Adventuring Made Easy: 2017 Jeep Patriot

The Jeep brand is part of American history, its name forged during World War II as the method of transport for so many U.S. soldiers. In the years since, Jeep grew into an automotive brand synonymous with both the American spirit and adventure. Although Jeep itself is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, the Patriot debuted only recently in 2007 – and the model has yet to see a redesign. Lauded as a budget-friendly SUV for drivers who seek both four-wheeling adventures and local commutes, the Patriot has long been a popular choice for new drivers and first-time car owners.

In 2017, fans will meet the newest model year of the popular Jeep Patriot. One of the most affordable off-road and small-sized SUVs available in the market, the Patriot is also the cheapest model offered by Jeep. Little has changed since the Patriot’s debut, and 2017 is expected to be the Patriot’s last year. It’s speculated that, after hearing rumors of a 2017 redesign that failed to materialize, a Patriot replacement will arrive in 2018. Unfortunately, this means that the 2017 model year brings the very same Patriot we’re already well acquainted with. The Jeep Patriot is virtually unchanged, lacking any noticeable updates in its final year.

Which Patriot Model is Right for You?

Fortunately for Jeep fans seeking a new ride, the Patriot is the most affordable vehicle in the brand’s lineup. With a base MSRP of $18,000, it’s a smart choice for drivers with a budget who want to enjoy the adventurous Jeep lifestyle. The Sport front-wheel drive base model comes with few luxurious comforts, though, and its interior is quite sparse. Inside this Patriot model, you’ll find hand-crank windows, manual locks, and no air conditioning. The Sport does feature a 5-speed manual transmission, cruise control, and an audio system with auxiliary input.

Want to upgrade your Patriot’s features? You can choose to add the Freedom Drive package to any Patriot model, which comes with a few comfort-enhancing additions. Add the Freedom Drive to the Sport, and you’ll be upgraded to air conditioning and power windows for a total MSRP of $21,350. Or you can choose to add the SE package featuring heated seats and 17-inch wheels, which bumps the Sport MSRP to $21,000.

Lastly, to celebrate this anniversary year of the Patriot, drivers can opt for a special 75th Anniversary package for an additional $1,430. Also known as the 2GK Quick Order package at dealerships, this celebratory package adds a Recon Green and Bronze paint job, a power sunroof, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote start, and bronze 17-inch wheels.

For the ultimate level of comfort and tech-friendly updates, the Patriot Latitude is the right model. Priced higher at an MSRP of $23,300, the Latitude includes all the basics left out of the Sport: air conditioning and power windows and locks. Yet the Latitude offers more bang for your buck, too, with included power outlets, infotainment and navigation systems, keyless entry, and automatic headlights. Get your Patriot Latitude fully loaded with the High Altitude package and 4×4 option, and you can expect to pay upwards of $30,000. This option does, however, get you a leather interior, power seats, and a rearview camera.

Features

For such an affordable option, the Jeep Patriot doesn’t offer drivers much in the way of comfort. The base Sport model is stripped down, leaving little more than hard plastic interior surfaces, cloth seats, and simple features. However, the Latitude is almost an entirely different vehicle inside – with leather seats, a touch screen command center, and even a WiFi hotspot, this model is loaded compared to the base trim.

The issue with the Patriot is that, while it’s a steal at its base price, features that are standard in its competitors’ SUVs cost quite a bit. Keyless entry, navigation, and a rear camera all require the purchase of a costly package. Even with these additions, experts claim the infotainment and audio systems are antiquated and second-rate.

The Patriot is a five-seater, featuring a backseat row for three passengers that leaves 23 cubic feet of “trunk” or cargo space. The rear seats do fold flat so drivers can transport extra cargo, expanding the car’s useable space to 53.5 cubic feet. A helpful space-saving feature is the front passenger seat, which also folds flat. Drivers get a little more space out of this small SUV thanks to all the seat folding options.

Competition

SUVs have only continued to grow in popularity over the years, and with ever increasing numbers of compact SUVs hitting the road, the 2017 Jeep Patriot faces stiff competition. As an aging model on its way out of the Jeep lineup, the Patriot can’t quite measure up to similar makes.

The Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V, and Hyundai Tucson are all more highly rated, excelling well beyond the Patriot with increased engine power, better and smoother handling, and more advanced standard features. Furthermore, the 2017 Patriot falls behind its competition in safety and reliability. All three of its main competitors, including the highly-ranked Mazda CX-5, are considered some of the safest compact SUVs on the road.

The one area in which the Patriot does surpass its competitors is price. It’s the cheapest and lowest priced compact SUV on the market – and the reason the Patriot is so affordable is its lack of special features. Drivers who need to prioritize their budget over all else will find the Patriot to be an excellent choice. However, experts do recommend a quality used SUV above this compact Jeep model because of its lack of power and stripped-down base model.

Fuel Efficiency

With its reputation as a budget-friendly SUV, it would make sense that the 2017 Patriot also considers its customers’ gas budgets. Unfortunately, Patriot drivers aren’t going to be scoring any savings at the gas station. The 2017 Patriot is as fuel efficient as a large SUV, defying its compact nature and sucking gasoline at a surprising rate. On average, the Patriot achieves 22 miles per gallon – a number that more powerful SUVs and crossovers can beat.

There are two engines and two drive options: a 2 or 2.4-liter engine, and either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The most common combination promoted by Jeep is a 2.4-liter engine, all-wheel drive, and an automatic transmission. Unfortunately, this results in a fuel efficiency of 20 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined.

The most fuel-efficient combination is the 2-liter engine, paired with front-wheel drive and a manual transmission. This will get you a slightly improved 23 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway, and 25 mpg combined.

The Patriot’s poor fuel efficiency doesn’t come with a speedy engine. The base 2-liter, four-cylinder engine is capable of producing 158 horsepower. With a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine, the Patriot can reach 172 horsepower. However, in drive tests, the Patriot took over 10 seconds to reach 60 mph – a worse number than the Honda HR-V and other similar models.

Pros

  • Drivers can more than double their cargo space with an entire row of fold-flat seats and a collapsible front passenger seat
  • Adding upgraded packages brings useful and tech-friendly features like a WiFi hotspot, infotainment system, and rear camera
  • Incredibly affordable at its base model, and one of the lowest-priced compact SUVs even with add-on packages

Cons

  • Fuel efficiency is lacking, as the Patriot’s engines are sluggish and slow to respond
  • Very few features are included in the base Sport model; with no air conditioning and no power locks or windows, drivers will be left wanting a lot more
  • The Patriot falls behind its competitors in safety, receiving a “Poor” rating for front and head-on crashes