2013 Jeep Patriot Performance
This performance review was written when the 2013 Jeep Patriot was new.
Reviewers say that the Patriot is underpowered, and that it lacks the composed handling you’ll find on many affordable compact SUVs. Although an available four-wheel drive system gives the 2013 Patriot off-road capability that most affordable crossovers can’t match, it’s also not as trail-ready as the most rugged off-road SUVs.
- "The Patriot can hold its own in modest off-roading when equipped with the Freedom Drive II package, but almost all drivers spend the vast majority of their time on public pavement, and there the Patriot is simply outclassed." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "Some road noise is always present. The engine sounds coarse and unrefined, and its ruckus never fully goes away." -- Consumer Guide (2012)
- "It's the Patriot's highway personality that has been the obstacle that has kept this Dodge Caliber-based crossover from getting much respect. The combination of a small four-cylinder engine and a CVT makes for great fuel economy but relatively unimpressive performance - an issue that plagues many compact crossovers, not just the Patriot." -- Edmunds (2012)
Acceleration and Power
The front-wheel drive Patriot comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 158 horsepower. A 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 172 horsepower is standard on models with all- or four-wheel drive, and all Limited models. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is optional. The EPA reports that the front-wheel drive Patriot gets up to 23/30 mpg city/highway, which is competitive with rivals like the Honda CR-V and Chevrolet Equinox. However, models equipped with four-wheel drive get significantly lower 20/23 mpg city/highway fuel economy.
Most reviewers say that regardless of which engine you choose, the 2013 Patriot accelerates slowly on the highway, and it’s far from sprightly off the line. Still, one test driver says that the Patriot’s CVT did a decent job of putting the Patriot’s power to the pavement, while another comments that the five-speed manual should be the transmission of choice if you plan to take the Patriot off-road.
- "Neither of the 4-cylinder engines feels very strong, and the CVT transmission does more for fuel economy than it does for performance." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "For passing and merging, Patriots with the CVT are comparable to rival small SUVs with a 4-cylinder engine and automatic transmission. They're slow to get going from a stop." -- Consumer Guide (2012)
- "Of the 2012 Jeep Patriot's two available engines, even the larger 2.4-liter is underwhelming when it comes to highway power, but the availability of a five-speed manual transmission makes this vehicle very capable for off-road adventure." -- Edmunds (2012)
- "But the power from the 2.4-liter four is certainly adequate for a vehicle this size, and the CVT did a decent job on-road." -- Motor Trend (2011)
Handling and Braking
One test driver says that the Patriot has precise steering and confidence-inspiring brakes, but the bulk of reviewers agree that many small crossovers offer a more comfortable highway ride and better handling. If you need better traction, the Patriot is available with Jeep’s Freedom Drive I all-wheel drive system or Freedom Drive II, which adds four-wheel drive capability and low-range gearing.
- "Highway ride and handling are okay, as long as you don't compare the Patriot to a more refined small SUV - of which there are plenty." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "Accurate, natural-feeling steering. Composure is good at highway speed with moderate body lean in corners. Brakes have a reassuring pedal feel." -- Consumer Guide (2012)
- "At the same time, this dimension of off-road capability also has consequences in the calibration of the suspension, so the comfort quotient in the fast lane on the freeway might not be what you expect." -- Edmunds (2012)
While the 2013 Patriot is available in three drivetrain configurations, reviewers agree that only models with Freedom Drive II are truly trail-worthy. Freedom Drive II includes low-range gearing to improve the Patriot’s off-road abilities, as well as all-terrain tires, skid plates, tow hooks and a full-size spare tire. While Freedom Drive II should appeal to shoppers who veer off the beaten path, off-road SUVs like the Jeep Wrangler are more capable on a muddy trail.
- "Since the available Freedom Drive I all-wheel-drive system is really only meant to provide added peace of mind when roads turn slippery, it's the Freedom Drive II system you'll want if you expect to be spending much time in the dirt." -- Edmunds (2012)
- "In more technical parts of the trails we drove, the small size of this Jeep made it easier to maneuver through and around the trees that lined the trail. And going through mud, over rutted-out sections, and over rocks, the Patriot got through obstacles -- on the first try -- that would've stopped other crossovers." -- Motor Trend (2011)