Believe it or not, the Patriot has been around since model-year 2007. For its fifth year on the market, it receives a refresh with minor styling changes and new features. Part of the goal is achieving philosophical realignment (fancy talk for a crossover, huh?) by updating the styling on the company's two crossovers. This makes the new Compass look more like the Grand Cherokee, and the Patriot similar to the Liberty and Wrangler.
To this end, the Patriot got a new front fascia with a new grille and foglamps, new rear end, and new side cladding, and the muffler is now painted black. In addition, ride height was increased by an inch on all-wheel-drive models without Freedom Drive II, increasing it to 9.5. But in all honesty, it would take a Patriot fanatic or someone with a great eye for detail to see the difference. Inside, styling changes are more noticeable. The Patriot receives the new Jeep steering wheel, with available steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. It also gets softer touch points on the door and center console, a feature that gives the interior a higher quality look and feel. Cruise control is now standard on all models, whether base Sport, midrange Latitude, or topline Latitude X, front- or all-wheel drive. Options include an iPod connection, Sirius Travel Link, exterior brightwork, and an all-weather group. Base prices range from $16,695 to $24,595.
We had the opportunity to drive the new Patriot, on and off-road, in the snow and cold of Wyoming. We were in a Natural Green Pearl Latitude 4x4 equipped with the 2.4-liter four, CVT2L (with low gear), 17-inch wheels, Freedom Drive II, and the media center with CD/DVD, MP3, HDD, and Sirius with UConnectwith as-tested price of $25,410.