2016 Jeep Patriot Expert Review

2.5 Overall Score
Performance 2.4 Comfort 2.5 Styling 2.6 Value 2.2

Editor's Overview

The 2016 Patriot stakes its claim as being the least expensive new SUV you can buy, and a Jeep to boot. That's the appeal of this 2-row, 5-passenger sport-utility vehicle. But in just about every other aspect, Jeep's aging entry-level model lags rival compact-crossover SUVs such as the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester.

You'll Like The 2016 Jeep Patriot If...

If you're tight on money but yearn for a new Jeep, the Patriot can be your ticket into the brand. Drivers requiring enhanced traction for foul weather or Jeep's Trail-Rated off-road ability can choose between two 4-wheel-drive (4WD) systems for the Patriot.

You May Not Like The 2016 Jeep Patriot If...

As one of the oldest vehicles in Jeep's lineup, the Patriot lacks the refinement, freshness and advanced safety features of just about every rival. And while it wears the Jeep name, the Patriot is based on front-wheel-drive (FWD) architecture and isn't built to hop boulders like a Wrangler.

What's New

The 2016 Patriot drops the top-line Limited trim, leaving just the base Sport model and better-equipped Latitude. Bluetooth phone connectivity finally becomes standard, and the new Sport SE package bundles more popular features. An all-new Jeep model is set to replace both the aging Patriot and Compass SUVs.

Interior Features

The 2016 Jeep Patriot features a 2-row, 5-passenger interior. Depending on trim level and options, it ranges from simple and utilitarian with hard plastic surfaces to nicely equipped with leather seats and a 6.5-inch touch-screen navigation and entertainment system. In base models you'll have to pay extra for a driver's seat that adjusts for height, and no Patriot model comes with a steering wheel that telescopes, making it more difficult to find a perfect driving position. The rear seats do fold nearly flat for extra cargo capacity, and in all but the base model also recline.

Exterior Features

Few will mistake the Patriot with its 4-door Wrangler Unlimited sibling, but at least the family resemblance is there. Like its beefier brother, the Patriot has a boxy shape, Jeep's traditional front grille with seven vertical slots and signature round headlights. Standard roof rails add to the Patriot's presence and practicality. For added toughness, skidplates and tow hooks are fitted to models equipped with the Freedom Drive II off-road package. Base Sport models ride on 16-inch steel wheels, while the Patriot Latitude version comes with 17-inch aluminum versions.

Driving Impressions

Jeeps have a long history of favoring off-road capability over on-road comfort. Most models of the Patriot, though, don't stand out in either setting. Yes, you can get a Patriot that is Trail-Rated to slog through mud, snow and up to 19 inches of water, but to do so you must option up to the Freedom Drive II package. On the asphalt where most Patriots will roam, Jeep's least expensive SUV is simply outclassed by newer rivals that offer better performance, handling, ride quality and fuel economy. Neither of the Patriot's available 4-cylinder engines feels very strong, and the CVT transmission does more for fuel economy than it does for performance, although the optional 6-speed automatic improves the latter. Highway ride and handling are okay, as long as you don’t compare the Patriot to a more refined small SUV – of which there are plenty.

Pricing Notes

The 2016 Jeep Patriot has an alluring Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just over $18,000, making it the least expensive new SUV, but you'll have to forgo such comforts as power windows and air conditioning. Better-equipped versions run in the $20,000 range, and a Latitude model with the High Altitude package can bump $30,000. At these prices, most Patriot models still undercut the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape and Subaru Forester, but those rivals are newer and generally more appealing. Still, there's no denying that the Patriot is an inexpensive SUV to buy and own, and it's just coming off a win for the Kelley Blue Book 5-Year Cost to Own Award in the Compact SUV/Crossover category. Be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Jeep Patriot. Long-term residual value is another aspect in which the Patriot lags competitors.

Notable Equipment

We'll say it again: The Patriot's base price is tempting, but it buys only a budget vehicle in the strictest sense. You'll have to crank your own windows, lock the doors manually and even forgo air conditioning. What you will get is a 5-speed manual transmission, cruise control and 4-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with auxiliary input and, new for this year, hands-free phone connectivity and SiriusXM satellite radio. A better bet is to step up to the Latitude model, which includes the basic creature comforts omitted in the Sport trim, plus heated front seats, power outlet, keyless entry and automatic headlights.

Notable Options

Both trims of the Jeep Patriot can be had with either of the Freedom Drive 4WD systems. On the Sport model, you can get power windows and creature comforts like air conditioning. The new Sport SE package bundles a leather-trimmed steering wheel with built-in audio controls, heated front seats and 17-inch wheels. Latitude models can be had with infotainment and navigation systems with a 6.5-inch touch screen, while the High Altitude package bundles the leather interior, power-adjustable driver's seat and sunroof. New for 2016 is an optional rearview camera, a feature that's standard in rivals like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

Favorite Features

FREEDOM DRIVE I

For those facing seasonal road conditions, Freedom Drive I provides a full-time 4-wheel-drive system designed to give year-round peace of mind. You won’t be tackling the Rubicon Trail with Freedom Drive I, but you could tow your ATV to where the trail starts.

FREEDOM DRIVE II OFF-ROAD PACKAGE

For those preferring the road less traveled – or no road at all – Jeep offers the optional Freedom Drive II Off-Road Package. It includes a 2nd-generation CVT transaxle with low range, 17-inch all-terrain tires and an abundance of skidplates, tow hooks and fog lights.

Under the Hood

For 2016 Jeep Patriots offer two 4-cylinder engines and a trio of transmissions. The base engine is a 2.0-liter that's for front-wheel-drive (FWD) models only. A more powerful 2.4-liter engine is optional on either model and is necessary if you want 4WD. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard for both engines. The automatic transmission offerings are a 6-speed (now only with the 2.4-liter engine) or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Models with the Freedom Drive II off-road system use the CVT that has a 19:1 crawl ratio for slowly navigating touchy off-road conditions. The Patriot's towing capacity maxes out at 2,000 pounds. The Patriot isn't all that fuel-efficient – especially with the Freedom Drive II package – but at least it uses regular unleaded gasoline.

2.0-liter inline-4

158 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm

141 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/30 mpg (FWD, manual), 22/26 mpg (FWD, CVT)

2.4-liter inline-4

172 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm

165 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/29 mpg (FWD, manual), 21/28 mpg (FWD, automatic), 22/27 mpg (4WD, manual), 20/26 mpg (4WD, automatic), 20/23 mpg (4WD, CVT w/Off-Road package)

Editors' Notes

The 2016 Patriot stakes its claim as being the least expensive new SUV you can buy, and a Jeep to boot. That's the appeal of this 2-row, 5-passenger sport-utility vehicle. But in just about every other aspect, Jeep's aging entry-level model lags rival compact-crossover SUVs. The Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester and even its own siblings, the smaller Jeep Renegade and larger Cherokee, are more refined and far fresher than the Patriot. No doubt the 2016 Patriot's roughly $18,000 starting price is enticing, but base models are so basic they lack air conditioning and even power windows as standard. While the Patriot can be equipped with 4-wheel drive for off-road capability, the higher cost of doing so erodes this model's value proposition.

Road Test Video Reviews

2016 Jeep Patriot Owner Reviews

4.28
368 Reviews
49% 35% 12% 2% 1%
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The jeep patriot is an extremely comfortable car.

2016 Jeep Patriot Sport

I love my jeep patriot, I have had it for 2 years now and have only accumulated 15,000 miles. Therefore, I can see this car going a long way with me. My vehicle is a great size for me. It is not too big and not too small. It may be compact, but it is better than a sedan or a big SUV. There are not any problems I have come across, but the performance is great. The seats are leather, which I prefer because of occasional spills and mishaps. The back seats are adjustable for your liking. One of the best features is the rear view camera. This helps me see everything behind me when I am backing up. I reliable very much on my car because I use it to get everywhere. It is great in the snow and rain. The tires are great, I have not had to replace them or get them repaired. The whole vehicles drives smoothly. I have heard other people say the car does make noise, but it does not affect me. On the gas, the tank is decent and I do not have to make gas runs that often. Maybe once every other week I fill it up. Before I got this jeep, it was a dream of mine to get one. I did not care which model it was, but I had my eyes on a wrangler. At the dealership, I test drove both and I ended up falling in love with the patriot. It provides more space in the rear and all around. Today, I am still in love with this car and it is one of my bestest friends.

- Tian F

Great car at an affordable price.

2016 Jeep Patriot

My 2016 Jeep Patriot is a great little SUV, it offers lots of the extras I was looking for at a more conservative price than some of the high end luxury SUVs. I get about 28 mpg on interstate driving which I do a lot of. I have the conveniences of heated seats, Bluetooth . Remote start, 4WD, fog lights, roomy seating for 4 adults and lots of hatch trunk room. I live in the mountains and we experience colder temperatures often so the 4WD and remote start alone were great selling points for me. The 2016 Jeep Patriot maneuvers well on our mountainous curvy roads and will be an ideal starter car for my 15 year old daughter who is just learning to drive. No blind spots which will make it easy for her to learn to drive. I have read reports of premature transmission problems but have not had any problems with mine so far. I have also read mixed safety crash reports on the 2016 Jeep Patriot but again have not yet experienced any difficulty with the handling of the vehicle. I would highly recommend this car to my friends and family and would consider buying another on my next vehicle purchase. It is an ideal vehicle for the local terrain of where I live and most importantly a very affordable small SUV.

- Pam S

We really enjoy the ease of the ride.

2016 Jeep Patriot Sport

I bought this car because I needed a reliable car to get me to and from school as well as a car safe enough to put our children in. We looked at several options and really love Jeeps but because of our age and financial difficulties we couldn't afford a wrangler or the renegade so the patriot was a perfect choice considering it's a more affordable car to be a newer make of the Jeep family. This car drives easy and comfortable. It's bigger than a 4dr car but smaller than most SUV types so we were very happy to have the best of both worlds. It's easy to get the kids in and out the their seats as you don't have to crawl up the side of the vehicle to unbuckle them and there is plenty of space for two car seats and even a smaller child to fit in the back. The interior is nice and plenty of space and options for people of different likings. The only problem I have with our Jeep is that it is 4wd and because we don't live in an area that requires us to use it from time to time, we spend quite a bit in gas. We probably spend about 40 as it sucks it right out. I would recommend this car to anyone who asks me about it. Couldn't of been more satisfied.

- Hannah C

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