Slicker in the city

The Pa­triot was far from a bush basher, de­spite its rugged good looks

The Courier-Mail - Cars Guide - - Used Car - with Gra­ham Smith

NEW

To keep up in the ever-evolv­ing world of the SUV, Jeep had to look beyond tra­di­tion and pro­duce a ve­hi­cle that wasn’t as rough and tough as those that had forged the brand’s goany­where rep­u­ta­tion.

En­ter the Pa­triot, the newage SUV that Jeep re­leased here in 2007 to com­pete with the sim­i­lar SUVs that were flood­ing on to the mar­ket from al­most ev­ery maker.

The Pa­triot looked the goods, with the fa­mil­iar slat­ted Jeep grille, rugged stance that typ­i­fies the brand, big wheel flares that also seem part of the brand’s DNA ... but that’s about where it ended.

Any­one ex­pect­ing a ve­hi­cle ca­pa­ble of go­ing any­where would have been dis­ap­pointed, as the Pa­triot was a town wagon with lim­ited off-road ca­pa­bil­ity (as were its ri­vals).

When in­tro­duced the Pa­triot had on-de­mand four-wheel drive but Jeep, fi­nally ac­knowl­edg­ing the real­ity that Pa­triot buy­ers weren’t likely to go bush, in 2012 added a front- drive ver­sion. A five-seater wagon, the Pa­triot came in two vari­ants: the Sport and the Lim­ited, with a choice of a 2.4litre petrol en­gine and a 2.0-litre turbo diesel.

Ini­tially, the 2.4 came with a five-speed man­ual gear­box or con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion and the diesel with six-speed man­ual only.

The Sport front-driver ar­rived with a 2.0-litre en­gine, and the AWD ver­sion got the turbo diesel.

Mean­while the Lim­ited car­ried on with the 2.4-litre or diesel and AWD only. In 2013, an­other up­date set the Sport as front-drive only and a six-speed au­to­matic re­placed the CVT.

It’s only the front-wheel drive mod­els that have an ANCAP rat­ing of five stars.

The rest of the range is well equipped with safety fea­tures, in­clud­ing side cur­tain airbags, elec­tronic sta­bil­ity control and rollover pro­tec­tion.

NOW

Never does a clear pic­ture emerge when talk­ing to Jeep own­ers — they ei­ther love them or they hate them. Quality and re­li­a­bil­ity vary dra­mat­i­cally and some own­ers have hor­ror sto­ries to tell.

The mes­sage from the feed­back is you need be care­ful when check­ing a Jeep, in­clud­ing the Pa­triot, be­fore buy­ing a used ex­am­ple.

It’s wise to check ev­ery­thing elec­tri­cal, where prob­lems are com­mon — par­tic­u­larly the win­dow lifts to make sure they all work as they are meant to. Check ev­ery­thing on the dash, the in­stru­ments, the screens etc.

Some own­ers com­plain about the op­er­a­tion of the key­less en­try and se­cu­rity, so check that as well. A cou­ple of own­ers couldn’t start their cars first thing in the morning, an is­sue traced to the key­less en­try.

If the car you’re con­sid­er­ing has a CVT, take it for a thor­ough test drive to check for shud­der­ing, which might in­di­cate a prob­lem, and make sure you’re happy with the way the CVT drives.

It’s also im­por­tant to check for signs of off-road use. The Pa­triot wasn’t made for heavy go­ing, so look un­der­neath for dam­age that could have been caused by an overly am­bi­tious owner try­ing to take it where it wasn’t meant to go.

OWN­ERS SAY

Michael Os­borne My 2010 Sport was fine for the first 10,000km, then it be­came a dis­as­ter. I’ve had trou­ble with anti-lock brake sen­sors more than once and the front lower control arms had to be re­placed at 45,000km. The parts are very ex­pen­sive and deal­ing with Jeep was dif­fi­cult.

Brian Nel­son The build quality of my 2010 Sport is poor and it has been un­re­li­able. For seven years now the warn­ing lights for ABS, ECS and 4WD have been com­ing on and the dealer ap­pears un­able to find the cause. Very frus­trat­ing.

Su­san Ryan I bought my Pa­triot sec­ond-hand five years ago with 80,000km on it. It was fine for the first cou­ple of years but then things started to go wrong. I had to re­place the wheel bear­ings, the tur­bocharger went, so too did the al­ter­na­tor, the starter and a win­dow win­der mo­tor.

Paul Munro My 2014 Sport went back to the dealer 13 times in the first seven months. It had is­sues with the en­gine over­heat­ing, the gear­box, the head­lights and the key­less en­try.

David Wal­lace I loved my 2012 Sport un­til I started to hear noises from the gear­box at about 50,000km. The gear­box had to be re­placed. Stay clear.

SMITHY SAYS

Light­weight SUV best suited to the city, can be trou­ble­some.

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