-only steering wheel, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. The optional Power Value Group adds full power accessories, heated mirrors, keyless entry and additional body-color exterior pieces. Air-conditioning and 17-inch alloy wheels are also optional.

 

The Latitude gets the above features as standard, plus a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, heated front seats, a fold-flat front passenger seat and steering-wheel audio controls.

 

The Limited adds automatic climate control, rear disc brakes (versus rear drum brakes), upgraded exterior trim, leather upholstery, a six-way power driver seat (plus manual lumbar adjustment), a six-CD changer and a trip computer.

 

The Latitude and Limited are eligible for several option packages. The Sun and Sound Group adds a sunroof and a nine-speaker Boston Acoustics sound system (with two drop-down liftgate speakers) and satellite radio. The Security and Cargo Convenience Group adds adjustable roof rail crossbars, remote ignition, a tire pressure monitor display, a cargo cover, Bluetooth, a USB audio jack and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. A 6.5-inch touchscreen audio interface that includes digital music storage is also available, and on Limited models, it can be equipped with a navigation system as well.

 

All-wheel-drive models, regardless of trim, can be equipped with the Freedom-Drive II Off-Road Group. This includes an enhanced four-wheel-drive system, all-terrain tires, a full-size spare tire, hill descent control, tow hooks, skid plates and, on the Sport, a height-adjustable driver seat.

 

Powertrains and Performance Lease a Jeep

 

When equipped with standard front-wheel drive, the 2014 Jeep Patriot Sport and Latitude are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 158 horsepower and 141 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional.

 

EPA-estimated fuel economy with front-wheel drive and the six-speed automatic is 21 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined, which is disappointing given the Patriot's lack of power. The manual version does slightly better with mpg ratings of 23/28/25.

 

Optional on the front-drive Sport and Latitude is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that produces 172 hp and 165 lb-ft of torque. This engine is standard on all-wheel-drive models and all Patriot Limited models. You can choose between the five-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmission. The optional Freedom-Drive II Group provides a more serious four-wheel-drive system with low-range gearing and hill descent control, but requires that you also select the available continuously variable transmission (CVT).

 

EPA-estimated fuel economy with the 2.4-liter engine, the five-speed manual and all-wheel drive stands at 23/28/25. Picking the automatic drops these numbers to 21/27/23. With the CVT, fuel economy is quite poor at 20/23/21.

 

In Edmunds performance testing, a Patriot Limited with Freedom-Drive II and the CVT needed a lengthy 10.3 seconds to go from zero to 60 mph: one of the slowest times of any small crossover SUV.

 

Lease a Jeep Safety

 

The 2014 Jeep Patriot comes standard with antilock brakes (front disc, rear drum), traction and stability control, and full-length side curtain airbags. The Limited gets rear disc brakes. Front side airbags were optional last year but are now standard across all Patriot trim levels.

 

In Edmunds brake testing, a Patriot Limited performed poorly, as it came to a stop from 60 mph in 143 feet -- about 20 feet longer than average for this class.

 

In government crash testing, last year's Patriot earned an overall rating of four out of five stars, with three stars for total frontal-impact protection and five stars for side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Lease a Jeep Safety gave the Patriot the highest possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side-impact (with the side airbags) and roof strength tests.

 

Interior Design and Special Features Lease Jeep

 

At first glance, the Patriot's interior looks nice enough, if a little utilitarian. On closer examination, however, the quality is disappointing due to extensive use of cheap, hard plastics. The base Sport's lack of standard power accessories and air-conditioning makes it feel especially bare-bones. The front seats are comfortable enough, but rear-seat legroom is tight in the outboard seats and virtually nonexistent in the center position.

 

Large, easy-to-read gauges and user-friendly controls are at least in keeping with Jeep's off-road heritage, though the available touchscreen electronics interface is antiquated, as it lags behind competitors' systems in both ease of use and smartphone-integration features. There are a couple of clever features such as the cargo area lamp that pops out to become a rechargeable LED flashlight and the optional Boston Acoustics speakers that flip down from the raised liftgate to provide tunes for your next tailgate party.

 

You'd better not plan to bring a lot to that party, though. With just 23 cubic feet of space behind the 60/40-split rear seats and 53.5 cubic feet with both sections folded down, the cargo area is significantly smaller than that of most crossover SUV competitors, save for the Sportage. The Escape offers 68.1 cubic feet of capacity, while the Honda CR-V has more than 70 cubic feet of cargo volume.

 

Driving Impressions Jeep Lease

 

We haven't tested the 2014 Jeep Patriot with the new six-speed automatic transmission. When we do, we'll update this review.

 

If you equip your Patriot with the off-road group equipment, it will still come with the CVT. This is not among our favorite transmissions, as acceleration is sluggish in normal driving situations. You'll need to plan well ahead for highway passing maneuvers. What's more, the excessive engine noise in the CVT-equipped Patriot we tested had us reaching for the radio volume to drown out the racket. Ride quality is also an issue in the Patriot, as it's less comfortable than most competitors in this class.

 

 

Lease a Jeep Wrangler 

 

The 2014 Jeep Wrangler is a no-nonsense vehicle that's at its best when the pavement ends. This classic SUV will climb over rocks, cross streams and frolic in the sand dunes whenever you please, thanks to its standard four-wheel drive and high ground clearance. Just don't expect too many comforts along the way. Although the current Jeep Wrangler is the most civilized version ever, it's still noisy, rough-riding and nothing at all like the compact and midsize crossover SUVs that dominate this price range. However, if your weekend plans include off-roading, this Jeep is arguably the most capable utility vehicle you can buy.

 

It's also among the most versatile. Not only can you choose a Wrangler with two or four doors, you can remove the roof, doors and even the windshield if the mood strikes (and you have the right tools). Although, in practice, you probably won't care to drive the Wrangler for sustained periods of time without these components. We'd recommend the soft top over the (heavy) hardtop if you plan to drive your Wrangle al fresco on a regular basis, but keep in mind that it makes your Jeep more vulnerable to thieves and still requires considerable time and patience to remove and reinstall. Whether you see this as one of the Wrangler's quaint charms or an unnecessary hassle largely depends on your expectations.

 

Of course, some of the Wrangler's issues can't be brushed off as easily. Braking distances are long, and handling on paved roads is far less steady and refined than other SUVs you might be considering. Still, there's unexpected fun to be had in driving a Jeep Wrangler around town, as its short wheelbase makes it blissfully easy to maneuver in tight spaces if you don't mind the slow steering. The V6 engine provides sufficient power, too, and if you don't find what you're looking for on the factory options list, the Wrangler enjoys massive aftermarket parts availability from both Chrysler's in-house supplier Mopar and hundreds of independent companies.

 

If the Jeep Wrangler's rugged image and off-road capabilities appeal to you, we'd recommend a lengthy test-drive. It's not uncommon for shoppers to be drawn in by the Wrangler's cool factor only to realize soon after they've purchased one that a compact crossover or a more livable off-roader like the Nissan Xterra or Toyota FJ Cruiser would have been a better choice for driving to work every day. If you know what you're getting into, though, the 2014 Jeep Wrangler is a wonderful way to get back to basics and back to nature.

 

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options Leasing a Jeep

 

The 2014 Jeep Wrangler is a convertible SUV available in two-door Wrangler and four-door Wrangler Unlimited versions. Each comes in Sport, Sahara and Rubicon trims.

 

The Sport comes sparsely equipped with 16-inch steel wheels, front and rear tow hooks, foglamps, a removable black soft top, crank windows, manual locks and mirrors, cruise control, a tilt-only steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat and a six-speaker sound system with an auxiliary audio jack, CD player and steering wheel controls. The Unlimited Sport gets four doors, a bigger gas tank, more backseat and trunk space, air-conditioning and a 60/40-split-folding rear seat. The Power Convenience Group adds heated power mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power locks and windows and keyless entry. Air-conditioning (for the two-door), satellite radio, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and 17-inch alloy wheels are also optional.

 

The Sahara adds the above options plus 18-inch alloy wheels, an upgraded suspension, under-hood insulation, side steps, automatic headlamps, body-colored fender flares, power windows and a six-speaker Alpine sound system.

 

The Rubicon is not the most abundantly equipped trim level; instead it boasts the most robust off-road credentials. On top of the base Sport equipment, the Rubicon adds special 17-inch wheels, 32-inch tires, heavy-duty axles and transfer case, electronic front and rear locking differentials, a disconnecting front sway bar, rock rails, air-conditioning, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and satellite radio. The previously mentioned Power Convenience Group (heated power mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power locks and windows and keyless entry) is an optional extra on the two-door Rubicon, but it's standard on the Rubicon Unlimited.

 

The Connectivity Group is available across all trims and adds Bluetooth, a USB/iPod interface, an upgraded trip computer and a tire pressure monitoring display, as well as a leather-wrapped wheel and shift knob on the Sport and Sport Unlimited.

 

Also optional on all trims is a multi-piece removable hardtop with a rear defroster and wiper; you can buy it in addition to, or instead of, the standard soft top. The default color on the hardtop is black, but you can also get it in body color on the Sahara and Rubicon. Jeep also offers a premium version of the soft top made of nicer material; it's available on all trims.

 

Optional on the Sport and Sahara is a limited-slip rear differential, while the Sport and Rubicon can be equipped with half doors that include plastic side windows. The Sahara and Rubicon can be equipped with leather upholstery and heated front seats, automatic climate control and a navigation system that includes a touchscreen interface, digital music storage and real-time traffic.

 

Powertrains and Performance Lease a Jeep

 

The 2014 Jeep Wrangler comes standard with a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Four-wheel drive is also standard and includes high- and low-range transfer case gears, though the Rubicon features an upgraded transfer case with extra-low gearing. A six-speed manual transmission with hill-start assist is standard, while a five-speed automatic with both hill-start assist and hill-descent control is optional. When properly equipped, the Wrangler Unlimited has a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds, while the two-door Wrangler tops out at 2,000 pounds.

 

In Edmunds performance testing, a manual-equipped two-door Wrangler went from zero to 60 mph in a surprisingly quick 7.1 seconds. A heavier Wrangler Unlimited with the automatic transmission did it in 8.8 seconds, which is about a second slower than an equivalent Nissan Xterra. EPA-estimated fuel economy for the two-door is 17 mpg city/21 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined regardless of transmission. The Unlimited is rated 16/20/18 with the automatic and 16/21/18 with the manual.

 

Lease a Jeep Safety

 

The 2014 Jeep Wrangler comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front airbags and hill start assist. Front side airbags are optional. In Edmunds brake testing, both two- and four-door Wranglers came to a stop from 60 mph in about 140 feet.

 

It should be noted that the Wrangler's doors do not provide the same level of protection as regular doors do in a side crash. As such, it won't surprise you that the Wrangler doesn't fare well in the Insurance Institute for Highway Lease a Jeep Safety's side-impact crash test. Without side airbags, the two-door Wrangler earned the worst rating of "Poor," while the Unlimited got the second-worst "Marginal." However, both the two-door and four-door Wranglers get the best possible rating of "Good" in the IIHS's moderate-overlap frontal-offset test. The two-door Wrangler earned a Marginal rating in the Institute's newer, small-overlap frontal-offset test (which concentrates crash forces on a smaller section of the front bumper), but in fairness, most compact SUVs have done poorly in this test.

 

Interior Design and Special Features Lease Jeep

 

Though Jeep has refined and civilized the Wrangler over the years, there's no hiding the fact that the Wrangler's interior prioritizes function over comfort. Lean and durable, the cabin can be cleaned easily after a day spent in the dirt and dust. Despite the abundance of hard plastic surfaces, it's fairly attractive, with rounded lines that give it a fluid, organic look.

 

With the two-door, you'll find a backseat that seats just two passengers. Leg- and foot room in back are also pretty limited. If that isn't sufficient, the Unlimited offers room for three and its extra set of doors provides easier access. There's not much cargo room behind the two-door Wrangler's backseat (just 12.8 cubic feet), but the four-door Unlimited offers a more useful 31.5 cubic feet. The four-door also offers a respectable 70.6 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seat folded, compared to only 55.8 in the two-door.

 

Raising and lowering the soft top on any Jeep Wrangler takes time and patience. Storing cargo within a soft top is also risky, since the top is easily compromised by thieves, and only the meager glovebox and center console can be locked. The optional hardtop, which features removable T-top-style panels over the front seats, is a smart solution for those who don't intend to go completely al fresco on a routine basis. Bear in mind, though, that the hardtop is heavy, so you'll need a friend to help whenever you want to remove it.

 

Driving Impressions Jeep Lease

 

If your mission is to blaze trails off-road, you won't do much better than the 2014 Jeep Wrangler. The Rubicon trim is especially capable, thanks to its specialized hardware. The Wrangler Unlimited four-door isn't as nimble on tight trails as the shorter two-door model, but more generous cabin space means you can carry additional gear. The four-door also feels more stable around corners and on the highway. Nonetheless, all Wranglers suffer from tippy handling, a rough ride and slow steering that is kindly described as nebulous in feel. Road and wind noise are also excessive.

 

While the Wrangler won't win any drag races, its V6 is capable and gets the heavy SUV moving briskly. The standard six-speed manual features precise but long throws, an easily modulated clutch and a hill start assist feature, which is a godsend for stopping and starting midway up hills while going off-road. The five-speed automatic, meanwhile, offers smooth shifts and good fuel economy. Acceleration can be sluggish in the heavier Wrangler Unlimited models, and when you factor in the automatic transmission's slow gearchanges, passing maneuvers often require a bit more planning.