2016 Patriot New Car Test Drive
As the boxiest member of the lineup, the Jeep Patriot has aged reasonably well. Open the door, though, and it's evident that the stark interior has become quite dated since its debut as a 2007 model, followed by freshening for 2011. Compared to the far newer Cherokee and Renegade, the Jeep Patriot seems like a relic of the past.
On the other hand, if you're looking for moderately priced transportation and don't crave the latest equipment, this comparative old-timer still has a lot to offer.
In urban environments, the Patriot promises easy maneuverability. If an off-road journey lies in your future, this upright-stance Jeep can deliver authentic rural capabilities.
The original Patriot was noisy, austere, and sluggish on the road. Since then, Jeep has managed to enhance its appeal. Today, in the twilight of its lifespan, the sensible-size Patriot melds rugged Jeep lines with civility, resulting in a practical family transporter.
That boxy, still-bold exterior contains a highly useful interior, yielding ample cargo space. Rear seatbacks flip forward easily. Getting in and out is especially easy, helped by the Patriot's high roofline. In both front and rear, passengers enjoy abundant headroom. Oddly, the seating position is somewhat low, facing a rather tall, encompassing dashboard.
A 158-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder serves as base engine. Four-wheel-drive models get a 2.4-liter engine that produces 172 horsepower. A 5-speed manual gearbox is standard with front-drive, but a 6-speed automatic transmission is available.
Also available is a continuously variable transmission (CVT), bundled with the Freedom Drive II four-wheel-drive system. That system gives Patriot Jeep's Trail Rated badge, as well as moderate capability for chugging through sand and mud. A suitably equipped Patriot can even handle mild rock-crawling, helped by the CVT's Low range (absent from the Freedom Drive I CVT).
For 2016, Jeep Patriot is available in Sport and Latitude trim levels. The Limited model is gone, replaced with option packages that include much of its equipment. A new Patriot Sport SE package raises ride height on front-wheel-drive models, adds tow hooks to 4WD models, and brings such upgrades as heated mesh front seats.
In federal crash tests, the Patriot received four stars for overall safety, including an especially worrisome three-star score in frontal-crash and rollover testing. Testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the Patriot Good in most categories, but Poor in the tougher small-overlap frontal test.
Patriot Sport ($17,595) includes cruise control, roof rails, foglamps, tilt steering, cruise control, and 16-inch alloy wheels (17-inch with 4WD). Windows are manual and air conditioning remains optional, but the 2016 Sport gains hands-free Uconnect and SiriusXM Radio. Four-wheel drive adds $2,000. (Prices are MSRP and do not include the $995 destination charge.)
Patriot Latitude ($22,195) adds air conditioning, power windows and locks, heated cloth front seats, a fold-flat front passenger seat, and new automatic headlights. Four-wheel drive is available ($3,300). A High Altitude package includes leather-trimmed seats, a power driver's seat, sunroof, and painted 17-inch wheels.
Safety equipment includes electronic stability control with roll mitigation, front side airbags, and side-curtain bags.