When it comes to SUVs, the Chrysler Corporation's Jeep brand is easily the most iconic of all the marques in this segment of the marketplace. In fact, the imaginations of most people conjure an image of a Jeep when the phrase SUV is employed in conversation. Over the years, there have been a number of vehicles introduced by the brand. All have shared one primary quality, the ability to go anywhere at any time, regardless of the conditions along the way.
This heritage goes all the way back to World War II and the rugged general purpose (or GP) vehicles developed for the American Armed Forces. Lightweight, rugged, and capable of traversing a broad variety of terrain, the GP (or Jeep) vehicle endeared itself to an entire generation. Remarkably, that affection has endured and been passed down to and through subsequent generations.
And, while today's Jeep Wrangler is the most direct descendent of that first GP vehicle, the Jeep Patriot, while capturing many of the qualities of its forebear, provides a useful bridge from the past to the future of SUVs. As more and more drivers have begun to embrace the crossover concept, the Jeep Patriot provides much of the capability of the Jeep Wrangler, without imposing the penalties that single purpose vehicle requires.
Additionally, the Jeep Patriot’s look reflects its heritage, while its comfort and stability embrace modern realities. Introduced in 2006 at the New York Auto Show as a 2007 model, the Jeep Patriot is stil in its first generation of production
There was a time when every Jeep vehicle had to be capable of traversing the incredibly rugged Rubicon Trail in northern California's Sierra Nevada mountain range. This was a major selling point for the brand, as well as a point of pride among its engineers and product planners. With the introduction of the Jeep Patriot, and its sibling the Jeep Compass, the guardians of the Jeep brand acknowledged the paradigm shift in the way consumers related to sport utility vehicles.
Patriot and Compass were the first two Jeep vehicles designed to perform better on pavement than on the trail. Yes, both are in possession of considerable off-road ability. And further, both can still be had with “trail ratings ”, however their basic designs are derived from cars—thus endowing them with a more comfortable ride and easier handling on the street.
Of the two, the Patriot is the more rugged one while the Compass is more genteel.
Offered in both front-wheel drive, and four-wheel drive, the Jeep Patriot was introduced with a choice of two available power plants; a 158 hp, 2.0-liter in-line four-cylinder engine, and a 172 hp, 2.4-liter four. The standard transmission offering was a five-speed manual; a continuously variable automatic transmission was offered as an option.
Additionally, two four-wheel-drive systems were offered; "Freedom Drive I" was the standard setup featuring a lockable active full-time system, designed primarily for wet pavement/winter-weather use. The "Freedom Drive II" off-road package consisted of an elevated ride height and low-range gearing along with all-terrain tires, skid plates, hill descent and start control, front and rear tow hooks, and a full-size spare tire to deliver the capability of enjoying a true off-road experience.
The 2007 Jeep Patriot came to market in two states of trim; “Sport” and “Limited”.
Standard equipment for the 2007 Jeep Patriot Sport included; 16-inch steel wheels, a temporary spare tire, variable intermittent windshield wipers, a rear window defogger, a rear window wiper, cargo tiedowns, and a roof rack. The Patriot’s rear liftgate door used a fixed window.
The base front-drive Sport model used the 2.0-liter and the CVT. The four-wheel drive Sport used the 2.4–liter engine, with a choice of the five-speed manual transmission or the CVT. A mechanical center differential, electronic high–low gear selection, a center locking differential, and automatic locking hubs were part of the Patriot’s full-time four-wheel-drive system. The Patriot also employed a four-wheel independent suspension system consisting of MacPherson struts in the front and a Multilink arrangement in the rear. Front and rear stabilizer bars were also fitted to the system.
The interior was upholstered in vinyl and the Patriot Sport used front bucket seats. The rear seatback was configured to split fold and backseat passengers enjoyed ventilation ducts. The front console featured storage; there were also front cupholders, front door pockets, 12V power outlets, and the Jeep Patriot retained accessory power when the engine was shut off. The tilt adjustable steering wheel communicated with a power steering rack.
Also included in the base price; a cargo area light, simulated alloy trim on the dashboard, simulated alloy trim on the shift knob, a pair of dual vanity mirrors, a clock, a tachometer, an external temperature display, and a low fuel level warning indicator.
The audio system used four speakers driven by an AM/FM in-dash single-disc CD player with an integrated CD controller head unit. It also featured an auxiliary input for portable audio devices. A navigation system was optional.
Safety and security features included ABS and disc brakes for all four wheels—with electronic brake force distribution and emergency braking assist. There were also front and rear head airbags, child seat anchors, rear door child safety locks, an engine immobilizer, a rear center three-point safety belt, front seatbelt pre-tensioners, stability control, and traction control. Side/curtain airbags were optional.
The 2007 Patriot Limited featured all of the above plus 17-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, leather upholstery, heated driver and front passenger seats, manually adjustable lumbar support and height adjustability for the driver’s seat, a fold flat front passenger seat, reclining rear seats, remote power door locks, power mirrors, and power windows with a one touch feature for the driver. Also included in the base price of the 2007 Jeep Patriot Limited were cruise control, a 115V power outlet, audio controls on the leather wrapped steering wheel, and air conditioning. Bluetooth and navigation were optional.
For either Sport or Limited, a sunroof, a six-disc CD changer and a Boston Acoustics premium audio system with satellite radio and flip-down speakers in the liftgate could be had as stand-alone options.
Air conditioning was made a standard feature for 2008, and a manual shift mode was added to the continuously variable transmission.
Chrysler’s hard-drive-based Uconnect multimedia system was added to the Patriot’s offerings, permitting Bluetooth connectivity, ripping MP3s, and viewing DVD videos on the dash-mounted LCD screen. MY’09 also ushered in more sound insulation, a reworked dash layout, a new center console design and a revised door panel configuration— incorporating padded armrests.
The base two-liter engine was paired with the five-speed manual transmission for the first time.
A styling update, along with the addition of a middle trim level and the demise of the Limited trim line were the big news for the 2011 Patriot. Replacing Limited was a trim called Latitude, and the top level Patriot was renamed Latitude X.
The 2011 Sport Patriot model featured the 2.0–liter engine, 16-inch steel wheels, fog lights, privacy glass, roof rails, cruise control, an outside temperature display, a tilt-steering wheel with integrated audio controls, a split-folding rear seatback, and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player head unit—containing an auxiliary input jack for portable audio devices.
The Sport’s “Power Value Group” of optional equipment included keyless entry, full power accessories, and a pair of heated foldaway exterior mirrors. Air conditioning was a standalone option, as was an upgraded sound system with a six-disc CD changer and satellite radio.
The Patriot’s Latitude trim kit included all of the above plus; 17-inch alloy wheels, a pair of heated front seats, a fold-flat front passenger seat, remote ignition, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, a 115-volt AC power outlet, and a trip computer.
To all of that, the 2011 Patriot Latitude X added the 2.4-liter engine, an automatic climate control system, leather upholstery, and a six-way power adjustable driver’s seat with a manually adjustable driver’s lumbar support.
Options for the Latitude trims were primarily bundled into option packages.
Front side airbags, adjustable roof crossbars, remote ignition, daytime running lamps, a cargo cover, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, along with Bluetooth (which was also available separately) and an iPod/USB audio interface comprised the Security and Cargo Convenience Group.
A sunroof and a nine-speaker Boston Acoustics sound system with satellite radio as well as a subwoofer and two fold-down speakers in the tailgate made up the Sun and Sound Group.
BTW, that sound system was also available a la ‘Carte. The upgrade from there was an advanced stereo head unit, which included a touchscreen interface and 30GB of digital music storage.
To enhance the 2001 Patriot’s off-road capability, Jeep’s product team prescribed the Freedom-Drive Off-Road Group’s advanced four-wheel-drive system with low-range gearing, a set of skid plates, hill descent control, hill start assist, all-terrain tires and tow hooks. If applied to the Patriot Sport, the Freedom-Drive Off-Road Group also included 17-inch alloy wheels and a height-adjustable driver’s seat.
Model year 2011’s Jeep Patriot Latitude X designation was dropped in favor of returning the Limited nomenclature to the lineup. The Patriot’s CVT was reworked to address drivability issues.
The least expensive off-road capable SUV on the market, the Jeep Patriot is a remarkable value for people who dig doing dirt. For people preferring pavement, Honda’s CR-V, Toyota’s RAV4, and Nissan’s Rogue give the Patriot a pretty serious run for the money. You really need to be aware of what you’ll be using the vehicle for before deciding to acquire a Patriot.
Of course, if you just want the look of a Jeep without all the bulk of a Wrangler or a Grand Cherokee, the Patriot might just be the ticket. Be aware though, one of the major criticisms lodged against the Patriot throughout its lifetime has been the relatively inexpensive appearance of its interior. The good news is the hard plastics are easy to clean, but the bad news is they don't do a whole lot to inspire a feeling of quality.
The other thing to consider is interior spaciousness. For only two people with a bit of getaway kit for a weekend, the Patriot should suffice. However, if you're thinking of bringing two friends along they’d better be pretty tiny people.
Reliability has been good overall, although there have been Patriot recalls so you’ll want to search the Internet to find the ones applicable to your model of interest. You will also want to run a vehicle history report against the VIN of any Patriot you’re seriously considering purchasing. While you're here on the Internet, it's also a good idea to cruise some of the Jeep owner’s forums to get an idea of how the Patriot has performed in the real world for real buyers.
And, as always, we highly recommend a very thorough pre-purchase inspection by trusted professional independent Jeep mechanic—before making any purchase offers.