Near the top of its class in fuel-economy, the Patriot achieves an EPA estimated 30 MPG on the highway with the 2.0L engine and manual transmission. However, this small engine demonstrates poor performance at higher speeds and sluggish acceleration; giving way to the 2.4L I4 as more suitable if power is a consumer's main concern. Despite its compact size, the Patriot still earns the “Trail Rated” badge that is Jeep’s way of letting consumer’s know the model “has been designed to perform in five categories of off-road conditions: traction, ground clearance, maneuverability, articulation, and water fording.”
Though they struggle to compete on the trail, the refinement offered by competing compact SUVs surpasses the Patriot in almost every other aspect. The most notable may be the quality of interior materials with the Patriot featuring hard and uninviting plastic that engulfs the cabin. Rivals such as the Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V receive praise for luxurious interiors akin to what more shoppers of this segment desire. These competitors, along with the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and Kia Sportage, offer better on-road handling and more innovative cargo areas as well. The Suzuki Grand Vitara incorporates a similar mix of on- and off-road performance as the Patriot, but could prove difficult to find new with Suzuki recently ceasing production of their U.S. automobiles. Price is an important factor however, and Jeep claims to have “the best priced SUV in America” as a sparingly equipped Patriot can be had for under $16,000.
Falling between the Compass and Liberty in Jeep’s lineup, the Patriot is built to offer the automaker’s trademark off-road ability in a four-door compact SUV.