The 2012 Jeep Patriot resembles a miniature Grand Cherokee, but that's about all the two have in common. The Patriot suffers from split personality disorder, struggling to be the off-roader for which Jeep is known, but at the same time is trying to be a legitimate family hauler that competes against vehicles like the Honda CR-V. In other words, the Jeep Patriot tries to know a little about a lot, but isn't very good at anything.
This could spell trouble for the Patriot as there are a few other appealing alternatives in the compact SUV class. Such choices being the Chevrolet Equinox, Honda CR-V, and the Toyota RAV4 surpass the Patriot in overall quality and performance of intended function. Going off-road does tilt the pitch in favor of the Patriot a little more and a properly equipped version can tackle surprisingly rugged terrain that would leave its crossover competitors sidelined. The Patriot is a good choice if the need for an inexpensive SUV with four-wheel drive arises, but you may want to take a long look at the competition if you have other needs.
Body style: SUV
Engines: 2.0-liter inline-4, 2.4-liter inline-4
Transmissions: five-speed manual, continuously variable transmission (CVT)
Models: Sport 4X2, Sport 4X4, Latitude 4X2, Latitude 4X4, Limited 4X2, Limited 4X4
The Patriot has four new exterior colors to be dipped in for 2012 with those being Rescue Green Pearl Coat, True Blue Pearl Coat, Blue Streak Pearl Coat, and Copperhead Pearl Coat, the last three will be available late in 2012. Refinements were also made to the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVTII), now in its second generation. These improvements help with smoothing out acceleration and deceleration, reducing engine noise, and generally improving responsiveness.
Standard equipment found on the 2012 Patriot includes 16-inch alloy wheels (on the Sport), roof rails, and fog lights. All of the rugged looks that Jeep is known for are nowhere to be found on the Patriot as the boxy profile has been shed for softer curves and smooth lines. The iconic headlights and seven-slot grille are once again present on the 2012 Patriot.
Chrysler's Uconnect media hub including an iPod interface, SIRIUS Satellite radio with navigation, and Travel Link, a power sunroof, and a nine-speaker sound-system are included in the 2012 Patriot. Other standard features include stability control, roll mitigation, hill start assist, anti-lock brakes, a rear fold-flat 60/40 folding seat, and cruise control. There are soft-touch materials lining the center console and door panels but the rest of the interior is covered in hard plastics and seat comfort is still in question.
Performance & Handling
A 158-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder powers the 2012 Patriot Sport and Latitude models, with a continuously variable transmission (CVT2). Fuel economy gets a boost when you opt for the five-speed manual transmission. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder is offered on all models and comes standard on the Limited. Producing 172 horsepower, the 2.4-liter engine is mated solely to a continuously variable transmission, which helps the engine operate more smoothly as a whole and improves fuel economy as well; a five-speed manual transmission is also available, unless you decide you want the off-road package, which comes exclusively with the CVT. The latest Patriot is rated to tow up to 2000 pounds.
The Patriot features stability control, roll mitigation, Hill-start Assist, and side-curtain air bags that cover both the first and second row. Traction control, active front head restraints, side curtain air bags, and anti-lock brakes are also standard safety features.
EPA Fuel Economy
2.0-liter four-cylinder, manual transmission: 23 mpg city/ 29 mpg highway
2.0-liter four-cylinder, automatic transmission: 23 mpg city/ 27 mpg highway
2.4-liter four-cylinder, front-wheel drive, manual transmission: 22 mpg city/ 28 mpg highway
2.4-liter four-cylinder, front-wheel drive, automatic transmission: 21 mpg city/27 mpg highway
2.4-liter four-cylinder, four-wheel drive, manual transmission: 22 mpg city/28 mpg highway
2.4-liter four-cylinder, four-wheel drive, automatic transmission: 21 mpg city/26 mpg highway
2.4-liter four-cylinder, four-wheel drive, off-road package: 20 mpg city/23 mpg highway
- Low base price
You Won't Like
Thirsty engine choices
More options than the Compass, more livable than a Liberty
If You Like This Vehicle
- Subaru Forester
- Honda CR-V
- Toyota RAV4
- Chevrolet Equinox
- Ford Escape