KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors
Based on the same platform, the 2008 Jeep Patriot and Compass have similar measurements, similar price ranges and offer almost identical sets of comfort and convenience features. So why would Jeep produce such similar vehicles? Well, the Compass is intended as an asphalt-tuned ride for city slickers, while the Patriot adheres more closely to traditional Jeep principles. Indeed, the Patriot's more rugged suspension and powertrain options deliver enough off-road performance for it to earn Jeep's "Trail Rated" badges.
You'll Like This Car If...
Whether you're looking for a daily driver with a rugged streak or a nimble off-roader that you can comfortably take to work, there's a Jeep Patriot model for you.
You May Not Like This Car If...
Especially compared to the vehicles with which the higher-priced Patriot models compete, the Jeep falls short in overall interior refinement.
What's Significant About This Car?
Air conditioning is now standard on all models, while the CVT2 transmission is outfitted with Jeep's Auto Stick that allows "manual shifting."
With the increased off-road capability engineered into it, we might have expected the Patriot's highway ride to be rougher than those of its Compass and Dodge Caliber relatives. As it turns out, the Patriot might be the most comfortable cruiser of the three. The compromise seems to have been made in the cornering department; wisely, where we wouldn't expect or require much from a Jeep anyway. Where the Patriot really impressed us was out past the pavement, where our "Trail Rated" model was able to traverse bona fide boulders with unexpected ease and composure. As with all such devices, the unique behavior of the Patriot's two available continuously variable transmissions can take some getting used to.
Freedom Drive II (Trail Rated) Package
"Trail Rated" Patriot models include a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with low range and 19:1 crawl ratio, skid plates, tow hooks, hill descent control, heavy-duty cooling system, nine-inch ground clearance and 19-inch water fording capability.
As part of the 458-watt Boston Acoustics premium audio system, the Patriot's rearmost speakers flip down from the open liftgate to project outward. Outdoorsy Jeep types will find it an especially alluring option.
If you've spent time in most any Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep vehicle lately, the design and materials that define the Patriot's passenger cabin will likely feel familiar. It's not an unattractive environment in which to spend a commute, but it's among the least interesting interiors in the category. Some of the standard and optional features that count as bright spots include comfortable seats, a fold-flat front passenger's seat, 115-volt power outlet, auxiliary audio input, outward-projecting rear speakers and a removable and washable vinyl cargo floor.
Whereas the Compass picks up some of the softer styling of the Jeep Liberty, the Patriot's decidedly squarer lines and boxier stance evoke the purpose-built style of the now-defunct Cherokee and, to a lesser degree, its Grand Cherokee successor. Limited models are distinguished by bright inserts front and rear, bright roof rails, fog lamps, body-color side moldings and 17-inch aluminum wheels.
Notable Standard Equipment
A base Jeep Patriot Sport comes equipped with cloth seats, a four-speaker AM/FM/CD-MP3 sound system with auxiliary audio input, 16-inch styled steel wheels, air conditioning and a collection of standard safety equipment that includes front and side-curtain airbags, electronic stability and traction controls with rollover mitigation and four-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS) with brake assist.
Notable Optional Equipment
The Patriot's optional equipment list includes power windows/locks/mirrors, remote keyless entry, sun roof, stain-resistant cloth seats, leather seats, heated seats, 458-watt premium sound system, six-disc CD changer, Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), all-wheel drive, navigation radio, SIRIUS Satellite Radio and Bluetooth(r) hands-free phone connectivity.
Under the Hood
The Patriot's powertrain lineup consists of 2.0- and 2.4-liter four-cylinder engines, two- and four-wheel drive systems, plus a five-speed manual and two continuously variable transmissions (one with a low range). The larger, more powerful engine is actually the standard powerplant, and the smaller edition is available only on 2WD Sport models equipped with the CVT, while the "Trail Rated" moniker is available only on four-wheel-drive Limited models with the CVT. The Patriot's maximum towing capacity is 2,000 pounds.
2.0-liter in-line 4
158 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
141 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/27 (automatic only)
2.4-liter in-line 4
172-horsepower @ 6000 rpm
165 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/28 (2WD, manual), 21/25 (2WD, automatic), 22/27 (4WD, manual), 20/24 (4WD, automatic), 19/21 (4WD, automatic, off-road package)
The 2008 Jeep Patriot's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts around $16,000 and can climb to more than $27,000 when fully equipped. To make your best deal, be sure to check our Fair Purchase Prices, which reflect real-world transaction prices being paid in your area. Alternatives to the lower-priced Patriot Sport include the Kia Sportage and Jeep's own Compass. Competitors for the better-equipped Patriot Limited include the now-tougher-looking Ford Escape and the capable Suzuki Grand Vitara. We expect the Patriot to maintain a similar resale value to its Compass stablemate, marginally better than Sportage and Escape and notably better than the Grand Vitara.