- Good styling. It’s a car but it really looks like a jeep
- It’s maneuverable and easy to park like a car
- Excellent and fun sound system
- Stability control is nice to have at this price point
- Noisy and buzzy engine noise when accelerating
- Underpowered engine with insufficient low end grunt
- There is an abundance of hard plastic
- Huge wheel wells in the back get in the way of cargo
The 2008 Jeep Patriot is the Chrysler brand’s new small crossover vehicle, mechanically similar to both the more softly styled Jeep Compass and the more car-like Dodge Caliber.
Two different engines power the 2008 Jeep Patriot, depending on the model; both are offered with a five-speed manual or CVT automatic, and the Patriot can be had with either front- or all-wheel drive. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 158 horsepower comes with the base Sport 4×2, but it provides barely adequate performance. The 172-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that’s included in the rest of the line is considerably more energetic but not peppy. Both of the engines can be very loud during hard acceleration with the CVT, as it allows the engine to rev near redline for a sustained period.
The Patriot feels fairly light and nimble. It handles like a car and that’s a good thing for this kind of vehicle. Unfortunately, the auto transmission with CVT makes some awful noises while not moving the car very much. Acceleration is a very labored affair. Once the car gets up to speed, there is less drama. But the sluggishness and the noise really hamper the driving experience.
The interior is clean and functional but the abundance of hard plastic is a bit distracting. The front seats are comfortable and there is surprisingly ample room in the front for taller drivers.
The sound system is definitely a highlight. There are four big Boston Acoustic speakers all around and there is a subwoofer integrated in the back panels. Furthermore, the two rear speakers are mounted on the rear hatch and they fire forward directly to the driver. This proper speaker aim, along with the roomy rear cargo area gives the speakers a good soundstage to produce a full ‘living room’ like sound. And a cool feature is when the rear hatch is open, the rear speakers can be folded down for a tailgate party experience.
The styling cannot be faulted. It looks like a Jeep and that is what most people buying this brand want. It is a fairly impressive feat how they got this rugged looking vehicle on this car platform.
This vehicle delivers great value starting at under $16,000.
Who Should Buy It?
Budget conscious buyers looking for a good balance of utility, fuel economy, ruggedness and Jeep good looks will be happy with this vehicle
Avoid the the CVT and get the bigger engine. Following this advice will get you the strengths of this vehicle and avoid the pitfalls. It is far from a luxury SUV but it will get you to your all-weather activities economically and in style.
If you’re a young, active person with a lot of sports equipment to throw in the back of the car, this may be a good match for you. Get the upgraded stereo option, crank it up and drive it to the mountains and enjoy the outdoors.
>> See all of the Jeep Patriot photos in our photo gallery
>>The Official Jeep Site – 4×4 SUV, Sport Utility Vehicle: www.jeep.com