2014 Jeep Patriot Blackhawk review
Mark Higgins’ first drive 2014 Jeep Patriot Blackhawk review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety and verdict.
In a nutshell The Patriot Blackhawk is just a cosmetic tweak of the regular Blackhawk. Sure it looks tougher, but…
Practical Motoring Says The cosmetic Blackhawk enhancements add cred to the Patriot but can’t mask its shortfalls. Combining SUV flexibility for a similar price to a compact car should make it a winner, but it looks, drives and feels like yesterday.
SETTING IT APART from the regular Jeep Patriot and giving it a slightly menacing look, the Blackhawk is based on the entry spec Sport model and as the name suggests, gets an all-black paint job with black badging, plus a gloss black grille, black roof rails and black 17-inch alloys, on Continental 215/60/17 Premium Contact tyres, that are also…black.
The familiar Patriot/Jeep styling cues of a flat bonnet, two large round headlights and signature seven-slot grille remain. As does its slab sided body, flat top wheel arches, large glasshouse with an old-fashioned, upright, curved windscreen and a black plastic protective panel around the lower exterior.
Open the door and the Patriot Blackhawk is a sea of hard black plastics with a touch of chrome garnish on the gearshifter and steering wheel. Across the dash are circular air vents, circular HVAC controls on the console and circular analogue instruments, and in Jeep speak, EVIC – Electronic Vehicle Information Centre, plus an auto-dimming mirror. Although there are numerous storage areas around the interior, most are oddly shaped and small, minimising their usefulness. Luckily, there’s a decent sized storage box with a sliding armrest between the front seats as well as cupholders.
One thing there’s no shortage of is leg and headroom in both rows, and although the rear luggage area isn’t huge, it will satisfy most buyers. With the 60/40 split rear seat folded flat, it easily swallowed a family-sized Weber BBQ and gas bottle, but the tailgate doesn’t open high enough for a person of average height to stand under without bumping your head.
The cloth trimmed flat, manually adjustable (heated) front seats were okay, but finding a suitable driving position proved tricky as the leather, multifunction steering wheel only adjusts for tilt. A highlight was the quality sound of the four-speaker audio system and pairing the phone or streaming music through the U-connect voice command infotainment system wasn’t difficult, though it did drop out a couple of times, requiring a repeat of the setup process.
Although all-round visibility was good, but with no parking sensors or a reversing camera maneuvering in crowded pre-Christmas, filled carparks became a bit hair raising. Aside from a few minor fit and finish issues, the interior feel was acceptable.
Behind the wheel, the Patriot Blackhawk doesn’t match its looks. It has a kerb weight of 1570kg, a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine which makes 115kW (at 6300rpm) and 190Nm of torque (at 5100rpm). This is mated to CVT which sends power to the front wheels only.
At takeoff, the steering jolts right thanks to torque steer, with the acceleration accompanied by an intrusive chorus of revs, as the transmission sends drive to the front wheels. It feels like an early CVT with little correlation of revs to progress and it’s not in the same league as the offerings from either Subaru or Nissan. Once in a rhythm (read: steady pace) the Patriot Blackhawk cruises along reasonably quietly, until overtaking is required and the whole din starts again. It’s thirsty too and the best we could average was 11.2L/100km.
The independent front and rear suspension setup is soft with long travel and poor damping which resulted in the body pitching fore and then aft when accelerating or braking and rolled through corners, which were taken conservatively. By and large the Patriot Blackhawk dispatched most gentle lumps and bumps quite well, but became unsettled across coarse, lumpy surfaces. The disc brakes were a bit bitey and didn’t really offer much in the way of feel or progress and the power steering felt remote, adding up to a relatively disappointing driving experience.
Key features of the Patriot Blackhawk are: 17-inch five-spoke black alloy wheels, Uconnect infotainment system with voice recognition, electric leveling headlamps, hill holder, leather steering wheel, Power/folding/heated door mirrors, auto diming rear view mirror, roof rails, full size spare wheel, tyre pressure monitoring, black badging, black roof rails and grille and body coloured rear bumper with step pads.
ANCAP has awarded the Patriot Blackhawk with five stars and its safety arsenal includes active headrests, six airbags, ABS brakes, brake assist, traction control, electronic stability and rollover control.
2014 Jeep Patriot Blackhawk
Price $28,900 (+ORC)
Warranty three years, 100,000 kilometres + roadside assist
Safety ANCAP Five stars
Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol (91RON)
Transmission CVT (standard)
Body 4424mm (L); 1808mm (W); 1667mm (H)
Thirst 10.4L/100km (combined)