Slicker in the city
The Patriot was far from a bush basher, despite its rugged good looks
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.
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.
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.
Lightweight SUV best suited to the city, can be troublesome.