- Handling of a small car
- Traditional Jeep styling
- Excessive use of hard plastic in the cabin
- Some excessive road and engine noise
- CVT drivability not up to par
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.
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.
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.