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Avg. Price Paid:$6,325 - $9,348
Original MSRP: $14,550 - $21,555
MPG: 26 City / 30 Hwy
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2007 Jeep Patriot Performance

This performance review was written when the 2007 Jeep Patriot was new.

Reviewers generally feel the 2007 Jeep Patriot handles well on pavement and packs good -- though not great -- off-roading abilities. Though handling pleases most, many reviewers also point out performance criticisms, most notably regarding the somewhat underpowered 2.4-liter engine and a controversial Continuously Variable Transmission that some feel saps the engine's power.

Acceleration and Power

The 2007 Jeep Patriot comes standard with a 2.4-liter World Engine that puts out 172 horsepower and employs dual overhead cams and dual Variable Valve Timing (dVVT) on both intake and exhaust camshafts. According to the EPA, fuel economy estimates are 22 mpg in the city and 27 on the highway for 4WD five-speed manual-equipped models, and 21 city/25 highway for 2WD models with the CVT transmission. Of the 2.4-liter standard engine, A Car Place complains, "The engine choice is unfortunate ... The new 2.4-liter World Engine sounds buzzy when revved, like a cross between a gas-powered leafblower and a sewing machine; and to make any real power, it needs to be revved high." But Cars.com finds the 2.4-liter adequate, commenting, "Though it's not a rocket, the 2.4-liter Patriot is quick enough, and the handling proved exhilarating in the curvy mountain roads outside of Phoenix, both paved and compacted-dirt surfaces." Motor Trend sums up the consensus, noting, "It's not a bad engine, but not stellar."

A second engine option available exclusively on the Sport model is a 2.0-liter 158-horsepower World Engine with dVVT, which shaves $200 off the standard engine's price -- and should also increase fuel economy. Reviewers don't have much to say about this engine. The Washington Times concludes that it is "aimed strictly at fuel economy bragging rights," and Cars.com observes, "Its appeal is indeed narrow." The Detroit Free Press is relatively pleased, commenting that "The small engine and CVT give the Patriot good performance, with plenty of power for passing and fast highway drives. The engine sounds like it's working hard, however, with a droning note that's always audible."

While reviewers have varied opinions about the engine choices, they are even more divided about the Patriot's transmission options. A five-speed manual is standard, but a second-generation Continuously Variable Transaxle transmission (CVT2) or a CVT2L transaxle (just for Freedom Drive II models) is also available. The CVT transmissions don't include individual gear ratios, meaning the engine remains at a fairly constant speed under acceleration. The transmission maintains any speed changes continuously, resulting in what is intended to be a smooth ride for the driver, who feels no gear shifts. Cars.com loves the CVT transmission, commenting, "The technology in the Patriot and its sister models is one of the best I've driven; it reacts quicker than most and uses a conventional torque converter so it has a natural feel when accelerating from, or coming to, a stop."

But many reviewers don't see the high-tech transmission's merits. AutoWeek so disliked the transmission that "... we'd take a manual-equipped model despite not being able to get the Trail Rated package." Edmunds gripes, "The Patriot feels flat-footed as that transmission seems to sap power from the engine. With the manual gearbox, there's more thrust on tap, and it's delivered in a more linear and familiar fashion. With a 0-60-mph estimate of around 10 seconds for the 2.4-liter four with a CVT, the Patriot is a mid- to back-packer in the small SUV segment." And Motor Trend jokes that the CVT "saps [the engine's] off-the-line punch and sounds like a blender under heavy acceleration, especially when bouncing around an off-road course. Frozen daiquiri, anyone?"

Handling and Braking

Based on the same platform as the Jeep Compass and Dodge Caliber, the 2007 Patriot features MacPherson strut front suspension, independent multilink rear suspension, and rack-and-pinion steering. Reviewers are largely pleased with the Patriot's handling, both on- and off-road. Edmunds calls it "commendable," adding, "Although there is some body roll (as one would expect of an SUV) the Patriot feels confident in the corners and the ride is firm and controlled over the bumps." Autobytel says the Jeep "handled washboard dirt roads and rough pavement without bucking the steering wheel or disrupting the handling. The rack-and-pinion steering setup put some road feel into the driver's hands, and the level of responsiveness was better than what is often exhibited by four-wheel-drive vehicles."

Despite mostly glowing reports, reviewers have a few handling complaints. Car and Driver heavily criticizes the Patriot's steering, griping that it's "Novocain-numb, and we could turn the wheel several degrees off-center without any response." And Autobytel isn't thrilled about the suspension, which the reviewer says "wasn't all that impressive, but that's a result of this rig being built for highway duty first, off-road play second."

Off-Roading

The 2007 Patriot comes standard as a front-wheel-drive vehicle but also offers viable four-wheel-drive options. For light off-roading capability on either the Sport or Limited models, buyers can choose the Freedom Drive I package, which provides full-time four-wheel-drive with LOCK mode. This special setting can handle low-traction surfaces at speeds under 10 mph. The manufacturer reports that the Patriot is the most fuel efficient 4x4 in its class when equipped with Freedom Drive I.

For full trail-rated off-roading, buyers can choose the Freedom Drive II Off-Road Group package, a four-wheel-drive with a low range that Jeep touts as "best-in-class off-road capability." The 4x4 mode activates anti-lock brakes, traction control, and optimized engine and transmission calibration for rock crawling. Other features include hill descent control, one more inch of ground clearance, a heavy-duty cooling system, and 19-inch water-fording capability.

The majority of reviewers are thrilled with Freedom Drive II, which Kelley Blue Book calls one of its favorite features. "Where the Patriot really impressed us was out past the pavement, where our 'Trail Rated' model was able to traverse bona fide boulders with unexpected ease and composure," the reviewer says. Motor Trend notes that the package is a good value, commenting, "Getting FDII in the Patriot is a bit like having the folding picnic table in the previous generations of CR-V. You may never go off-roading or picnicking, but you've got something extra versus the competition for about the same amount of money."

But despite the good reviews, AutoWeek still cautions buyers about the Patriot's off-roading abilities. "We're not sure how many Patriot owners will buy the compact ute for its off-road prowess," the reviewers says. "No question, it has the street cred to go way beyond gathering groceries, unless your favorite market is somewhere along the Rubicon Trail." Edmunds also notes, "If you're really serious about going off-road in a small SUV, you'd be better suited by Jeep's own Wrangler or competitors like the Nissan Xterra and Toyota FJ Cruiser -- all of which are more capable on rough terrain."

Performance Options

2.4- or 2.0-liter Sport (FWD or 4x4)

The base Sport model comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder double overhead cam 16-valve dual variable valve timing engine (172 horsepower). For a $200 discount, consider the 2.0-liter four-cylinder DOHC 16-valve dual VVT engine (158 hp), which should increase fuel economy. Standard transmission is a five-speed manual. A Continuously Variable Transaxle II transmission is available as an option.

The Sport is also available as a four-wheel-drive, which increases the base cost. In this case, the only available engine is the 2.4-liter four-cylinder DOHC 16-valve dual variable valve timing engine (172 horsepower). Standard transmission is a five-speed manual. A Continuously Variable Transaxle II is available, as is an added off-road crawl ratio.

2.4-liter Limited (FWD or 4x4)

The next trim level up, the Limited, also comes with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder DOHC 16-valve dual variable valve timing engine (172 horsepower). Standard transmission is a five-speed manual, but a Continuously Variable Transaxle II transmission is available. Like the Sport, the Limited is also available in a 4x4 version, which comes with a new base price. The 2.4-liter engine is the same. Transmission options are also the same, but buyers can choose the transmission with an added off-road crawl ratio for an extra cost.

Review Last Updated: 5/2/08

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