Russ Smith

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Buy with care, follow our advice and this could be your next great value, all-season tow car – so make sure you read our used Jeep Patriot review

For those who found the Cherokee a bit too big, expensive or off-roady, Jeep introduced the Patriot in 2007. Seemingly styled with assistance from Lego, the Patriot is still a four-by-four but of the ‘soft-roader’ variety rather than a full-on mud-plugger.

What made it attractive when new was a competitive price range of £15,995-£18,795 that plonked it squarely in hatchback territory and undercut the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Land Rover Freelander – the last by at least a third.

While the Patriot isn’t a proper off-roader, it is still a Jeep so it would do the badge a disservice if it weren’t up to the job when the going got tough. So don’t worry that it will let you down when it has to drag the tourer uphill or off a waterlogged site. There’s a button to switch between selectable and permanent four-wheel drive, and it will deal with most situations.

Early reports were good, with reservations about the quality of some materials, so let’s see how it is proving long-term in our used Jeep Patriot review, looking at models built between 2007 and 2011.

Model history

The Patriot was launched in the UK in August 2007 with a choice of two engines: a 2.4-litre four-cylinder 168bhp/162lb ft petrol unit and a 2.0 turbodiesel four-pot producing 138bhp and 229lb ft torque. The latter was bought in from Volkswagen and, while that company’s image has been tarnished recently, we have grown to love and trust its power units over the years. It’s not the most refined-sounding engine, but get used to it because it’s what you’ll find in most Patriots – almost 85% of sales were of diesel-powered variants.

That diesel was sold with a six-speed manual gearbox; there was no auto option. The petrol engine only got a five-speed, but in its higher-spec form could be ordered with a CVT automatic gearbox.

The Patriot came in two versions: Sport cost less, but still came with air-con, 17in alloys, electronic stability programme (ESP), a tilting steering column and side-curtain airbags. Limited spec added leather seats – the front pair heated – plus painted side mouldings, shiny roof rails and tinted glass.

After criticism that they looked cheap inside, they got a makeover inside in 2009, with smoother surfaces, chrome accents and upgraded sound systems.

In July 2010, the VW diesel was replaced by a 2.2 CRD Mercedes-Benz unit with 161bhp and a small torque increase to 236lb ft. Economy remained the same at 42mpg, but the towing limit was raised from 1500kg to 2000kg. The six-speed manual was the only transmission offered. This version wasn’t around for long because the Patriot was replaced by the Compass in February 2011.

Trouble spots

There seems to be a wide variation in build quality at Jeep. Some people have run them for four of five years and added 80,000 miles or more and haven’t had a peep out of them. Others... Well, read on.

If the diesel engine seems to lack mid-range pull on your test drive, it is likely to be a split turbo pipe. They appear prone to this and it’s a £200-£300 fix. Also on your test, feel for any clutch slip; try to find a hill to drive up. On some Patriots, there can be an annoying resonance through the body at 2000-2500rpm under load, and there doesn’t seem to be a cure. Move on.

The Limited model with leather seats may sound appealing, but there are lots of incidences of leather splitting; see whether this has happened or is starting, particularly on the driver’s seat. Other interior materials don’t take well to hard use, so look around and decide how much scruffiness you can live with. Test the air-con – failures seem quite common – and check everything electrical: windows, central locking and anything else with a switch.

Rust doesn’t seem to be an issue yet, but corroded alloys are. The lacquer coating isn’t of the highest quality and water gets underneath. It’s only unsightly, but factor in at least £250 to refinish a full set.

Listen for clonks from the suspension. The balljoints wear pretty quickly on these, so ask when they were last replaced – you’d hope it would be in the service records. It’s going to be a regular expense, but probably not one you want immediately.

Verdict

There’s a lot to like about the Patriot, and most people who tow with them have nothing but praise. You get a lot of car for the money, with an element of getting what you pay for with trim quality and other finishes. But buy with great care and no small amount of detective work on the history file. What you want to see is a regular run of uneventful services. Fear any that boast of having had much spent on them, because that now seems a good clue to a wrong ’un, and they just keep on taking.

If you're looking at used Jeep Patriots for sale and money is no object, we'd advise buying one with the Mercedes-Benz engine. This brings more power, a 500kg higher towing limit, plus £20 less for road tax than the 2.0. However, we would avoid the Patriot 2.4 Limited with the CVT auto, because this has most of the bad points: low pulling power, the unhelpful CVT gearbox, split-prone leather seats and, despite these issues, higher prices.

What you need to know

Surprisingly for cars that are five to nine years old, there is a high number of one-owner examples about; that’s usually a good sign. It’s best to steer clear of the cheapest, but we did spot a tempting one-owner 2007 2.0 CRD with 85,000 on the clock and full dealer and specialist history – all for £3950. The book says petrol models ought to be cheaper, but sellers seem to disagree and there are a lot fewer to choose from.

There are even fewer 2.2 CRDs being offered; the cheapest we could find cost £8390 and most are close to £10,000. They’re always going to be more desirable, and will hold their value better.

Here are some useful figures (for a 2008 Patriot 2.0 CRD Sport):

  • Kerbweight 1685kg
  • 85% match 1432kg
  • Towing limit 1500kg
  • Towball limit 105kg

If you're looking to go caravanning with a Jeep Patriot, you'll need to fit a towball. According to quotes from PF Jones, a Westfalia flange towbar will cost £106.27 to fit and a Witter detachable towbar will be £195.84 (fitting extra).

And what about servicing? An interim service on a Patriot will be £114.23 and a full service will come in at £180.13, according to quotes we received from Servicing Stop.

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