2009 Jeep Patriot Review

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Trevor Wild Trevor Wild Author
July 4, 2009

The 2009 Jeep Patriot offers a safe, city-friendly package for a bargain price; if the most off-roading you'll be doing is to the weekend campsite, it's a good frugal choice.

TheCarConnection.com has not only driven the Jeep Patriot in the city and out on the trail, it's also researched published road tests from a range of top-tier sources. Here you'll get TheCarConnection.com's firsthand impressions of the Patriot, along with some of the most useful advice from other reviews.

The 2009 Jeep Patriot is mechanically similar to both the more softly styled Jeep Compass and the more carlike Dodge Caliber, but the Patriot gets boxier, chunkier styling that both looks better and is more functional.

The Jeep Patriot gets a slightly redesigned instrument panel with a smoother look and chrome accents for 2009. A new center console has a split lid for added storage space, and new door trim panels feature padded armrests.

A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 158 horsepower comes with the base Sport 4x2, 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 are offered with a five-speed manual or CVT automatic, and the Patriot can be had with either front- or all-wheel drive. Both engines can be very loud during hard acceleration with the CVT, as it allows the engine to rev near redline for a sustained period. For 2009 the Patriot gets a number of small changes, including a new engine compartment and interior floor insulation to reduce noise, while revised suspension tuning helps provide a smoother, more comfortable ride. However, these changes together don't do enough to silence the coarse boom of the engine.

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With clearly defined corners, the Jeep is easy to park and fits into small spaces, thanks to its compact-car size. The 2009 Jeep Patriot has good, communicative steering, and although the body leans some, it doesn't seem out of place on a curvy road. Handling and maneuverability, surprisingly, are strengths.

Seating is well laid out; front seats aren't that supportive, but due to the boxy shape, there's plenty of headroom in front, plus but plenty of head- and legroom in back for adults. Just two adults will fit comfortably in the 2009 Jeep Patriot, due to the narrower body and lack of shoulder room. The Patriot's interior is basic, but attractive and sturdy-looking. There's an abundance of hard plastic, but it fits the Patriot's very purposeful design, and it looks like it would clean up well.

The cargo floor is rubberized and cleans up easily. It is one of several innovative features in the 2009 Jeep Patriot. Other standard features include a rechargeable flashlight that stores in the rear cargo area and speakers that fold out from the back hatch, for tailgating entertainment.

A Trail Rated package for the 2009 Jeep Patriot includes a low-range transmission, skid plates, heavy-duty cooling, and hill descent control, while tougher suspension boosts ground clearance by an inch.

The Patriot fares well in the federal government's crash tests, with four- and five-star ratings for frontal protection and five stars for side impact. The insurance industry hasn't tested the Patriot, but the structurally similar Dodge Caliber earned a Marginal rating in the IIHS side impact test. The 2009 Jeep Patriot includes a very generous list of safety features for the price; electronic stability control with electronic roll mitigation is standard, along with front side airbags and side curtain airbags.

The Sport model comes quite simply equipped, with manual-winding windows, but air conditioning and a CD sound system are standard. The 2009 Jeep Patriot Limited steps up to power accessories, heated leather seats, keyless entry, cruise control, a 115-volt power outlet, and other extras.

8

2009 Jeep Patriot

Styling

The 2009 Jeep Patriot offers a rugged style with a purposeful interior.

The 2009 Jeep Patriot is the Chrysler brand's small crossover vehicle, mechanically similar to both the more softly styled Jeep Compass and the more carlike Dodge Caliber.

Comparing the Patriot to some of its competitors in the segment, Automobile Magazine states that the Jeep Patriot "looks far more like a tough-guy off-roader than its curvaceous urbanite rivals." Kelley Blue Book refers to the 2009 Jeep Patriot's styling with its square lines and boxy stance as one that "evoke[s] the purpose-built style of the now-defunct Cherokee and, to a lesser degree, its Grand Cherokee successor." While the Compass has rounded corners and a more carlike presence, the Jeep Patriot wears a boxier, utilitarian look. Motor Trend describes it as "more palatable Jeep styling" that is more rugged-looking and truer to the no-nonsense, trailblazing silhouette of the older Jeep models.

In 2009, Jeep equips the Patriot with new round heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) vents, shift bezel, door spears, and cluster rings, which add some style to the purposeful interior. The shiny additions don't especially impress Edmunds, who complain that the "cabin features large gauges and simple controls but is ultimately defined by a sea of hard, low-quality plastic." While basic, the interior is attractive and sturdy-looking. The Patriot's interior on the base Sport model is equipped with vinyl seating for five that shows some big expanses of plastic on the dash but with large, easy-to-read instrumentation. Automobile Magazine says "the Patriot's upright dash and flat expanse of hood make you feel as though you're in something substantial—more truck than minivan—and the simple controls are logically laid out."

6

2009 Jeep Patriot

Performance

The 2009 Jeep Patriot's powertrains leave a lot to be desired, but it handles well and there’s some off-road capability built in.

The 2009 Jeep Patriot's four-cylinder engines offer underwhelming performance, though it has a light handling touch and an available off-road package.

The Patriot is available in either front- or all-wheel-drive versions, and with either a five-speed manual or automatic CVT (continuously variable transmission). The advantage of the CVT is its ability to seamlessly and continuously change the gear ratio to keep the engine in its powerband rather than having a limited number of gears to step through.

Two different engines are offered. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 158 horsepower and 141 pound-feet of torque comes with the base Sport 4x2, but it provides barely adequate performance. Although the CVT can keep the smaller engine near its power peak, it's still little, and either engine with the CVT is at a disadvantage when the 2009 Jeep Patriot is compared to its peers. In fact, Edmunds states, "When equipped with the CVT, the Patriot accelerates sluggishly compared with other compact SUVs, and the lack of fixed ratios keeps the revs on a noisy boil." ConsumerGuide goes on to say, "Adequate pull from a stop with either transmission, though models with the CVT struggle in passing and merging."

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 engines can be very loud during hard acceleration with the CVT, as it allows the engine to rev near redline for a sustained period. Automobile characterizes the Patriot's 2.4-liter engine's performance as "lively, if vocal" when equipped with the five-speed manual transmission.

In addition to the CVT in the 2.4-liter Patriot is a five-speed manual transmission.  Edmunds prefers the manual transmission available with the larger engine, noting that the "power delivery feels more energetic and linear with the manual gearbox." Automobile echoes the sentiment by describing the CVT as "less work but also less amusing" when compared to the five-speed manual.

With clearly defined corners, the 2009 Patriot is easy to park—and it fits into small spaces, thanks to its compact-car size. Although the body leans some, it doesn't seem out of place on a curvy road and offers drivers good, communicative steering. ConsumerGuide describes the on-road ride as "comfortable and stable" and the steering as "Accurate, natural-feeling." According to Edmunds, "the 2009 Jeep Patriot shows some body roll, but overall the Patriot takes corners confidently with a firm and controlled ride."

The Freedom Drive II option available with the CVT gives the Jeep Patriot a plethora of off-road-oriented features like low-range gearing, hill descent control, and extra ground clearance. Automobile refers to the Patriot equipped with the Freedom Drive II package as "not Rubicon-ready, but...actually pretty good off-road." Edmunds goes on to say, with the optional off-road package, the Jeep Patriot can "tame trails and hills that would be off-limits to most competitors in its class." A Trail Rated package for the 2009 Jeep Patriot adds a tougher suspension and boosts ground clearance by an inch. Furthermore, it brings a low range for the transmission, skid plates, heavy-duty cooling, and hill descent control.

The 2009 Patriot line offers an EPA-estimated 23 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway when equipped with the 2.0-liter engine and automatic transmission. The 2.4-liter powerplant ranges from 19/21 mpg with the "4WD, automatic, off-road package" to 23/28 mpg when equipped with "2WD, manual,” says Kelley Blue Book.

6

2009 Jeep Patriot

Comfort & Quality

The Jeep Patriot provides comfortable seating, but falls short in cargo capacity, as well as fit and finish.

The 2009 Jeep Patriot has comfortable seating and space for passengers, but its cheap interior could use more cargo room. A new engine compartment and interior floor insulation reduce noise, while revised suspension tuning helps provide a smoother, more comfortable ride.

According to Cars.com, "Two rows of seats [that] provide room for five occupants" are offered. ConsumerGuide says, "Highmounted seats contribute to generous legroom," while Edmunds remarks, "those of taller stature will appreciate this SUV's voluminous headroom." Seating is well designed; front seats aren't that supportive, but due to the boxy design, there's plenty of headroom, plus even more head- and legroom in back for adults. Just two adults will fit comfortably in the 2009 Jeep Patriot, due to the narrower body and lack of shoulder room.

With its folding rear seat and folding passenger seat, the Jeep Patriot does provide cargo space at the temporary expense of passenger room. As Cars.com points out, "With the front passenger seat and rear seats folded...the Patriot can hold an 8-foot ladder." Although it has the style and proportions of larger Jeeps, the 2009 Jeep Patriot can't compare to bigger sport utilities in cargo capacity. Edmunds refers to its cargo capacity as "subpar."

According to reviewers, including those here at TheCarConnection.com, there's an abundance of hard plastic, but it fits the Jeep Patriot's very purposeful design, and it looks like it would clean up well. Edmunds says that the 2009 Jeep Patriot "suffers from low-grade materials" and even with optional upgrades to the interior is "ultimately defined by a sea of hard, low-quality plastic and inconsistent fit and finish." As Kelley Blue Book states, "it's among the least interesting interiors in the category." Although ConsumerGuide lauds the vehicle for its easy-to-clean surfaces "appropriate to Patriot's rugged pretense," they complain "Hard, unyielding plastic dominates the décor."

8

2009 Jeep Patriot

Safety

The 2009 Jeep Patriot receives high marks on safety from federal and private agencies.

Standard safety features abound on the 2009 Jeep Patriot, and crash-test scores are good.

The 2009 Jeep Patriot received four of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on front impact protection for the driver and passenger, as well as rollover resistance (both 2WD and 4WD). The Jeep Patriot received five stars for side impact protection for both driver and rear passengers. From the insurance-affiliated IIHS, the Patriot received top Good ratings for frontal and side impact protection, but it achieved an Acceptable score in the seat-based rear-impact test.

According to Kelley Blue Book, standard safety features on every 2009 Jeep Patriot includes front disc and rear drum brakes with ABS, front and side-curtain airbags, and electronic stability and traction controls with rollover mitigation. Side airbags are optional.

ConsumerGuide states that for the occupants of the Jeep Patriot, "Visibility is good all around." Cars.com adds that four-wheel-drive Jeep Patriots get hill descent control and off-road brake traction control.

9

2009 Jeep Patriot

Features

The entry-level model of the 2009 Jeep Patriot doesn't come with much, but the Patriot can be optioned up with some innovative features you can't find elsewhere.

Most reviews read by TheCarConnection.com praise the extensive list of options available on the 2009 Jeep Patriot.

People looking for luxury features will want to note the less than enticing standard manual windows and locks as pointed out by Cars.com on the Sport Jeep Patriot. Edmunds calls the base Sport Patriot "pretty basic" and highlights the more upscale features available in Limited package, such as 17-inch aluminum wheels, fog lights, privacy glass, and chrome exterior accents. There are two trim levels available for the 2009 Jeep Patriot: the base Sport and the more upscale Limited. The base model comes with important safety features like ABS, but also has low-rent items such as vinyl upholstery and 16-inch steel wheels.

Edmunds reports that both the Sport and Limited trim levels can be optioned with such niceties as a six-disc CD changer and a Boston Acoustics premium audio system with satellite radio and flip-down speakers in the liftgate. Kelley Blue Book comments, "Outdoorsy Jeep types will find it an especially alluring option." The 2009 Jeep Patriot Limited adds a 115-volt outlet, power accessories, cruise control, and remote keyless entry to its list of standard equipment.

ConsumerGuide likes the Patriot’s rubber-coated floor since it’s “easy to clean, perfect for carrying dirty, messy cargo." Among the "uncommon options" that Cars.com refers to in their review of the 2009 Jeep is the ability to order a removable cargo area dome light that serves as a handy flashlight and a chilled glove box. Edmunds specifically mentions that the 2009 Jeep's option list for the Patriot Limited includes a navigation system, skid plates, and even hands-free phone connectivity.

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August 2, 2015
2009 Jeep Patriot 4WD 4-Door Rocky Mountain

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My 2009 Patriot has less than 100,000 on it. I had the front brakes replaced and was told at that time that it many issues that made it unsafe to drive. The ball joints and outer tie rod ends are extremely... + More »
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Styling 8.0
Performance 6.0
Comfort & Quality 6.0
Safety 8.0
Features 9.0
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