The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

2011 Jeep Patriot Review and Roadtest

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

2011 Jeep Patriot A Compact SUV for Urban Living

Relevant Connection: 2011 Jeep Patriot Specs, Prices and Comparisons

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

My initial reaction upon getting settled behind the wheel of the Jeep Patriot that I was about to spend a week with was that it’s a perfect size for urban, big-city dwellers. Easily maneuverable, shorter than a typical compact class car, tall, upright seating that aids outward visibility and versatility with its seating for 5 and a fold-down rear seat opening up 54.2 cubic feet of cargo space.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The new 2011 Jeep® Patriot is fairly affordable with base prices ranging from $15,995 for the Sport 4x2 to $23,895 for the Latitude X 4x4. The Patriot is the lowest priced Jeep brand model. The Jeep Patriot is indeed a Jeep, with traditional Jeep looks, compact-SUV appeal, as well as off-road capability at a reasonable price.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Jeep Patriot’s classic exterior styling was updated for 2011 with new front and rear fascias, a body-color grille and an increased 4x4 ride height. Ride-and-handling benefits from upgraded steering and suspension systems. Interior enhancements focused on refined touch points.

The 2011 Jeep Patriot is available in three configurations: Sport, Latitude and Latitude X. All are available with front-wheel drive, the Freedom Drive I full-time, active 4x4 system and the Freedom Drive II Off-Road Package full-time, active 4x4 system with low-range capability.

Freedom Drive I is an available full-time, active four-wheel-drive system with lock mode designed to handle rough weather and low-traction conditions. This active four-wheel-drive system is recommended for daily use, including slick conditions that come with rain and light snow. Freedom Drive I also features a lockable center coupling, giving drivers the ability to put the Jeep Patriot in four-wheel-drive lock mode to handle deep snow, sand and other low-traction surfaces.

The Freedom Drive II Off-Road Package is an available four-wheel-drive system that makes the Jeep Patriot a Trail Rated® 4x4. The Freedom Drive II Off-Road Package includes a second-generation continuously variable transaxle with low range (CVT2L) that engages when the off-road mode is activated, 17-inch all-terrain tires and aluminum wheels, a full-size spare tire, skid plates, tow hooks, fog lamps and manual seat height adjuster. The available Freedom Drive II Off-Road Package is recommended for moderate off-road situations that include steep grades, occasional wheel lift and rock or log climbing.

Patriot 4x4 features a standard 2.4-liter World Engine that produces 172 horsepower and 165 lb.-ft. of torque. Patriot’s 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a five-speed manual transaxle in 4x4 configuration delivers 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

Standard on the 2011 Jeep Patriot Sport two-wheel-drive model is a 2.0-liter World Engine that provides 158 horsepower and 141 lb.-ft. of torque coupled with the continuously variable transmission (CVT2), and delivers 23 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. Jeep Patriot also features a standard five-speed manual transaxle and an available CVT.

Patriot’s face is classic Jeep and has classic Jeep trapezoidal wheel arches. The front fascia features a body-color grille as well as a skid plate that surrounds the new, inboard-mounted fog lamps. The new rear fascia extends lower than on previous models and features a chrome-tipped exhaust on the Latitude X model.

Classic Jeep design cues include new available 17-inch aluminum wheels. Jeep Patriot’s high beltline completes the vehicle’s protective side profile.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Interior upgrades for the 2011 Jeep Patriot include new soft touch front-door trim panels with a padded upper surface; new center armrest; a new Jeep steering wheel with integrated controls that allow the driver to operate the radio, cruise control, handsfree phone and other vehicle functions while keeping their hands on the wheel; new cloth interior with premium cloth bucket seats in the front; standard speed control on all models; new backlighting of door switches, door locks, windows and power mirror controls and standard automatic temperature control on the Latitude X model.

New for 2011 the Jeep Patriot offers an All-weather Capability Group option which includes 17-inch aluminum wheels with Goodyear all-terrain tires, all-season floor mats, daytime running headlamps, engine block heater and tow hooks.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The 2011 Jeep Patriot offers customers features such as low-range mode which generates a19:1 crawl ratio, brake traction control, 19-inch water fording capability, Hill-descent Control, 4x4 Lock shift-on-the-fly which sends 50 percent of torque to front and rear wheels, and a maximum tow rating of 2,000 lbs. The Jeep Patriot also boasts an upgraded suspension for 2011, with higher spring and damping rates, added rebound springs, and an increased diameter of the rear sway bar.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The Trail Rated Jeep Patriot meets Jeep off-road capability requirements for traction, water fording, articulation, maneuverability and ground clearance, including 9 inches of ground clearance, a 29-degree approach angle, a 33-degree departure angle and a 23-degree breakover angle. This version of the Patriot also has additional body sealing and high-mounted drivetrain vents to support 19-inch water fording capability.

A 2010 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick, the Jeep Patriot for 2011 is built by Chrysler Group LLC at the Belvidere Assembly Plant in Belvidere, Ill. If you’re into the Jeep thing, live in urban or suburban or rural environs, and desire a vehicle that is versatile and reasonably priced the Jeep Patriot deserves a look.

© Larry Nutson