Interior and cargo space; maneuverability and parking ease; safety features; tech options; off-road ability plus fuel economy
For 2009, Jeep's boxy compact gets a redesigned instrument panel, center console, and door panels, along with new trim and chrome accents. LED-illuminated cupholders are another new feature, and armrests are now padded, and a new removable carpeted cargo floor replaces the vinyl one.
To reduce engine and road noise, more sound insulation has been added along the floor and the exhaust system has been retuned, and the suspension on Sport models has been retuned for a more comfortable ride.
Newly available on the Patriot for 2009 is the ?UConnect tunes' system, an all-in-one entertainment package that allows for hard-drive storage of music and photos, and movie viewing.
The Patriot is an unexpectedly wonderful city car, combining a boxy, rugged-looking traditional Jeep appearance with car-like handling, good outward visibility, an economical powertrain, an interior that's comfortable for four adults and a city-friendly small-car size. Although the base Sport model is basic, it's quite a bargain for a vehicle that includes all the essential safety equipment; and for those willing to option-up, there are more high-tech options than is typical for a basic sport-ute.
The Patriot shares much mechanically, with both the Jeep Compass and Dodge Caliber, including a layout that's much more car-like than any of Jeep's larger models. With a MacPherson strut front suspension and rear multi-link setup, quick-ratio rack-and-pinion steering and a very manageable 174 inches of total length (nearly two feet shorter than some mid-size sedans), the Patriot is very maneuverable.
With either of the two 4-cylinder engine offerings, the Patriot is reasonably energetic on the road while also returning decent fuel economy. Front-wheel-drive Sport (base) models can be equipped with a smaller 158-horsepower, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, but available on the Sport and standard on the rest of the lineup is a 172-hp, 2.4-liter four. The 2.0-liter Sport comes only with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), but with the 2.4-liter a 5-speed manual transmission is standard and the CVT is optional. The combination of the 2.4-liter engine and 5-speed manual returns the best fuel economy, of 23 mpg city, 28 highway.
Although the Patriot is the most car-like Jeep, it doesn't forget about its off-road roots. Three different drivetrain configurations are offered: front-wheel drive, Freedom Drive I and Freedom Drive II. Freedom Drive I is an active all-wheel drive system that sends more power to the rear wheels when it's needed for traction; it also has a Lock mode for deep snow or mud. For those who plan to do occasional off-roading there's the Freedom II Off-Road Package, which brings a 19:1 low range gearing for the CVT, plus skid plates, a full-size spare, all-terrain tires, tow hooks, fog lamps, and an engine oil cooler. With the package, the Patriot sits an inch higher than the other models, for a full nine inches of ground clearance, plus 19-inch water fording capability and better approach/departure angles than many more truck-like SUVs.
Brake Traction Control and Hill Descent Control assist with steep, slippery slopes off-road, while all Patriots come with electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes, including a rough-road mode for the ABS.
The Patriot's very boxy exterior helps provide an extremely roomy, useful interior. The front seats have a more car-like position than Jeep's other models, but they command a good view of the road. Seating is also comfortable in back, with adequate legroom and plenty of headroom, though there's barely enough width to fit three adults across; up-level models get a reclining seatback. For cargo versatility, the back seats fold forward flat and increase the dimensions of the remarkably convenient, box-shaped cargo area. The front passenger seat can also fold all the way forward to act as a table or to make room for especially long cargo.
Sport and Limited trims are offered with either front- or 4-wheel drive. The Sport includes all the safety equipment but is otherwise very basic--manual wind-up windows are standard--but it does include air conditioning, a rear defroster and a 4-speaker CD sound system. Limited models make a huge jump and pile on the comforts like heated leather seats, cruise control, keyless entry, an auxiliary power outlet and an upgraded sound system--in addition to 4-wheel disc brakes and alloy wheels.
The Patriot has a wider range of options than is expected from a vehicle that starts at well under $20,000. A new and especially noteworthy option is the 'UConnect tunes' system, which includes a 30-gigabyte hard drive for storage of music and pictures; the system can read CDs, DVDs, or USB memory sticks. Another system called 'UConnect GPS,' optional only on the Limited, includes a hands-free phone interface and voice-activated commands, plus real-time traffic information for the navigation system.
Vehicle Price: 18,170.00
*Estimated payments are for informational purposes only and don't account for acquisition fees, destination charges, tax, title, and other fees and incentives or represent a financing offer or guarantee of credit from the seller.
Equipment that may affect values (standard equipment is pre-selected):
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