Jeep Patriot 2.0
Cheaper and better looking than its Compass brother, the Jeep Patriot is an interesting alternative to a conventional family car
Cheaper and better looking than its Compass brother, the Patriot is an interesting alternative to a conventional family car. Interior quality is still off the pace when compared with European rivals, and the Volkswagen-derived diesel engine is lacking low-down torque. But if you are looking for a distinctive car that can cope with mild off-road duties, the Patriot fits the bill, and shouldn't break the bank.
Get the off-road look for less - that's the promise being made by the Jeep Patriot. The company's new entry-level model is aimed squarely at family car buyers who want something different, and combines rugged styling with a switchable four-wheel-drive system and a frugal diesel engine.
There is no mistaking its angular profile and seven-slot grille, making it look every inch the miniature Jeep. Its low ride height may be slightly at odds with its off-road appearance, but the car is still more appealing to look at than its Compass brother, with which it shares its VW-derived diesel engine.
On board, there's further evidence of parts sharing between the two, as the simple cabin design borrows heavily from the Compass. Low-grade plastics and cheap switchgear dominate inside, although the bluff centre console is improved by silver trim.
The Patriot really scores in terms of practicality, with plenty of space in the back for passengers and a decent 536-litre boot. It comes with a washable floor and expands to 1,277 litres if you fold the rear seats flat.
Out on the road, the diesel engine is short on low-down punch, meaning you have to use the entire rev range for decent progress. The smooth six-speed manual gearbox assists the driver in achieving this, and makes the most of the performance. On demanding roads, the Jeep's stunted height ensures adequate handling, and while the oil-burner isn't the most refined around, it can return up to 42mpg.
The low bodywork will prevent any serious mud-plugging, but that's not going to deter buyers - especially as the Patriot makes good on its promise of tough looks and affordability.