2010 Jeep Patriot
2010 Jeep Patriot. Click image to enlarge

Related articles on Autos
First Drive: 2007 Jeep Patriot
Test Drive: 2007 Jeep Patriot Limited
Test Drive: 2008 Jeep Patriot North
Test Drive: 2008 Jeep Patriot Limited
Inside Story: 2007 Jeep Patriot
Buyer’s Guide: 2007 Jeep Patriot
Buyer’s Guide: 2008 Jeep Patriot
Buyer’s Guide: 2009 Jeep Patriot
Buyer’s Guide: 2010 Jeep Patriot

Manufacturer’s web site
Jeep Canada

Join Autos’s Facebook group
Follow Autos on Twitter

Review and photos by Greg Wilson

Find this vehicle in Autos’s Classified Ads

Photo Gallery:
2010 Jeep Patriot

It’s got the rugged Jeep looks, but the compact Jeep Patriot is more like a Dodge Caliber than a Jeep Wrangler. The Patriot shares its standard front-wheel drive layout, unit body design, fully independent suspension and choice of two four-cylinder engines with its Chrysler siblings, the Dodge Caliber and Jeep Compass. It’s in the same class as compact hatchbacks like the Mazda3, Toyota Matrix, Volkswagen Golf, Kia Soul, Hyundai Elantra Touring, Nissan Versa, and Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback.

However, when equipped with Jeep’s optional Freedom Drive II Off-road Group, the Patriot transforms into a dual purpose SUV-like vehicle, similar to compact SUVs like the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Chevrolet Equinox, Hyundai Tucson, and GMC Terrain.

Freedom Drive II includes an on-demand all-wheel drive system that sends up to 60 per cent of the torque to the rear wheels automatically for best traction, but also includes a driver-selectable 4WD differential lock which locks up the front/rear power distribution in a 50/50 split at low speeds. As well, Freedom Drive II includes a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with a low-range crawl ratio (8.135) but without the manual AutoStick manual shift mode found in the standard CVT. The package also includes an engine oil cooler; 140-amp alternator; hill descent control; 17-inch OWL off-road tires and five-spoke alloy wheels; an extra inch of ground clearance (total nine inches), front and rear tow hooks; fuel tank and transmission/oil pan skid plates; trailer tow wiring harness; front and rear rubber floor mats; and front fog lights.

2010 Jeep Patriot
2010 Jeep Patriot. Click image to enlarge

The Patriot with Freedom Drive II is “Trail Rated”, an in-house rating that Jeep gives to its vehicles that meet certain strict off-road standards for water fording, wheel articulation, manoeuvrability and ground clearance. The Patriot with this option offers a 29.6-degree approach angle, 34.2-degree departure angle, 23.3-degree breakover angle, and a 19-inch water-fording capability. To keep the water out, the Trail Rated Patriot has additional body sealing and high-mounted drivetrain vents.

As well, Trail Rated Patriots come with Hill-descent Control (HDC), and Hill-start Assist (HSA) (manual transmission models), in addition to standard Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Electronic-roll Mitigation (ERM), Brake Assist, Brake-traction Control System (BTCS), four-wheel discs with ABS, front and side curtain air bags.

Of course, those Patriot owners who don’t want or need off-road ability can order standard front-wheel drive, or the non-Trail Rated 4X4 system called “Freedom Drive I”. The latter is a similar on-demand all-wheel drive system that also includes a driver-selectable differential lock to increase low-speed traction, and is available with the standard five-speed manual transmission as well as an optional CVT but without the low range feature and the extra ground clearance.

But for those who want a relatively inexpensive and practical everyday vehicle that’s also capable of going off-road when needed, the Patriot with Freedom Drive II is a good alternative to a Jeep Wrangler or traditional compact sport utility vehicle.

Pricing and standard features

Like last year, the 2010 Jeep Patriot comes in three trim levels: Sport ($14,795), North ($17,795) and Limited ($20,795). The North edition is exclusive to Canada.

2010 Jeep Patriot
2010 Jeep Patriot. Click image to enlarge

Standard is a 172-hp 2.4-litre DOHC 16-valve VVT four-cylinder engine with five-speed manual or optional continuously variable transmission with manual “AutoStick” operation; Patriots with the 2.4-litre engine can be optioned with Freedom Drive I or Freedom Drive II all-wheel drive systems. Sport and North models are also available with an optional 158-hp 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with five-speed manual or CVT, but only in front-wheel drive.

Standard features on the base Patriot Sport include 16-inch all-season tires and steel wheels, front disc/rear drum brakes with ABS (four-wheel discs on 4X4s), traction control, stability control, dual front airbags and dual curtain airbags (side airbags are optional), Vinyl-Tech seats, 60/40 split-folding second-row seatbacks, AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio with auxiliary input, tilt steering column, wind-up windows, manual door locks, manual mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, intermittent rear washer/wiper, front and rear assist handles, floor console with illuminated cupholders, floor mats, rechargeable flashlight, map lights, removable cargo area load floor, block heater, and tire pressure warning lamp. Air conditioning can be added as an option.

The exclusive to Canada North Edition adds air conditioning, Stain Repel seat fabric, height-adjustable driver’s seat, fold-flat front passenger seat, 60/40 split-folding and reclining second-row seat, power windows with driver’s auto-down, power door locks, power heated mirrors, tinted glass, 115-volt power outlet, removable and rechargeable flashlight, and a ‘North’ badge.

2010 Jeep Patriot
2010 Jeep Patriot
2010 Jeep Patriot. Click image to enlarge

The Limited adds 17-inch tires and alloy wheels, fog lamps, bright trim, heated leather seats, six-way power driver’s seat with lumbar support, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, Sirius satellite radio, cruise control, and vehicle information centre.

My test vehicle was a North 4X4 model ($19,995) with $5,100 worth of options, including the optional Freedom Drive II off-road group $1,050; CVT with off-road crawl ratio $1,750; Security and Cargo Convenience Group which includes side airbags, vehicle information centre, auto dimming rear-view mirror, heated front seats, alarm, rear cargo cover, and adjustable Roof Rail Crossbars for $1,000; Media Centre 230 6CD/DVD/MP3 audio system $475; Sirius Satellite Radio which includes a one-year Sirius satellite radio subscription, UConnect Voice Command w/Bluetooth phone; iPod Control, and microphone in the rear-view mirror for $625; and a full-size spare tire for $200. Including a Freight charge of $1,400 and a/c tax $100, the as tested price came to $26,595. Currently, Jeep is offering a $3,000 cash rebate which would bring that down to $23,595.

Connect with Autos.ca