By Matt Degen
KBB Expert Rating: 5.2
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.
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.
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.
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 The formerly available cargo-area lamp that doubled as a removable flashlight has been replaced by a dome light.
Driving Impressions 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.
The 2015 Jeep Patriot features a 2-row, 5-passenger interior. Depending on trim level and options, it ranges from simple and utilitarian with hard plastic surfaces to nicely equipped with leather seats and a 6.5-inch touch-screen navigation and entertainment system. In base models you'll have to pay extra for a driver's seat that adjusts for height, and no Patriot model comes with a steering wheel that telescopes, making it more difficult to find a perfect driving position. The rear seats do fold nearly flat for extra cargo capacity, and in all but the base model also recline.Exterior
Few will mistake the Patriot with its 4-door Wrangler Unlimited sibling, but at least the family resemblance is there. Like its beefier brother, the Patriot has a boxy shape, Jeep's traditional front grille with seven vertical slots and signature round headlights. Standard roof rails add to the Patriot's presence and practicality. For added toughness, skidplates and tow hooks come on models equipped with the Freedom Drive II off-road package.
As we've noted, the Patriot's base price in Sport trim is tempting, but it buys only a budget vehicle in the strictest sense. You'll have to crank your own windows, lock the doors manually and even forgo air conditioning. What you will get is a 5-speed manual transmission, cruise control and 4-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with auxiliary input. A better bet is to step up to the Latitude model, which includes the basic creature comforts omitted in the Sport trim, plus heated front seats, power outlet and keyless entry. Top-line Limited models add leather-trimmed seats, automatic climate control, power driver's seat, a larger engine and upgraded audio system.
Both Freedom Drive 4WD systems are available on all three grades of the Jeep Patriot, while other options vary by trim. If you want to spend the least but save your arms, you can get power windows and other creature comforts like air conditioning and Bluetooth phone connectivity on base Sport models. Latitude and Limited models can get infotainment and navigation systems with a 6.5-inch touch screen, while the top-line model can also be had with a Boston Acoustics premium sound system that has nine speakers – including two that flip down from the tailgate. Unlike competitors, the Patriot does not offer a rearview camera.
The 2015 Jeep Patriot is available with a choice of two 4-cylinder engines and a trio of transmissions. Front-wheel-drive (FWD) versions of the Sport and Latitude models use the smaller 2.0-liter engine, while top-line Limited trims and all 4WD models use the larger 2.4-liter. The automatic transmission offerings are a 6-speed or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Four-wheel-drive models with the Freedom Drive II off-road system use the CVT that has a 19:1 crawl ratio for slowly navigating touchy off-road conditions. Owners needing to tow can opt for a prep package by Mopar that includes a Class II hitch to pull up to 2,000 pounds. The Patriot isn't all that fuel-efficient – especially with the Freedom Drive II package – but at least it uses regular unleaded gasoline.
158 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
141 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/30 mpg (FWD, manual), 21/28 mpg (FWD, automatic), 22/27 mpg (CVT)
172 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
165 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/28 mpg (FWD, manual), 21/28 mpg (FWD, automatic), 23/28 mpg (4WD, manual), 21/27 mpg (4WD, automatic), 20/23 mpg (4WD, CVT w/Off-Road package)
The 2015 Jeep Patriot has an alluring Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting under $17,500. That makes the Patriot the least expensive new SUV, but you'll have to compromise on creature comforts such as power windows and air conditioning. Better-equipped versions run in the $20,000 range, and a top-line Limited with options can top $31,000. At these prices, most models of the Patriot still undercut the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape and Subaru Forester, but all of those rivals are newer and generally more appealing. Still, there's no denying that the Patriot is an inexpensive SUV to buy and own, and it's just coming off a win for the Kelley Blue Book 5-Year Cost to Own Award in the Compact SUV/Crossover category. Be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Jeep Patriot. Long-term residual value is another aspect in which the 2015 Patriot lags competitors.
By Joy on Monday, March 23, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Turning radius! Looks, comfort, gas mileage"
Cons: "The pressure when windows are open"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I love my Jeep!! there is only one draw back on this vehicle. That is when you roll the windows down, especially the back windows, it creates like a pulsating pressure in the ears, so I am unable to drive with all the windows down. I've had this Jeep for 17 months and am thrilled with it!"
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By RSP on Friday, March 20, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 56,900overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "great in snow"
Cons: "poorly built poor gas mileage ."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Got this car new with in 3 months we had to have new ball joints replaced. The first in inspection the car failed for inner tie rods. 6 months later right ball joint was bad. 2nd year later inspection the car fail for a bad ball joint on left side and the wire harness for the tail gate was bad and we had no lights for lic.plate .. the Jeep is now 7 years old with 56000 miles has had 5 ball joints 4 sets of tie rods the driver seat will not adjust any more..rear wiper only work when it wants too. the power outlets stop working and we wash the jeep every week in the winter by the fifth year the jeep had rust on the rear panels and the dealers ( we took it to two jeep dealers say it only cover if it is rusted out. Stay away from these cars"
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By The other guy on Friday, March 20, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 112,500overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "It's paid for"
Cons: "i own it"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"cheaply made American car. Indicative of why Chrysler needed a bailout from the government. Front end will not stay aligned no matter what. Seems to be disintegrating before my eyes Probably the worst car I ever owned"
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful