The 2007 Jeep Patriot is a compact SUV that, like the recently introduced 2007 Compass, moves Jeep further into the realm of car-based sport utility vehicles. The Compass and Patriot share a platform and, as the Patriot is within inches of most of the Jeep Liberty's key exterior dimensions, it could be mistaken for its truck-based sibling.
Available in both front- and all-wheel-drive variants, the Patriot hits U.S. dealerships toward the end of 2006. Standard features include a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, side curtain-type airbags and an electronic stability system. Three drivetrains are offered, and the most capable system gives the Patriot Jeep's Trail-Rated designation, which means it's capable of meeting certain offroad standards for traction, water fording and ground clearance, among others.
To observe the Patriot is essentially to see the silhouette of a Liberty, which begs the question: Does the world need another boxy SUV? The Patriot's styling hasn't changed appreciably since it debuted in concept form at the 2005 Frankfurt auto show, and the concept's seven-slot grille and round headlamps have made it to production. Standard steel wheels measure 16 inches in diameter, but 17-inch aluminum wheels are available.
With the optional Freedom Drive II Off-Road Package — which includes the driveline hardware that makes the Patriot Trail-Rated — the SUV gets 17-inch all-terrain tires, skid plates, tow hooks and fog lamps. Trail-Rated Patriots have 9 inches of ground clearance.
Two rows of seats provide room for five occupants, and the interior is trimmed in shades of gray or beige. Presumably in an effort to keep the starting price — still a mystery — low, the base Patriot has "Vinyl Tech" seats and manual windows and locks, and lacks air conditioning. Options include cruise control; air conditioning; power windows, locks and mirrors; keyless entry; a 115-volt power plug; and premium cloth seating that is designed to prevent staining and discoloration.
The Patriot Limited includes all the previously mentioned options, and also has deep-tinted glass; a flat-folding front passenger seat; and a 60/40-split, folding and reclining chair-height rear seat (as opposed to the rear seat on the base model, which folds flat). With the front passenger seat and rear seats folded, Jeep says the Patriot can hold an 8-foot ladder. A power sunroof and a Leather Interior Group, which includes leather-trimmed seats, heated front seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with stereo controls, are available options.
The Patriot has a number of uncommon options, too, like a nine-speaker Boston Acoustics audio system with speakers that can swing out of the liftgate when camping, and a cargo area dome light that can be removed and used as a flashlight.
Under the Hood
Both the base and Limited Patriot have a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 172 horsepower and 165 pounds-feet of torque and drives a five-speed manual transmission. A continuously variable transmission is optional.
Buyers have three drivelines to choose from: front-wheel drive, Freedom Drive I and the Freedom Drive II Off-Road Package. One of the main differences between the Freedom four-wheel-drive systems is that Freedom Drive II's continuously variable transmission incorporates a low range for difficult offroad driving. Advanced offroad features include Hill Descent Control and offroad Brake Traction Control.
All-disc antilock brakes, an electronic stability system and side curtain-type airbags are standard. Side-impact airbags and a tire pressure monitoring system are optional.
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