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Jeep Patriot Performance

The 2015 Jeep Patriot’s standard and optional four-cylinder engines are weak and deliver sluggish acceleration, automotive journalists report. They are also unimpressed with the Patriot’s handling, saying it feels unstable when cornering and has a harsh ride over rough pavement.

  • "On the asphalt where most Patriots will roam, Jeep's least expensive SUV is simply outclassed by newer rivals that offer better performance, handling and ride quality." -- 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 base 2015 Jeep Patriot has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 158 horsepower, which is mated to a five-speed manual transmission. A 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 172 horsepower and a six-speed automatic transmission are optional. Four-wheel drive models can be equipped with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The EPA estimates that the base Jeep Patriot gets up to 23/30 mpg city/highway, which is about average for the class. Models equipped with an available six-speed automatic earn 21/28 mpg city/highway.

Reviewers say both of the Patriot’s engines feel underpowered and give the SUV sluggish acceleration. Both engines are also noisy and unrefined, critics add. Of the three available transmissions, reviewers say the six-speed automatic offers the best performance while the CVT doesn’t make the best use of the engine’s available power.

  • "Neither of the Patriot's 4-cylinder engines feels very strong, and the CVT transmission does more for fuel economy than it does for performance, although the 6-speed automatic helps improve the latter." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Nor is either engine refined, with the smaller one particularly troubled by the dreaded NVH trio (noise, vibration and harshness). The six-speed automatic, introduced last year, is the Patriot's saving grace in the powertrain department, lifting the 2.4-liter engine's performance to class-competitive levels despite frequent and sometimes slow shifts. The 2.0-liter/CVT tandem in the Altitude and High Altitude is the antithesis of a saving grace." -- Edmunds
  • "On the road, neither engine accelerates well, and both are rather crude and loud. The new 6-speed automatic is more satisfying than the CVT, but it can only do so much." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • "Among small SUVs with 4-cylinder engines and automatic transmissions, Patriots with the CVT are about average for passing and merging power. Off-the-line acceleration is lacking." -- Consumer Guide (2014)

Handling and Braking

Critics find the 2015 Patriot’s handling disappointing, stating that it feels imbalanced when cornering. Some reviewers also would like more communicative steering, while others comment that the ride is uneasy over bumpy roads.

  • "Ride quality is similarly unimpressive, as the Patriot's suspension struggles with broken pavement, making for a jittery drive over urban streets. Handling is adequate under normal circumstances, aided by the Patriot's compact footprint, but you'll notice plenty of excessive body roll if you enter a corner with any kind of speed." -- Edmunds
  • "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
  • "While the Patriot delivers a fairly smooth ride, its steering is vague, with lots of play in the wheel and slow response time." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • "Patriot delivers a compliant and stable ride. Large dips in the road surface induce some float from the suspension and highway expansion joints produce jiggling in the body." -- Consumer Guide (2014)

Off Roading

The 2015 Patriot comes standard with front-wheel drive, while Jeep's Freedom Drive I and Freedom Drive II four-wheel drive systems are optional. Freedom Drive II adds an off-road mode with low-range gearing, hill descent control, skid plates and tow hooks. Test drivers agree that, of the two systems, Freedom Drive II is the only worthwhile option for decent off-road performance.

  • "While it's true you can get a Patriot that is Trail-Rated to get through mud, snow and up to 19 inches of water, one must option up to the Freedom Drive II package in order to do so." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "An available Freedom-Drive II Group further prepares the crossover for off-road duty with low range gearing for its noisy and crude CVT (the only gearbox available with the package), 17-inch all-terrain tires on aluminum rims, a one-inch raised ride height and skid plates that protect the transmission and oil pan from undercarriage-ravaging rocks. Even with those extras, owners should not expect the Patriot to be a billy goat in the rough stuff." -- Left Lane News
  • "As for the off-road experience, the Freedom Drive II setup does move the Patriot significantly beyond Freedom Drive I's conventional all-wheel drive -- but as noted, it's also slow and thirsty." -- Edmunds
Review Last Updated: 8/21/15

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