2008 Jeep Patriot Review

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The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
July 6, 2008

Safe and city-friendly, yet tough enough for weekend camping—and bargain-priced—the 2008 Jeep Patriot has a lot going for it.

In preparing this review covering the 2008 Jeep Patriot, the experts at TheCarConnection.com gathered information from some of the top publications. Then TheCarConnection’s editors added their own driving insights to create this comprehensive review.

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 carlike 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 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 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.

Handling and maneuverability, surprisingly, are strengths. The 2008 Jeep Patriot has good, communicative steering, and although the body leans some, it doesn't seem out of place on a curvy road. And with clearly defined corners, it's easy to park--and it fits into small spaces, also thanks to its compact-car size.

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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. 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 2008 Jeep Patriot, due to the narrower body and lack of shoulder room.

Several innovative features in the 2008 Jeep Patriot include a rechargeable flashlight that stores in the rear cargo area and speakers that fold out from the back hatch, for tailgating entertainment. The cargo floor is rubberized and cleans up easily.

The Sport model comes quite simply equipped, with manual-winding windows, but air conditioning and a CD sound system are standard. The 2008 Jeep Patriot Limited steps up to power accessories, heated leather seats, keyless entry, cruise control, a 115-volt power outlet, and other extras.

A Trail Rated package for the 2008 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 2008 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 Patriot fared 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 was given the Marginal rating in the IIHS side impact test.

8

2008 Jeep Patriot

Styling

The 2008 Jeep Patriot offers a rugged style with a purposeful interior.

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 carlike Dodge Caliber.

While the Compass has rounded corners and a more carlike presence, the Jeep Patriot has a boxier, more utilitarian look. Motor Trend describes it as "more palatable Jeep styling" that is more rugged-looking and truer to the no-nonsense, trail-blazing look of the older Jeep models. Kelley Blue Book refers to the 2008 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." Comparing the Patriot to some of its competitors in the segment, Automobile states that the Jeep Patriot "looks far more like a tough-guy off-roader than its curvaceous urbanite rivals."

The Patriot's interior is basic, but 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 says that "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." In 2008, Jeep equips the Patriot with chrome accents on the stereo as well as the door locks and handles, which adds some style to the purposeful interior. The shiny additions didn'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."

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6

2008 Jeep Patriot

Performance

The 2008 Jeep Patriot's powertrains leave a lot to be desired, but steering feels good, and there’s some off-road capability built in.

The 2008 Jeep Patriot's four-cylinder engines offer underwhelming performance, though it has a light handling touch and an available off-road package.

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 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 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. Automobile characterizes the Patriot's 2.4-liter engine's performance as "lively, if vocal" when equipped with the five-speed manual transmission.

The smaller 158-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 141 pound-feet of torque requires the 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. Although the CVT can keep the smaller engine near its power peak, it's still a small engine, and either engine with the CVT is at a disadvantage when the 2008 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."

In 2008, Jeep also offers a five-speed manual transmission with the Patriot.  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.

A Trail Rated package for the 2008 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.

Kelley Blue Book reports that that 2008 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."

Handling and maneuverability, surprisingly, are strengths. The 2008 Jeep Patriot has good, communicative steering, and although the body leans some, it doesn't seem out of place on a curvy road. And with clearly defined corners, it's easy to park--and it fits into small spaces, also thanks to its compact-car size. ConsumerGuide describes the on-road ride as "comfortable and stable" and the steering as "Accurate, natural-feeling." According to Edmunds, "the 2008 Jeep Patriot shows some body roll, but overall the Patriot takes corners confidently with a firm and controlled ride."

In reference to the Patriot's off-road ability, 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." 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."

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6

2008 Jeep Patriot

Comfort & Quality

The 2008 Jeep Patriot has comfortable seating and space for passengers, but its cheap interior could use more cargo room.

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

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. Seating is well designed; front seats aren't that supportive, but due to the boxy design, there's plenty of headroom in front, plus even more head- and legroom in back for adults. Just two adults will fit comfortably in the 2008 Jeep Patriot, due to the narrower body and lack of shoulder room. According to Cars.com, "Two rows of seats [that] provide room for five occupants" are offered. ConsumerGuide observes the "Highmounted seats contribute to generous legroom," while Edmunds remarks, "those of taller stature will appreciate this SUV's voluminous headroom."

Although it has the style and proportions of larger Jeeps, the 2008 Jeep Patriot can't compare to bigger sport utilities in cargo capacity. Edmunds refers to its cargo capacity as "subpar." 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."

Two areas where the 2008 Jeep Patriot falls short are the quality of materials and the assembly of the interior. Although ConsumerGuide lauds the vehicle for its easily cleaned surfaces "appropriate to Patriot's rugged pretense," they complain that "Hard, unyielding plastic dominates the décor." This sentiment is mirrored by many reviewers, TheCarConnection.com included. Edmunds takes it even further and says that the 2008 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."

There are some noise complaints for the Jeep Patriot that mostly center on the CVT. Edmunds remarks, "When equipped with the CVT...the lack of fixed ratios keeps the revs on a noisy boil," and Motor Trend says that with the CVT, the powerplant "sounds like a blender under heavy acceleration, especially when bouncing around an off-road course." ConsumerGuide doesn't limit the noise comment to the Jeep Patriot's CVT, noting that in their tests, "engine noise is always present and is especially intrusive during acceleration."

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8

2008 Jeep Patriot

Safety

Standard safety features abound on the 2008 Jeep Patriot, and crash-test scores are good.

The 2008 Jeep Patriot receives high marks on safety from federal and private agencies.

The 2008 Jeep Patriot received four of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on front impact protection for drivers and rollover resistance (both 2WD and 4WD); it received five stars on front impact protection for passengers and side impact protection for both driver and rear passengers.

Although the Patriot has not been tested by IIHS, the Dodge Caliber, which shares the Chrysler C-segment platform from which the Jeep Patriot and Compass have been derived, received a "good" rating for the frontal offset crash test and a "marginal" rating for both the side impact and rear crash protection tests.

Kelley Blue Book refers to the laundry list of standard safety features on every 2008 Jeep Patriot as including 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.

Cars.com adds that four-wheel-drive Jeep Patriots get Hill Descent Control and off-road Brake Traction Control. ConsumerGuide states that for the occupants of the Jeep Patriot, "Visibility is good all around."

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2008 Jeep Patriot

Features

The 2008 Jeep Patriot has an impressive array of standard and optional equipment, as well as some unique, thoughtful touches.

Most reviews read by TheCarConnection.com praised the extensive list of options available on the 2008 Jeep Patriot.

There are two trim levels available for the 2008 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 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.

This year, all Jeep Patriot models including the base Patriot receive air conditioning as standard equipment. 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.

The 2008 Jeep Patriot Limited adds a 115-volt outlet, power accessories, cruise control, and remote keyless entry to its list of standard equipment. In addition, as Edmunds reports, 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."

Among the "uncommon options" that Cars.com refers to in their review of the 2008 Jeep is the ability to order a removable cargo area dome light that serves as a handy flashlight and a chilled glove box. ConsumerGuide likes the Patriot’s rubber-coated floor since it’s “easy to clean, perfect for carrying dirty, messy cargo."

Edmunds specifically mentions that the 2008 Jeep's option list for the Patriot Limited includes a navigation system, skid plates, and even hands-free phone connectivity.

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7.4
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Styling 8
Performance 6
Comfort & Quality 6
Safety 8
Features 9
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