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#20

in 2009 Affordable Compact SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $9,688 - $13,423
Original MSRP: $17,540 - $23,980
MPG: 23 City / 28 Hwy
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2009 Jeep Patriot Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The Jeep Patriot performs admirably off-road and on the highway. Though its pavement ride can't match that of competitors, performance tweaks for 2009 may help.

  • "Steps lightly and steers lively like a car, but road noise is a killjoy, and the Patriot, despite its name, isn't very quick to the hunt." -- Car and Driver

Acceleration and Power

The Patriot comes with a 2.4-liter engine that puts out 172 horsepower. A second engine option available exclusively on the Sport model is a 2.0-liter 158-horsepower engine. This year, there's also an optional 2.4-liter PZEV four-cylinder engine that improves fuel economy. Indeed, the Patriot's efficiency is a plus, but its optional automatic transmission is universally criticized. According to the EPA, the 2WD Patriot with a manual transmission achieves 23/28 mpg city/highway. The least efficient model, the 4WD with the automatic transmission, achieves 20/22 mpg.

  • "Patriot is most spry with the manual transmission, though none are really quick. Adequate pull from a stop with either transmission, though models with the CVT struggle in passing and merging." -- Consumer Guide
  • "As a compact SUV, its 23/28 fuel economy impresses owners and critics. An optional 158-hp 2.0-liter inline-four improves fuel economy slightly with its variable valve timing." -- Car Gurus
  • "We don't have a knee-jerk love of manual transmissions, but in the case of the Patriot, the optional Continuously Variable Transaxle, or CVT, is just too odd. It's all in the programming, says Jeep. The same CVT is used in the Jeep Compass, and it's terrific. The difference is that in the Compass (and Dodge Caliber) it has autostick, so you can manually shift the CVT." -- New Car Test Drive

Handling and Braking

Based on the same platform as the Jeep Compass and Dodge Caliber, the 2009 Patriot features MacPherson strut front suspension, independent multilink rear suspension and rack-and-pinion steering. Reviewers are largely pleased with the Patriot's handling, though there are a few steering complaints.

  • "Accurate, natural-feeling steering. Composure is good at highway speed with moderate body lean in corners. Brakes have a reassuring pedal feel." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The independent suspension is as good as the engine, delivering steadiness and comfort in every abusive situation we could find for it, during a long day of driving on every surface from patchy two-lanes, to hard-packed dirt roads, to sandy off-road trails, to shallow rivers, to deep gullies." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "The suspension felt a little sportier and less like a floating boat. I felt very comfortable and, to be frank, I really liked this little guy." -- Truck Trend

Four-Wheel Drive

The 2009 Jeep Patriot comes standard as a front-wheel drive vehicle, but also offers viable four-wheel drive options: the Freedom Drive I package and Freedom Drive II Off-Road Group package.

  • "It's not Rubicon-ready, but the Patriot is actually pretty good off-road, which is all it needs to be." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Our test drive on unimproved roads around Phoenix proved the Patriot could handle steep upgrades with little effort. But it does share its platform with the Dodge Caliber crossover, so the Patriot's not really as rugged as, say, a Wrangler." -- Popular Mechanics

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