- Boxy, distinctive styling
- Fuel efficiency
- Plasticky, cheap-feeling interior
- Road and engine noise
- CVT doesn't work well with engine
The 2010 Jeep Patriot is unlike any other vehicle on the market, with good safety, a spacious interior, and city-friendly maneuverability, plus just enough Jeep-ness for weekend campers.
With the shift to crossovers and smaller SUVs, it is appropriate that the 2010 Jeep Patriot sits on a car platform. It 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 than either of its platform-mates.
For 2010, the Jeep Patriot remains relatively untouched compared to last year’s model. For this year, we see the return of the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 158 horsepower in the base Patriot Sport 4x2, but it still 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. This is still the case, even though the Patriot received a number of small changes last year to combat this issue, including a new engine compartment and interior floor insulation to reduce noise.
Parking an off-roading SUV can be the stuff of nightmares, but with clearly defined corners, the Jeep is easy to park and fits into small spaces, thanks to its compact-car size. Dynamics and maneuverability, surprisingly, are strengths. The 2010 Jeep Patriot has good, communicative steering, and although the body leans some, it doesn't seem out of place on a curvy road.
The Patriot’s seating is well laid out; the front seats aren't that supportive, but due to the boxy shape, there's plenty of headroom in front, plus enough headroom and legroom in the back for adults. Just two adults will fit comfortably in the backseat of the 2010 Jeep Patriot, due to the narrow body and lack of shoulder room inside. When it comes to the interior, it's hard not to mention the word "plastic" when describing almost any item. In this way, the Patriot's interior is basic and sturdy—looking—though not wholly unattractive. The plus side of all this plastic trim is that if you do take it off-roading and track mud everywhere, it’ll be a lot easier to clean than carpet or leather. Additionally, the cargo floor is rubberized and cleans up easily. Other standard features include a rechargeable flashlight stored in the rear cargo area and speakers that can fold out from the back hatch (i.e. facing away from the car) for tailgating entertainment.
To prove that the Patriot is not just another urban runabout hiding underneath a big SUV body, Jeep is offering a Trail-Rated package for the 2010 Patriot. This includes a low-range transmission, skid plates, heavy-duty cooling, and hill descent control. Buyers opting for this package will also get an extra inch of ground clearance, thanks to the trail suspension system.
When it comes to safety, the 2010 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 Institute for Highway Safety awards the Patriot with "good" scores in frontal and side tests. Roof strength testing also yields a result of "good." The 2010 Jeep Patriot comes with a very generous list of standard safety features for the price, including electronic stability control with electronic roll mitigation, front side airbags, and side curtain airbags.
The base-level Sport model comes rather simply equipped, with manual-winding windows, but air conditioning and a CD sound system are standard. For power accessories, heated leather seats, keyless entry, cruise control, a 115-volt power outlet, and other extras, you'll need to step up to the Limited.