The Jeep Patriot has been around for a long time and it shows, not much has changed for 2017 and as a new model is on the horizon it struggles to make a strong case for itself against far more refined and capable opponents. It does counter with a very low price which may still appeal to some shoppers.
The Patriot sits firmly in the rough and ready category when it comes to interior quality. Updates over the years have not been enough to disguise its age and the hard and cheap plastics are out of line with the times. The controls and switchgear have aged a bit better although the minimalist look is more to do with a lack of features than clever design.
Front seats are comfortable and provide good support although rear passengers will become intolerable on longer trips as they drone on about the lack of legroom. At least the noisy cabin might mask some of their complaints. Cargo space is average and the rear seats can be folded down which increases the load space.
The Patriot hides no dynamic driving delights under its slab-sided body panels. The ride is hard and any attempts at enthusiastic cornering will leave your heart rate elevated for all the wrong reasons. Both engine options are unrefined when extended and especially lethargic when combined with the laggy CVT transmission option. The noise levels are high on just about any surface and while the ride quality is just about acceptable on smooth pavement, when the road turns rutted the Patriot does its best to shake out your fillings.
Available with either 158 horsepower 2.0-liter or 172 hp 2.4-liter engines, the Patriot comes standard with a 5-speed manual transmission. A CVT for the 2.0-litre or 6-speed automatic for the 2.4-liter is optional although the off-road spec Freedom Drive II trim is unique in offering the 2.4-liter with the CVT transmission thanks to a bespoke low-range setting.
Performance is lacklustre, especially on models fitted with the CVT transmission and fuel economy is also poor compared to just about any rival. For what it’s worth, the front-drive 2.4-liter models are the sprightliest in the line-up.
The Patriot is available in either Sport, Sport SE, Latitude and High Altitude trim levels. All are available with a choice of either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Transmission options are either a 5-speed manual, 6-speed automatic or CVT, some are only available with certain trim and engine configurations.
The base Sport has 16-inch wheels, manual mirrors, windows and door-locks, cloth upholstery and a 4-speaker sound system. Slightly more upmarket standard features include Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control and USB connectivity.
Sport SE adds heated front seats, 17-inch wheels, increased ride height on front-wheel drive variants, upgraded upholstery and gray exterior trim accents.
Individual options for both Sport trims include air-conditioning and the Power Value Group which adds power mirrors, windows and door-locks as well as keyless entry. A 6.5-inch infotainment system is also available and also features navigation on the Latitude trim level.
Latitude trim includes all of the above and adds air-conditioning, reclining rear seatbacks and a 115-volt power outlet. Options include an upgraded sound system with speakers integrated into the flip-down tailgate, auto dimming rearview mirror and cargo cover.
The High Altitude trim has unique 17-inch wheels, sunroof, leather seats, power driver seat and chrome exterior trim.
All-weather capability group for all-wheel drive models and a trailer-tow prep on 2.4-liter models is also available. Notable is the Freedom Drive II Group which is available on 2.4-liter all-wheel drive models and includes hill descent control, skid plates, tow hooks and body sealing for greater off-road ability.
The Jeep Patriot is an outdated design that struggles to compete with more modern alternatives. The chunky looks, low sticker price and off-road ability on certain trim levels may sway some shoppers but there are rivals, even within its own ranks that can better it in just about every department.