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2011 Jeep Patriot Performance

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Performance
Between the two four-cylinder engines that are offered on the 2011 Jeep Patriot, you might as well go with the larger, 2.4-liter one. It makes 172 horsepower and considerably more torque than the 158-hp unit in the base Patriot Sport 4x2. No version of the Patriot is peppy, but it's considerably better with the manual transmission; versions with the continuously variable (CVT) automatic are far less enjoyable as the CVT is one of the slowest ones on the market to bring up the revs for passing power or quick sprints into holes in rush-hour traffic. Relative to most other vehicles you might consider, the CVT-equipped Patriot might seem sluggish and noisy.

Thanks to its compact-car size and well-defined corners, the Patriot is one of the easiest vehicles to park and drive in tight spaces. And at low speeds especially, the steering feels responsive and communicative. The Patriot is quite softly sprung, so it's by no means a sporty-feeling vehicle, but with the exception of some bounciness on some types of expressway surfaces the suspension offers a nice ride-versus-handling compromise.

While base Patriots come with front-wheel drive, there are two different four-wheel drive systems offered. The Freedom Drive I system is an active system much like that used in most all-wheel drive cars and crossovers, but it does have a lock mode to help with mud, snow, or sand. The Freedom Drive II option brings a truly Jeep-caliber level of off-road prowess to this vehicle, surprisingly; it includes low-range gearing (through a special version of the CVT), hill descent control, and extra ground clearance—plus a tougher suspension, skid plates, heavy-duty cooling, and hill descent control. 

The 2011 Jeep Patriot is by no means a strong road performer, but it does well with tight urban spaces and can be equipped to Jeep's Trail Rated standards.

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