2012 Jeep Patriot Review

Pros & Cons

  • Low base price
  • Jeep-lite styling
  • above-average off-road ability
  • clever features.
  • Sluggish acceleration
  • poor braking distances
  • disappointing fuel economy
  • limited cargo capacity.
List Price Range
$5,000 - $11,000

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

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.

2012 Highlights

The 2012 Jeep Patriot has had its available continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) recalibrated for improved performance.

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.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2012 Jeep Patriot.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

2012 Patriot Limited - Better than expected!
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.
Latitude 4dr SUV 4WD (2.4L 4cyl CVT)
I was torn between the Jeep Patriot and getting another Caliber SXT (which I loved and ran faithfully without a minute of trouble for 64,000 miles). After rigorous shopping and research, I was able to get a loaded Jeep Patriot Latitude; 4 x 2; CVT; sunroof;Sirius radio for about $22,000. I spend a ton of time in my car, so the fact that it is comfortable is of utmost importance. Traction control is a great feature. Heated seats; smooth drive; 2.4 litre engine has nice pickup; manuevers well in parking structures and around town. Looks like a Jeep, but drives like a car. Being 5'1, I love that I sit up high. I think we're going to have a lot of good years together. I'll keep you posted!
Great Vehicle, Excellent Value
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.
Better than a Cute 'Ute!
Latitude 4dr SUV 4WD (2.4L 4cyl CVT)
I didn't do a whole lot of shopping around, but I did know I didn't want a compact crossover that looked just like every other "cute ute" in the sea of SUVs on the road. The Patriot broke that mold and immediately attracted me. The interior redesign in 2011 made a big difference, although it's still not up to par with competition. Rides and handles well. Only real complaint is the noisy engine. Other than that, I love this little Jeep.


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2012 Jeep Patriot

Used 2012 Jeep Patriot Overview

The Used 2012 Jeep Patriot is offered in the following submodels: Patriot SUV. Available styles include Latitude 4dr SUV 4WD (2.4L 4cyl CVT), Sport 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 5M), Latitude 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 5M), Sport 4dr SUV 4WD (2.4L 4cyl 5M), Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (2.4L 4cyl CVT), and Limited 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl CVT).

What's a good price on a Used 2012 Jeep Patriot?

Price comparisons for Used 2012 Jeep Patriot trim styles:

  • The Used 2012 Jeep Patriot Latitude is priced between $7,495 and$10,000 with odometer readings between 76325 and118472 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Jeep Patriot Sport is priced between $5,000 and$11,000 with odometer readings between 102227 and144247 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2012 Jeep Patriots are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2012 Jeep Patriot for sale near. There are currently 7 used and CPO 2012 Patriots listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $5,000 and mileage as low as 76325 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2012 Jeep Patriot.

Can't find a used 2012 Jeep Patriots you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Jeep Patriot for sale - 4 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $19,430.

Find a used Jeep for sale - 3 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $9,044.

Find a used certified pre-owned Jeep Patriot for sale - 6 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $9,251.

Find a used certified pre-owned Jeep for sale - 4 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $18,915.

Should I lease or buy a 2012 Jeep Patriot?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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