2007 Jeep Patriot
2007 Jeep Patriot. Click image to enlarge


Review and photos by Michael Clark

Photo Gallery: 2007 Jeep Patriot

There has been a bit of a name game in recent years in regards to the
classic station wagon. Most manufacturers have adopted hipster branding such
as ‘crossover’ or ‘active life vehicle’ to allay the fears of customers that
wear their cool on their sleeves. I hate to burst your bubble, but anything
with five doors on a car platform with a cargo bunion is as much a station
wagon as my ’66 Laurentian Safari was – with radio delete.

The Jeep Patriot is trying to save face for the whimsical “go anywhere with
pavement” styling of the Compass. A Jeep should look like a Jeep, even if it
doesn’t get its tires dirty. The Limited is the top juice. Let’s see if
it’s sweet or tart inside.


Engine compartment

All Patriot models are powered by a transverse-mount four-banger. Standard
shift means the 2.4-litre mill. Fluid fill points are clearly marked, with
relative access ease.

2007 Jeep Patriot
2007 Jeep Patriot. Click image to enlarge

The hood prop rod is easy to find: Safety Yellow tends
to catch the eye. If only it caught the access hole in the hood without
feeling like I was reaming a new hole. The air snorkel needs to be removed
for battery access. The air filter box is front and centre, and the plastic
engine cover should reveal an easily-worked mill when removed. The headlamp
bulbs are easy to reach, but the obvious concern is the amount of
unprotected wiring under the hood. It looks like something I wired.


Spare tire/cargo area


2007 Jeep Patriot
2007 Jeep Patriot. Click image to enlarge

The good news is the existence of a full-sized spare under the interior
cargo floor cover, until you check the option box; it’s a $175 touch. At
least you’re not mucking around underneath the Patriot with a cable or
cradle assembly. Roadside assistance applies for the length of the five
year/100,000 km warranty. Hiding the spare is a thick cargo cover,
constructed of some form of plastic diamond plate. Spring for a cargo net,
unless you like the percussion beat of your items rolling about on this
gripless surface. Making the cover reversible, with a traditional carpet
material, might be the easy fix. There are cargo hooks, which are stiff and
almost in need of a screwdriver to push into usability.

2007 Jeep Patriot
2007 Jeep Patriot
2007 Jeep Patriot. Click image to enlarge

The rear bumper has
a grip portion, which assists in any roof rack activities. The roof rack has
adjustable crossbars, which are equipped with dedicated tether points for
your tie-down straps. Nothing says outdoors like a flashlight, and the
Patriot has a wireless pop-out unit housed in the rear roof-mount cargo
light housing. That should help compensate for the MSRP of $25,695. Well, a
little bit, anyway.

The retractable cargo cover has two positions available,
which allows for rear seat recline and cargo area security. The drop-down
rear speaker unit reminds me of the Lloyds suburb-blaster I had in my salad
days. I had no idea my family was so poor. It doesn’t lock into place, nor
does it appear to have any retractable capability. I like the concept; let’s
dispense with some design execution. A rear window wiper/washer is part of
the basics.


Interior

I thought the name ‘Limited’ wasn’t to be taken so literally when it’s glued
to the back of a motor vehicle. The solar control glass hides a
less-than-inspired cabin.

2007 Jeep Patriot
2007 Jeep Patriot
2007 Jeep Patriot. Click image to enlarge

I’m not sure where the Old or New Chrysler is
getting their leather, but I’ve sat on leatherette that could give it a run
for its money. There is a console-mounted AC power inverter plug-in, which
obviously didn’t get the memo about my three-pronged cord for my laptop.
There is one, count ’em, one measly 12-volt DC plug-in point in the entire
Jeep. There’s a fold-out ‘tongue’ on the console, which appears destined to
hold an MP3 player or a cell phone. About that MP3 player; there’s no
auxiliary plug-in point on the stereo. There’s a cable indent on the rear of
the tongue, which allows you to wind the charger around to the front
12-volt – if it can reach. It also advertises that something is in there to
thieves with expert precision. Put a holder on the inside of the console
door, and an inner 12-volt plug-in – like the rest of the planet.

The armrest
does slide, which would be great if it, and any other portion of interior
plastic, had any form of padding. Door pockets did not receive any form of
shaping, so forget about stuffing a drink bottle in the cavities. There are
two cupholders up front, with sizing best suited to cans and paper coffee
cups. A similar receptacle is found on the rear of the console. The 60/40
split rear seat does not possess a centre fold-down armrest. The T-handle
for the 4WD lock is found in chromed splendour on the floor console. Visors
have the ability to slide to block out the Sun, but there are no internal
extenders.

2007 Jeep Patriot
2007 Jeep Patriot. Click image to enlarge

The dashboard has the same open cubby first seen on the Compass. The edges
are still as sharp as my scars remember. It needs a door, as in six months
ago. Driver’s side window has an auto-down step. Speaking of steps, the
front heated seats each have a two-step switch for the toasting of the buns.
The steering wheel-mounted audio controls are the guess-what variety. (They
live on the rear of the wheel. You’ll figure it out.) The tilt wheel has a
strange anomaly; about an eighth of an inch of telescope. The driver’s seat
has height adjustment, as well as manual lumbar support. The front passenger
seat can be folded flat for lengthy cargo conundrums – or dinner for one at
the local drive-thru.


Clarkey rating

I wanted so much to like the Patriot. The proportions and skin are such a
dramatic improvement over the Compass, it begs the question of Why Bother
for the Compass for the coming model year. While the exterior is pure Jeep
inspiration, the interior is pure corporate blah. There seems to be little
to no passion in the overall design, and even a removable flashlight has a
hard job of making up for what’s missing. Sorry Jeep; you’re only getting
two and a half stars. It’s my patriotic duty.

Next week: 2007 Chevy HHR Panel

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