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 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.
The Jeep Patriot has been retired, and its last trip down the assembly line was in 2017.
Current Jeep Patriot
The Jeep Patriot is a compact crossover available in two main trim levels: Sport and Latitude. Both trims offer various subtrims. The Sport trim is sold in Sport SE and 75th Anniversary Edition subtrims, while Latitude buyers can choose the High Altitude subtrim. The base Sport provides 16-inch steel wheels, cruise control, a four-speaker sound system, satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity and a USB port. The Latitude adds heated mirrors, air-conditioning, power accessories, alloy wheels, a height-adjustable driver seat and heated front seats. Options include distinctive flip-down tailgate speakers, a rearview camera, a navigation system, a 6.5-inch touchscreen and roof rails.
The standard engine for front-wheel-drive models is a 158-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder. A 2.4-liter four-cylinder that makes 172 hp is optional on front-wheel-drive Patriots and is required on all Patriots that have four-wheel drive. All models come standard with a five-speed manual transmission, and models with the 2.0-liter engine are eligible for an optional continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Patriots with the 2.4-liter engine may be equipped with an optional six-speed automatic, and the sole exception here are models equipped with the Freedom Drive II off-road package.
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 Latitude trim. Opting for Freedom Drive II four-wheel drive adds a unique CVT with lower gearing along with all-terrain tires, skid plates, hill start assist and hill 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, and it was initially offered in Sport and Limited trims. 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 least impressive 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 lacked 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 2011 model year also saw the arrival of the midlevel Latitude trim.
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. In 2015, navigation became available on the Latitude trim. For 2016, the Patriot dropped the Limited trim, leaving just Sport and Latitude models. Thankfully, Bluetooth and satellite radio were added as standard equipment on all models, and the Latitude added automatic headlights. Also, a rearview camera become available as an option.