KBB Editors' Overview
By Matt Degen
- Updated Date: 9/10/2014
The 2015 Patriot is the least expensive new SUV you can buy, and it's a Jeep to boot. That's the good news. Other aspects of this inexpensive 5-passenger Jeep are not so bright. It is aging, rather unrefined and not all that fuel-efficient compared to fresher crossover SUVs such as the Subaru Forester and Mazda CX-5. And while its starting price is tempting, be advised that a base 2015 Patriot wearing that sub-$18,000 tag lacks air conditioning, adjustable driver's-seat height and even power windows and power door locks. To get those features you'll have to pay extra, which diminishes the Patriot's value proposition. If there's any redemption, it's that a properly equipped Patriot with 4-wheel drive (4WD) offers decent off-road ability.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you don't have a lot of money to spend but want to say you drive a new Jeep, the Patriot could be your entry to the brand. Drivers requiring enhanced traction for foul weather or Jeep's Trail-Rated off-road ability can choose between two 4-wheel-drive (4WD) systems for the Patriot.
You May Not Like This Car If...
Jeep's compact SUV lacks the refinement and freshness of just about every rival, not to mention its newly reinvented older brother, the Jeep Cherokee, and its forthcoming little brother, the Renegade. And while it wears the Jeep name, the Patriot is based on front-wheel-drive architecture and isn't made to hop boulders like a Wrangler.
What's New for 2015
The Jeep Patriot trudges on for 2015 with a new paint color (Eco Green Clear Coat) that replaces Rugged Brown and with Garmin Navigation now available on the Latitude model. The formerly available cargo-area lamp that doubled as a removable flashlight has been replaced by a dome light.
Jeeps have long been regarded more for their off-road capability than on-road comfort. Most models of the Patriot, though, don't stand out in either setting. 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. 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. 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. 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.
FREEDOM DRIVE I
For those facing seasonal road conditions, Freedom Drive I provides a full-time 4-wheel-drive system designed to give year-round peace of mind. You won't be tackling the Rubicon Trail with Freedom Drive I, but you could tow your ATV to where the trail starts.
FREEDOM DRIVE II OFF-ROAD PACKAGE
For those preferring the road less traveled – or no road at all – Jeep offers the optional Freedom Drive II Off-Road Package. It includes a 2nd-generation CVT transaxle with low range, 17-inch all-terrain tires and an abundance of skidplates, tow hooks and fog lights.
For vehicle details and pricing notes…