2011 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. While it can’t keep up with compact crossovers when it comes to on-pavement comfort and handling, it’s one of the more comfortable off-road SUVs for every day driving.
- "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
- "While it isn't particularly fun to drive on-road, this Jeep offers good ride quality and competitive dynamics that are miles ahead of the Wrangler and the Cherokee before it." -- Automobile Magazine
- "Overall, the Patriot behaves and handles more like a car, but it does have a bit of truck-like sound. Telltale noises, slight but reminiscent of older Chrysler products, signal that insulation could be better. There's definite stiffness to the suspension, which helps a Patriot react immediately (if curtly) to bumps, while maintaining control." -- AutoMedia
Acceleration and Power
The Patriot comes with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 172 horsepower, while a 2.0-liter engine available on two-wheel-drive models makes 158 horsepower. Reviewers find both engines sluggish in highway driving. The Toyota RAV4's engines make 179 and 269 horsepower, making them much more suitable for highway merging. However, its 22/28 mpg fuel economy isn't as high as the Patriot's -- and it costs about $4,000 more.
A five-speed manual transmission is standard on the Patriot, and reviewers highly recommend it over the optional continuously variable transmission (which costs about $1,000). Fuel economy is a plus and surpasses most competitors, including the RAV4. According to the EPA, the 2WD Patriot with the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine achieves 23/28 mpg city/highway with the manual transmission and 21/27 with the automatic.
- "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
- "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
- "The  Jeep Patriot's 2.4-liter engine boasts a respectable 172 hp, but it still feels rather lethargic when you put your foot in it. Much of the blame here goes to the CVT, which takes its sweet time responding to significant throttle inputs. Moreover, once it figures out that you want maximum power, it holds the engine speed at redline, which sounds unpleasant enough that you'll think twice about flooring it in the future. Not surprisingly, the smaller 2.0-liter engine is even less gratifying." -- Edmunds
Handling and Braking
Based on the same platform as the Jeep Compass and Dodge Caliber, the Patriot handles reasonably well on the road, although reviewers say it doesn't measure up to its competitors.
- "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
The 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. With the reviewer-recommended Freedom Drive II, test drivers say the Patriot can compete with the best off-road vehicles. Plus, it sells for a sub-$20K price that's thousands less than top rivals such as the Toyota 4Runner.
- "If you're serious, skip the Freedom Drive I four-wheel-drive setup with its lockable active full-time system for winter-weather use -- it's little different from what you'll find in off-road pretenders like the Nissan Rogue. Step up to the Freedom Drive II Off-Road package, however, and you'll get an elevated ride height and low-range gearing, which actually do some justice to the 'Jeep' name on the grille." -- Edmunds
- "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