We're just going to get this out of the way right now: Time has not been kind to the Jeep Patriot. It debuted for the 2007 model year and has carried on without a full redesign ever since. A decade later, the 2017 Patriot's plasticky interior, rough ride quality and intrusive road noise are throwbacks to those troubled DaimerChrysler days. It's a similar theme under its hood where neither of the available four-cylinder engines is a standout for performance or fuel economy. If you order the Freedom Drive II package (which gives the Patriot some light off-road ability, one of its few major selling points), for example, you're looking at a rather unimpressive EPA combined rating of 21 mpg. Some competing models get closer to 30 mpg.
Simply put, the Patriot isn't for those shoppers who want a modern interior, class-leading fuel economy, a relaxed ride or the latest in-car tech. But it does have a few benefits. As mentioned above, the Patriot will handle off-road obstacles better than competitors when equipped with Freedom Drive II. It's also inexpensive, potentially undercutting other small crossover SUVs by thousands of dollars when purchased new. Tempering that, however, is that fact that the base Sport does without some features most people have come to take for granted, such as power accessories and air-conditioning, and will likely need to be added as options.
We recommend many competitors if you're in the market for a small SUV. Jeep's own Renegade is a more stylish and modern alternative, and you can still go off the beaten path effectively in the Trailhawk version. If keeping your crossover on the road is more your scene, check out the 2017 Honda HR-V, which boasts a large cargo area and excellent fuel economy. We also like the 2017 Mazda CX-3 for its blend of sporty handling and impressive cabin materials. These vehicles might end up costing you a little more up front than the Patriot. But as the old saw goes, you get what you pay for.
The front-wheel-drive Sport and Latitude trims come standard with antilock brakes that include front discs and rear drums. All Patriots with Freedom Drive I or Freedom Drive II get disc brakes front and rear. Traction and stability control are standard regardless, as are front side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags.
In Edmunds brake testing, the Patriot came to a stop from 60 mph in 121 feet, an average distance for this class.
In government crash testing, the Patriot received four stars (out of a possible five) for overall protection, with five stars for side protection and a rather alarming three-star rating for front impacts. More scoring comes from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which gave the Patriot its highest rating of Good in the moderate-overlap front-impact, side-impact, roof strength and head restraint (whiplash protection) tests. But the IIHS downgraded the Patriot to the worst score of Poor in the small-overlap front-impact test.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Jeep Patriot is a five-passenger compact crossover SUV. It is available in Sport and Latitude trim levels. There are several notable sub-trims: The Sport has two appearance-related packages called the Sport SE and 75th Anniversary Edition, while the Latitude can be had in a High Altitude Edition.
The Sport has standard equipment that matches its modest price, comprising 16-inch steel wheels, roof rails, foglights, manual exterior mirrors, crank-down windows, manual locks, cruise control, cloth upholstery, tinted rear windows, a tilt-only steering wheel, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, Bluetooth connectivity, and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, a USB port and an auxiliary audio jack.
The Sport SE package adds 17-inch gray-painted alloy wheels, gloss-gray exterior trim, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated audio controls, heated front seats, upgraded cloth and vinyl upholstery, increased ride height for front-wheel-drive models and tow hooks for all-wheel-drive models.
The 75th Anniversary package includes 17-inch bronze-painted alloy wheels, bronze exterior accents, remote engine start, a sunroof, mesh upholstery and a cargo cover.
Stand-alone options for the Patriot Sport include air-conditioning, black steel or alloy wheels, and an upgraded stereo with a six-CD changer. The optional Power Value Group adds upgraded exterior trim, power accessories (windows, locks and mirrors), heated mirrors, remote keyless entry and automatic headlights.
The Latitude comes with all of the features of the Sport with the Power Value Group, plus air-conditioning, 17-inch alloy wheels, remote keyless entry, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated audio controls, a height-adjustable driver seat, heated front seats, reclining rear seatbacks and a 115-volt power outlet.
A few options packages are available on the Patriot Latitude. The Premium Sound Group adds nine Boston Acoustics speakers, including two that flip down from the tailgate. The Sun and Sound Group includes those features and a sunroof. The Security and Cargo Convenience Group includes a cargo cover, adjustable roof-rack crossbars and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Finally, the High Altitude package consists of unique 17-inch alloy wheels, chrome exterior trim, a sunroof, leather upholstery and a power driver seat (with manual lumbar adjustment).
A few packages are also available for both trims. The All-Weather Capability Group for 4WD models adds an engine-block heater, daytime running lights, 17-inch alloy wheels, tow hooks and all-season floor mats. The Trailer-Tow Prep Group (2.4-liter engine only) includes a trailer wiring harness, an oil cooler and a full-size spare. The Freedom Drive II Off-Road Group (also 2.4-liter engine only) consists of the Trailer-Tow Prep Group plus an upgraded CVT with a low-range 4WD mode, skid plates, hill descent control, hill start assist, tow hooks, a height-adjustable driver seat, and body sealing to allow the Patriot to ford greater water depths.
An 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system is optional. For the Latitude, it can also be ordered with a navigation system. A rearview camera can also be ordered with the touchscreen.
The 2017 Patriot's base engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder producing 158 horsepower and 141 pound-feet of torque. It can only be had with front-wheel drive. The uplevel engine is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder rated at 172 hp and 165 lb-ft of torque; it's available on front-wheel-drive Patriots and required with all-wheel drive (Freedom Drive I or Freedom Drive II).
A five-speed manual is the default transmission for both engines. The optional automatic for the 2.0-liter Patriot is a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that functions like a traditional automatic, while the 2.4-liter engine is offered with a six-speed conventional automatic. The exception to this rule is the Freedom Drive II off-road package, which combines the 2.4-liter with a unique CVT that features low-range gearing.
Fuel economy varies depending on which powertrain setup you get. None are all that fuel-efficient, though. For example, you're looking at 24 mpg combined (22 city/26 highway) with the 2.0-liter engine and the CVT or 23 mpg combined with the bigger 2.4-liter engine and front-wheel drive and the six-speed automatic. That drops to 21 mpg when you get the Freedom Drive II's CVT.
In Edmunds performance testing, a Patriot with Freedom Drive I and the six-speed automatic went from zero to 60 mph in 9.4 seconds, which is comparable to a Honda HR-V (9.7 seconds) or Jeep's own Renegade 2.4 (9.4 seconds). However, a Patriot with Freedom Drive II chugged to 60 mph in 10.3 seconds, a disappointing number considering how poor the fuel economy is with this package.
Properly equipped, the Patriot can tow up to 2,000 pounds.
The 2017 Jeep Patriot is painfully slow with the 2.0-liter engine, and even the 2.4-liter models move like molasses when equipped with Freedom Drive II and the soul-sucking CVT. This would be somewhat forgivable if the Patriot were great on gas. It is not. Nor is either engine refined, with the smaller one particularly troubled by the dreaded NVH trio (noise, vibration and harshness). The six-speed automatic is the Patriot's saving grace, lifting the 2.4-liter engine's performance to class-competitive levels despite sometimes slow shifts.
On paved surfaces, the Patriot allows an abundance of wind and tire noise into the cabin. The trend these days is toward quietness at speed, even among value-priced vehicles, but this Jeep is a throwback. Ride quality is similarly unimpressive, as the Patriot's suspension struggles with broken pavement, making for a jittery drive over urban streets. Handling is adequate under normal circumstances, aided by the Patriot's compact footprint, but you'll notice plenty of body roll if you enter a corner with any kind of speed. As for the off-road experience, the Freedom Drive II setup moves the Patriot significantly beyond Freedom Drive I's conventional all-wheel drive — but as noted, it's also slow and thirsty.
The Patriot's interior has been tweaked over the years, but it's still one of the most basic you'll find, with cheap, hard plastics covering most surfaces and a tilt-only steering wheel that can compromise driver comfort. The Sport model is the worst offender because of its lack of standard power accessories and air-conditioning, but even the Limited's layout looks and feels more like that of an economy car than a competitive crossover. On the bright side, the front seats are pretty comfortable, providing satisfactory support for long stints in the saddle. Rear passengers won't be as pleased, however, because legroom is tight and the bottom cushion sits low, largely negating the benefits of the Latitude's reclining rear seatbacks.
The Patriot's primary gauges make a good first impression with their large, easy-to-read font, and the straightforward, generally ergonomic controls are consistent with Jeep's no-nonsense heritage. The optional 6.5-inch touchscreen is outdated, though; the 8.4-inch system used in other Jeep models is vastly superior. As ever, the Patriot provides optional flip-down liftgate speakers that'll help get the party started.
Cargo capacity is another potential weak spot. The 23 cubic feet of space behind the rear seatbacks isn't totally shameful, and folding down the rear seatbacks opens up 53.5 cubic feet of maximum stowage. That's about what you'll get from subcompact crossovers such as the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3 but much less than bigger models such as the CR-V and CX-5.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.