NEW FOR 2008:

– Auto/Stick manual shift mode included on all CVTs (except with Trail Rated Off-Road Group)
– UConnect hands-free communication system added to Security and Cargo Convenience Group on Limited
– Cruise control available on Sport
– YES Essentials stain-resistant fabric standard on North
– Available auto-dimming rearview mirror, Homelink garage door opener, tire pressure monitoring display, and electronic vehicle information centre
– Light Khaki Metallic exterior colour available with Beige and Grey interiors

An all-new model in 2007, the Jeep Patriot receives some upgrades to its standard and available features. Slotting in between the Compass and Liberty, it’s based on the same platform as the Compass and the Dodge Caliber, and is available in front- or four-wheel drive. Unlike the Compass, it is available with a four-wheel system that earns it the company’s “Trail-Rated” off-road designation.

The Patriot is available as the Sport, North and Limited, with a choice of two engines. A 2.4-litre four-cylinder is standard equipment on all three lines, and comes with a five-speed manual or two optional CVTs, one of which has low range for off-road applications. A 2.0-litre four-cylinder with CVT can be optioned on front-wheel versions of the Sport and North.

In addition to front-wheel drive, the Patriot is available with two 4×4 systems: Freedom Drive I, a full-time, active four-wheel system with lock mode, which sends up to 60 per cent of torque to the rear wheels when locked; and the Freedom Drive II Off-Road Package, which includes a 19:1 low ratio, off-road brake traction control, hill-descent control and brake lock differentials. This package is the only one with the Trail Rated designation.

Features on the Sport include 16-inch steel wheels, disc/drum brakes with ABS, full-length floor console, floor mats, vinyl cargo floor, manual locks, windows and mirrors, Vinyl-Tech fabric seats, 60/40 split folding rear seat, theft deterrent system, CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary jack, tilt column, tire pressure warning lamp, variable intermittent wipers and rear intermittent washer/wiper.

The North package – strictly a Canadian offering – adds air conditioning, deep-tint sunscreen glass, assist handles, power locks with keyless remote, removable and rechargeable flashlight, power mirrors, 115-volt power outlet, power windows, reclining 60/40 split folding rear seat, fold-flat front passenger seat, driver’s height-adjustable seat, and YES Essentials stain-resistant fabric.

The Limited adds 17-inch aluminum wheels, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, vehicle information centre, garage door opener, fog lamps, auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated leather seats, cruise control, and leather-wrapped wheel.

While it may seem unusual to offer both the Compass and Patriot, vehicles which look very similar at first glance, there are enough differences between them, including a roomier feel to the Patriot’s interior, more traditional Jeep styling, and the available Trail Rated designation; although it will get left behind in the Wrangler’s rock-dust, the Patriot will still do well for those who want to get off the beaten trail, but not really deep into the woods.

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