Car Review: Jeep - Patriot  Series 07 (3 stars)

Jeep's Patriot is its most respectable model on the road, but budget price is its main draw

The Jeep Patriot is about as subtle as a brick in the face, with its overtly masculine styling and in-yer-mirrors aggressiveness. Even the name feels like a clarion call to Americans to drive foreign cars into the ocean.

What might have seemed in the American boardroom like a neat and persuasive piece of marketing comes across as slightly boorish and mildly offensive elsewhere. In the UK cars get bought on merit, there's no room for sentimental patriotism - as proven by the complete collapse of the Leyland/Austin Rover.

The Patriot is Jeep's entry-level model, and a car that needs to be successful for the brand to be able to continue to justify its presence. As ever, it is extremely capable off-road, something that is an absolute must for any Jeep that comes out of the factory.

It also seems to be a requirement that said Jeeps drive badly on the road, but surprisingly the Patriot isn't terrible to steer. The wheel is over-assisted going through corners but roll is kept admirably in check and the car feels assured going through corners. Ride isn't great, but no worse than you'd expect from a 4x4 of this size.

The problem for Jeep is those mud-plugging requirements - the Patriot would be much better tuned to the roads it will spend 98% of its time on if it could be designed from the beginning with a road bias. But such is life.

Interior quality isn't up to the standard of an obvious rival like Land Rover's Freelander, but the Patriot makes up for it with a cheaper list price and plenty of standard equipment thrown in to sweeten the deal.

The cabin plastics do tend to feel more cheap than rugged, however, and there's room inside for four people and their luggage. Unfortunately a fifth person would find it a bit too much of a squeeze, but this is the entry-level Jeep after all.

There are some petrols here that you'd be mad to touch, and the sensible option is the 2.0-litre diesel unit, which returns an impressive 40mpg. All of the engines are quite coarse and unrefined and there are no particular gems in the range.

Sadly for Jeep, the Patriot is one of the cheapest SUVs on the market, and this fact only seems to reinforce the notion that this once venerated company has now become a budget brand.

Jeep Patriot Series 07 StatisticsCar Reviews

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