At first glance, the Jeep Patriot crossover evokes the boxy, go-anywhere Jeep Cherokee of old. And that's the way Jeep wants it. But underneath, the Patriot utilizes the same platform as the old, discontinued -- and generally unloved -- Dodge Caliber hatchback. Fundamentally more of an economy car than a real SUV, the Patriot is a tough pill for the Jeep faithful to swallow.
You do get respectable approach and departure angles, ample ground clearance and the availability of a serious four-wheel-drive package that adds low-range gearing and skid plates, among other goodies. But when you get right down to it, there's just not a lot of substance behind the Patriot's bold face. Other vehicles in the segment offer roomier interiors, more standard features, higher fuel economy, stronger performance, superior fit and finish and comparable off-road capability. Overall, we think most shoppers will be better served by looking elsewhere.
Current Jeep Patriot
The Jeep Patriot is a compact crossover available in three main trim levels: Sport, Latitude and Limited. The base Sport doesn't even come with full power accessories or air-conditioning, but it makes do with basics like 16-inch steel wheels, cruise control and a four-speaker sound system. The Latitude adds the Sport's missing features plus alloy wheels, a height-adjustable driver seat and heated front seats. The Limited boasts rear disc brakes (the others get rear drums), leather upholstery and automatic climate control. Options include distinctive flip-down tailgate speakers, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, a 6.5-inch touchscreen and roof rails.
The standard engine for front-wheel-drive Sport and Latitude models is a 158-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder. A 2.4-liter four-cylinder that makes 172 hp is optional on those trims and standard on the Limited trim, as well as on all Patriots that have four-wheel drive. The Sport and Latitude come standard with a five-speed manual transmission and are eligible for a six-speed automatic, while the Limited gets the automatic as standard. The limited-edition Altitude and High Altitude sub-trims are equipped with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
There are two four-wheel-drive systems offered. The first, a single-speed system that's technically just all-wheel drive, can be paired with either the manual or six-speed automatic transmission in Sport trim, but the automatic comes standard on the higher trims. Opting for Freedom Drive II four-wheel drive substitutes the CVT but also adds low-range gearing, all-terrain tires, skid plates, hill ascent and descent control, front and rear tow hooks and a full-size spare tire.
Due to its slim profile and high load floor, the Patriot doesn't have a lot of space inside. The rear seats are on the tight side and storage space is limited. The rear seatbacks fold down in a 60/40 split to open up 53.5 cubic feet of storage space, but most rivals offer significantly more.
In reviews, we've found the Jeep Patriot disappointing from behind the wheel. The ride quality is relatively crude, thanks to a suspension that's easily unsettled by imperfect roads, and the cabin is pretty noisy at speed. The 2.4-liter four delivers just adequate acceleration with the manual or six-speed automatic, and it's lethargic with the CVT. The base 2.0-liter four, meanwhile, is underpowered and barely more fuel-efficient than the 2.4. Even models equipped with Freedom Drive II fail to convince, since there are other compact SUVs out there that perform just fine in the dirt while offering a superior experience in civilization. Another major complaint concerns the lackluster quality of the Patriot's interior materials.
Used Jeep Patriot Models
The Jeep Patriot was introduced for 2007. Some features were added a year later, but 2009 saw the first big changes in the form of a new and improved interior. Prior to that, the crummy hard plastics created one of the worst cabins on the market. For 2010, the 158-hp four-cylinder could be paired to the five-speed manual for the first time. These 2007-'10 Patriots lack the upgrades made to the 2011 model, including minor exterior styling changes, improved interior trim, reworked steering and suspension systems, and a taller 4WD ride height. The six-speed automatic didn't appear until the 2014 model year, which is also when front-seat side airbags became standard across the lineup.
Read the most recent 2015 Jeep Patriot review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Jeep Patriot page.