2012 Jeep Patriot Review
2012 Jeep Patriot Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Low base price
- Jeep-lite styling
- above-average off-road ability
- clever features.
- Sluggish acceleration
- poor braking distances
- disappointing fuel economy
- limited cargo capacity.
The 2012 Jeep Patriot has had its available continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) recalibrated for improved performance.
Those wanting a cheap way to travel off the beaten path might want to consider the 2012 Jeep Patriot. But in most other areas, the Patriot is outclassed.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2012 Jeep Patriot Sport 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 5M) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.57 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$174/mo for Patriot Sport
Avg. Compact SUV
The 2012 Jeep Patriot is caught between a vision of Jeep-style off-road authenticity and suburban-style everyday utility. It's a difficult mix to make, and the process is complicated by the demands of a low sticker price and high fuel economy.
A car-type unibody platform like the Patriot's can be made to deliver trail-rated performance, as the Jeep Grand Cherokee has proven for several decades, so we shouldn't be surprised to see that the Patriot can be fitted with an optional off-road option package. It gives this small crossover surprising capability in the dirt thanks to increased ride height, skid plates and a four-wheel-drive system complete with a transfer case that has dual-range gear ratios for low-speed crawling.
It's the Patriot's highway personality that has been the obstacle that has kept this Dodge Caliber-based crossover from getting much respect. The combination of a small four-cylinder engine and a CVT makes for great fuel economy but relatively unimpressive performance — an issue that plagues many compact crossovers, not just the Patriot. Last year the Jeep engineers brought more personality to the Patriot with revised suspension and steering hardware, and now the CVT has been recalibrated for 2012. The automaker's design team has also added some soft-touch materials to its easy-to-clean, industrial-style cabin.
The Patriot's real challenge, however, lies in the quality of its competition, because this segment of compact crossovers is one of the most competitive in the market. Buyers simply looking for some added peace of mind when road conditions turn ugly will find all-wheel-drive versions of small crossovers like the Chevrolet Equinox, Honda CR-V and Kia Sportage to be more refined alternatives.
As compact crossovers go, the Jeep Patriot is indeed the one meant to get dirty, whether it's simple weekend sport or real all-terrain mobility. But if you're just looking for a people-friendly transportation box, you probably want to give this Patriot a crisp salute and look to its more well-rounded competition.
Performance & mpg
The 2012 Jeep Patriot Sport and Latitude models come standard with front-wheel drive and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 158 horsepower and 141 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a CVT is optional. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 23 mpg city/27 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined with the CVT and 23/29/25 with the manual.
A 2.4-liter four-cylinder is optional on the front-drive Sport and Latitude, and standard on the Limited and all Patriots equipped with the "Freedom Drive I" all-wheel-drive system. It produces 172 hp and 165 lb-ft, and also features the five-speed manual and CVT (standard on Limited). The optional "Freedom Drive II" is a more traditional four-wheel-drive system with a low-range transfer case that makes it more suitable for off-pavement exploration.
In Edmunds testing, a four-wheel-drive Patriot with the 2.4-liter engine and CVT went from zero to 60 mph in 10.3 seconds, a slow time for this type of vehicle. EPA-rated fuel economy ranges from a decent 23/28/25 with the manual and front-wheel drive to 20/23/21 with Freedom Drive II.
All 2012 Jeep Patriots come standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, active front head restraints and side curtain airbags. Front-seat side-impact airbags are optional on all models. In Edmunds brake testing, a four-wheel-drive Patriot came to a stop from 60 mph in a poor 143 feet -- about 20 feet longer than average.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Patriot its top "Good" rating in frontal-offset crash tests. Results were mixed in the organization's side impact tests, however, with the Patriot earning a "Good" rating when equipped with the optional side-impact airbags and a second-to-worst "Marginal" without them.
Of the 2012 Jeep Patriot's two available engines, even the larger 2.4-liter is underwhelming when it comes to highway power, but the availability of a five-speed manual transmission makes this vehicle very capable for off-road adventure.
Since the available Freedom Drive I all-wheel-drive system is really only meant to provide added peace of mind when roads turn slippery, it's the Freedom Drive II system you'll want if you expect to be spending much time in the dirt.
At the same time, this dimension of off-road capability also has consequences in the calibration of the suspension, so the comfort quotient in the fast lane on the freeway might not be what you expect. Then again, a Jeep is meant to deliver a certain amount of toughness.
At first glance the Patriot's interior looks nice enough, if a little utilitarian. On closer examination, however, the extensive use of easy-to-clean but hard plastics in the off-road style keep the interior from feeling comfortable. Almost every compact crossover is nicer. 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 reinforce the Jeep's off-road heritage. Other positives include clever ideas like the cargo area lamp that pops out to become a rechargeable LED flashlight and the optional Boston Acoustic speakers that flip down from the raised liftgate to provide tunes for your next tailgate party.
Which brings us to the Patriot's undersize cargo hold, the interior's notable weakness. With just 23 cubic feet of space behind the 60/40-split rear seats and 53.5 cubic feet with both sections folded down, it's significantly smaller than those in crossover competitors like the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester. That said, the standard fold-flat front passenger seat makes it possible to squeeze long items inside and still get the tailgate closed.
2012 Jeep Patriot models
The 2012 Jeep Patriot is a compact SUV that's offered in three trim levels: Sport, Latitude and Limited.
The entry-level Sport model comes with 16-inch steel wheels, foglamps, rear privacy glass, roof rack side rails, cloth upholstery, 60/40-split-folding rear seatbacks, cruise control, outside temperature display, a tilt-only steering wheel with audio controls, and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. Options include air-conditioning and the Power Value Group, which adds keyless entry, full power accessories and heated mirrors.
The midrange Latitude trim level adds the Sport's above optional items. plus 17-inch alloy wheels, remote ignition, heated front seats, a height-adjustable driver seat, a fold-flat front passenger seat, 60/40-split-folding and reclining rear seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, a 115-volt AC power outlet and a trip computer.
The top-of-the-line Limited model adds a few extras including a larger four-cylinder engine, four-wheel disc brakes, automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a six-way power driver seat and an upgraded sound system with a six-CD changer (optional on Sport) and satellite radio.
The Security and Cargo Convenience Group available on the Latitude and Limited adds daytime running lights, front-seat side-impact airbags (available separately on the Sport), roof rack crossbars, remote ignition, a cargo cover, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and Bluetooth (available separately on all trims). The Sun and Sound Group also available on the Latitude and Limited adds a sunroof and a nine-speaker Boston Acoustics audio system with two fold-down speakers in the tailgate (which is also available separately). The Off-Road Group available on all Patriots with Freedom Drive I adds the Freedom Drive II all-wheel-drive system, all-terrain tires, skid plates, tow hooks and hill descent control.
3.9 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
4.5 out of 5 stars
More Then Just A Refresh!
2011 Jeep Patriot Latitude X 4dr SUV 4WD (2.4L 4cyl 5M)
Driving the 2011 Latitude for 4 weeks. I last looked into the Patriot back in 2007. Kudos to Jeep, because they totally redid this vehicle. Very Pleased. After tax, DMV fees, registration cost came out to 24K. I am getting around 27 mpg. I am sitting in heated leather seats with my smart phone wirelessly streaming phone calls and music through the stereo. New interior and reworked … steering wheel w/stereo and cruise controls bring the cabin back into the 2000's as opposed to before when it felt like 1986. Handling/feel on road is tight and nowhere as noisy as previous models. CVT transmission is no problem at all, passing and highway acceleration power is there. More tough car then truck.
4.75 out of 5 stars
Great Vehicle, Excellent Value
2012 Jeep Patriot Sport 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
I got the Jeep Patriot Sport 2WD with the 2.0L engine. I opted for CVT over the standard 5 speed manual. And I'm in Texas so it had to have A/C. But I chose to go without power locks, power windows, heated mirrors, etc. I've had it for six months now and it's a pleasure to drive and comfortable to travel in. It handles highways well. I've done driving on two-tracks and rough dirt roads … on government land and it handled them with ease. The controls are large making them easy to see and use. The windows give you a nice sight picture all the way around and the mirrors give a great view to the back whether going down the road or backing into a garage. Overall, I very happy with my Patriot.
4.75 out of 5 stars
2012 Patriot Limited - Better than expected!
2012 Jeep Patriot Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (2.4L 4cyl CVT)
Had to replace my totaled Suzuki Equator and the hunt was on. Looked at almost every MFG's smaller SUV and kept coming back to the Jeep. The re-programmed VCT matched up with the 2.4 seems to be a great revision/fit. Always had 6 or 8 cyln engines so was a bit apprehensive but not yet. With only 1600 mi on the Patriot maybe I should wait but just love it. I have all the options with … exception of "off-road" pkg. The creature comforts are very welcome, comfortable/ heated seats were key and the nav/sound sys is a plus too. So far no issues with power and feels comfortable to drive. Just remember its a Jeep and if you are a Jeep lover like me take a look at the affordable Patriot.
4.88 out of 5 stars
Second Jeep Patriot
2011 Jeep Patriot Sport 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
My first Jeep Patriot was a 2007, 2.4L Sport. I thought it was great compared to its replacement, a 2000 Jeep Cherokee. After a few years, no longer impressed with its ride. No problems anywhere else. Once the redesign came out for 2011, I had to go see it. The ride is so much better! The 2007 is like riding in a truck where the 2011 is like driving in a car that handles well, quite, and … great features! I bought the Latitude with the 2.0L engine for 20K. I have 21K miles on it now after 1 year, and I'm still impressed with the comfort and value and quality of this Jeep.
We have a limited number of reviews for the 2012 Jeep Patriot, so we've included reviews for other years of the Patriot since its last redesign.
2012 Patriot Highlights
|Combined MPG||25 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$174/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestNot Tested
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood