What it is: The Patriot is one of Jeep’s compact crossover SUVs and was premiered as a 2007 model. I’ve been avoiding my article on the Patriot because it really doesn’t have much going for it anymore. There is a2017 model available, but they stopped producing them in December, so this is unfortunately the end of the line for the Patriot. Its brother, the Compass, will be getting a new generation to be released this year, so the spirit lives on at least.
There are some positives about the Patriot, including some large discounts, so the Patriot might make sense to some buyers. Probably the most unique positive is the availability of the Freedom-Drive II 4X4 off-road drive train. They put a real, Jeep-quality four-wheel drive system on the Patriot. On my test model, it was only an extra $750, so well worth the value if you can find one. I have tested a Patriot off-road several years ago, and it handled admirably - you just have to be aware of the ground clearance. I think the other big positive is that it looks like a rugged Jeep. It’s got a great SUV shape, the legendary Jeep grille, and has the big fender flares that give it a beefy appearance.
The negatives are a bit more numerous than the positives, unfortunately. It has a highway MPG rating of 23, which is rough for a four-cylinder car. The continuously variable transmission is lethargic and not enjoyable to drive. The navigation system is ancient and cost $1,435 extra. Although the maps are updated, it’s not a joy to use. The interior, while simple and easy to clean, is a standard affair with ‘entry-level car plastic’ as far as the eye can see.
MPG: 21 combined/20 city/23 highway
Price: $18,040 to $25,840 base price. $28,825 as-tested
Upsides: A new car warranty. Exterior looks nice.
Downsides: Everything else.
Wrap-up: I do think that there is a good potential buyer out there for the Patriot. Dealerships will be discounting them like crazy, and a scan of dealers in Houston showed that there are even some 2016 models in stock (which are identical to the 2017). While I highly recommend the newer Jeep Compass or Jeep Renegade, the Patriot is still likely to come in at a much lower price point and offer plenty of room for four passengers and lots of cargo.