After years on the market without major changes, the 2017 Jeep Patriot can’t claim leadership in fuel efficiency or safety features. It has some decent entertainment features, if you can afford the upgrades.
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Jeep makes sure it has one major asset that puts it first in certain ratings: price. As the lowest priced SUV on the market, the Patriot always attracts buyers. By extension, it is also the lowest priced available 4×4 SUV and the lowest priced available off-roader.
While you’d think the least expensive Jeep would be the smallest in the lineup, it isn’t. The Renegade is smaller. Furthermore, while the Patriot is the least expensive SUV on the market, it is bigger than some rivals. Here’s a quick comparison:
- Jeep Patriot: 104 cu.ft. passenger volume
- Jeep Renegade: 101 cu.ft.
- Kia Sportage: 100 cu.ft.
- Toyota RAV4: 101 cu.ft.
When it comes to quality, the Patriot is only as good as its pricetag implies. There aren’t many extras, unless you count Jeep’s illuminated cupholders which are standard across the lineup. Backseat passengers will appreciate dedicated HVAC vents. The steering wheel, which is tilt-adjustable only, does have duplicate controls for the car’s audio system.
The Latitude has keyless entry and reclining rear seatbacks. Front seats add power-heat cushioning. You can upgrade to leather, including a black and ivory combination.
The cargo hold is generous at 23 cu.ft., although it lags behind higher priced SUVs. It expands to 64 cu.ft. when the split-fold rear seats are down. Roof rails are standard, and the Latitude adds adjustable roof-rack crossbars. A flip-up rear window makes owners happy, since you can access the hold without opening the hatchback. A power-up/down feature is not available for the hatch.
Jeep loves special editions, and the Patriot has a few. The 75th Anniversary edition recasts the wheels and accents in a handsome bronze. A sporty mesh upholstery and a sunroof dress up the interior. The High Altitude, which builds on the Limited, adds chrome to the exterior. Cabin extras include leather upholstery and a driver’s power seat. You won’t find a power passenger seat or ventilated seats on the menu.
The Patriot has bragging rights for its one-year free subscription to Sirius XM. As a Jeep, the Patriot offers flip-down tailgate speakers. This upgrade is fun for those who regularly enjoy camping, picnicking, or tailgating. It’s part of a Boston Acoustic 368-watt system with nine speakers.
On the Sport, you’ll find Bluetooth phone and audio streaming. Equipment is limited to a CD player, USB port, and an auxiliary jack. Higher editions let you add a 6.5-inch touchscreen, a smaller version of the critically-acclaimed UConnect system. Of course, shoppers can add navigation and a rearview camera.
Performance and Fuel Efficiency
When it comes to gas mileage, the Patriot isn’t the more efficient choice on the market. While it earns only 21 mpg city/28 mpg highway, the Patriot’s two-liter unit generates only 158 horsepower, similar to other small SUVs.
This engine comes with a standard manual transmission or an available six-speed. For the price of many of its rivals, the Patriot lets you step up to the 2.4-liter engine and a continuously variable transmission. This combination generates 172 horsepower, making this SUV much more drivable. More competitive, it can earn 30 mpg in highway driving.
You probably don’t want to haul with this small SUV, but you can with the trailer tow prep package. Tow ratings are either 1,000 or 2,000 pounds, depending on your engine choice. It has a touring suspension to keep things smoother and firm feel power steering to give the driver confidence. Here’s a quick comparison of fuel efficiency and performance features:
- Jeep Patriot: 21/28 mpg; 158 horsepower or 25/30 mpg/172 horsepower
- Jeep Renegade: 27/30 mpg; 160 horsepower
- Toyota Rav4: 23/30; 176 horsepower
- Kia Sportage: 26/30 mpg; 181 horsepower
- Nissan Rogue: 26/33 mpg; 170 horsepower
Before you get too excited about the Patriot’s off-roading potential, it’s important to remember that this Jeep doesn’t come close to its siblings the Wrangler, Renegade or even Cherokee. Jeep does due diligence by adding more ground clearance and a water-sealed underbody when you spring for the most off-road ready model. A more advanced four-wheel drive system includes a low-range drive mode and a specially tuned transmission. Hill start assist and hill descent control are also part of the 4×4’s performance features. Still, if you value your purchase, you’ll use caution when tackling trails.
The Patriot has a four-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That puts it in the minority of SUVs that still can’t seem to score a five. Other four-star earners include the Nissan Rogue and the Jeep Renegade. The Kia Sportage, Toyota RAV4 and many others do have five stars.
Of course, the Patriot has six airbags and other vital protections. Jeep’s Brake Assist supplies more stopping power for panicked braking. Foglights are standard across the lineup. Higher editions or packages add automatic headlights, speed-sensitive power door locks, and power-heated side mirrors.
The Patriot is decidedly lacking when it comes to more modern safety features. You can get a rearview camera, but you won’t get a lane watch or a forward collision warning, much less an active lane assist or automatic braking.
Pricing and Value
Even if it is inexpensive, it’s hard to call the Patriot cheap. It has won a number of awards that seem to speak to its value. Pitting it against all SUVs, some 567 vehicles, the Automotive Science Group honored the Patriot with its Best Economic Performance SUV of the Year. It also gave it a Best 5 All-Around Performance Award.
When it comes to low operating costs, the Jeep holds a Kelley Blue Book award for best 5-Year Cost to Own. Insure.com, a research group, found that the Patriot is one of the ten least expensive vehicles to insure. There’s always a catch, and, in this case, the Patriot’s low price is tied to a standard manual transmission. If you don’t want a manual, you probably want to step up to the better engine with a continuously variable transmission and improved gas mileage. Here’s a quick snapshot of MSRP:
- Base Edition with Manual Transmission: $17,695
- 6-speed Automatic: $1,350 additional cost
- Base Edition 4×4 Drivetrain: $19,695
- Sport SE: $20,040
- Sport SE 4×4: $22,140
If you are looking for a good deal, you may find it in the Patriot. Just remember to price-check your Patriot engine choice against SUVs with the same or better features.