1 Aug 2007
JEEP’S car-based Patriot was aimed at customers stepping up from a small car or dropping down from a medium or large sedan, with rugged styling and relatively good on-road manners.
Similar to the sporty-styled Compass, but wearing a much more traditional Jeep skin to appeal to fans of the American brand who may have never actually bought one before.
The Patriot was the third model to use the GS platform that had already spawned the Dodge Caliber and Jeep Compass, and gave the American carmaker a sub-$30,000 starter.
Jeep positioned the Compass – which cost a little more – as its more road-biased sporty model, while the Patriot had a more rugged bush-bashing style ... ‘Cherokee Light’, if you like.
Without low-range gearing, adequate underbody protection or the type of ground clearance needed for real bush-bashing – and unlike most other Jeeps, including the rock-crawling Wrangler, it was incapable of conquering the gruelling Rubicon Trail.
Still, the Patriot offered constant 4WD (with a lock mode) and its body sat high enough for light off-road duties.
Like both the Compass and Caliber, the Patriot was available from launch with two engines – the Chrysler Group’s 2.4-litre petrol four-cylinder in five-speed manual or CVT automatic, and a Volkswagen-sourced 2.0-litre turbo-diesel with a six-speed manual gearobox.
At 4408mm long, 1785mm wide and 1667mm tall, the Patriot's dimensions put it right in the middle of the compact SUV pack.
The Patriot’s 2.4-litre petrol engine used variable valve timing to deliver 125kW and 220Nm of torque, while the 2.0-litre CRD turbo-diesel offered 103kW and 310Nm.
The front-wheel drive-biased 4WD system used an electronically controlled centre coupling to send up to 50 per cent of torque to the rear wheels when required.
When operating below 16km/h, the system would sends 50 per cent of torque to the rear axle for optimum low-speed traction and unlike many compact SUV rivals, the Patriot's 4WD system could be locked in 50/50 split for off-road work or other slippery conditions.
The Patriot also came standard with electronic stability control, traction control and anti-lock brakes. Driver and passenger front and side airbags were standard, while supplementary side head and thorax airbags are available as an option on Limited models.
Unlike its Cherokee big brother, the Patriot had multi-link independent rear suspension for better on-road handling. and like the Compass and Caliber, the Patriot used a traditional set-up of MacPherson struts for the front.
Ground clearance was 204mm and the (braked) towing capacity was a modest 1500kg. Jeep also resisted the temptation of fitting the Patriot with a space-saver spare wheel, instead including a full-size spare as standard equipment.
In October 2009, Jeep cut the number of Patriot versions from six to three, dropping the diesel and offering just the 2.4-litre petrol wit manual or CVT gearbox choices.
The Patriot's interior presentation, suspension, exhaust system and sound deadening were also improved.
May 2011 saw a minor cosmetic facelift, with exterior styling tweaks, more interior upgrades and features plus claimed improvements to its dynamics. A limited-edition 70th Anniversary variant was also offered.