I was reading the review of the 2008 Jeep Patriot over at The Car Connection. While it is a much smaller vehicle, since it is based on the Jeep Compass and Dodge Nitro platforms, it looks a lot like the old Jeep Cherokee.
The DaimlerChrysler division was unduly slow to respond to shifting market trends, until recently ignoring the addition of third-row seating, as well as low-cost crossover vehicles. But with the impending launch of the new Patriot, Jeep is wrapping up the most aggressive product offensive in its history, one that more than doubles its lineup, giving potential buyers seven separate models to choose from.
If your first glimpse of the new Patriot triggers a mild sense of dÃƒÂ©jÃƒÂ vu, that’s no surprise. The new compact SUV has a lot in common with its fraternal twin, the Jeep Compass, which launched last year. Both are based off the same, small-utility platform, (which they share with a third product, the Dodge Caliber), and are produced, side by side, at the automaker’s assembly plant in Belvedere, Illinois.
Where the softer, more feminine look of Compass underscored its cute-ute-ness, Patriot is decidedly more angular and rugged-looking, visually closer to traditional Jeeps like the Liberty and Wrangler, an intentional move meant to imply its “trail-rated” heritage.
In fact, the Patriot straddles the line between soft-roader and full SUV. The reality is that less than one in ten sport-ute owners will ever steer onto anything rougher than a gravel road. So for them, there’s the basic version of the Patriot, Dubbed Freedom Drive 1, available in either 4×2 or 4×4 configuration and starting at an extremely competitive $14,985 (which includes destination charges).
This should be a fairly popular seller for Jeep. At least I hope it is. You can get a basic Patriot which is a basic compact 4×2 SUV, or you can go a full on Trail Rated edition. While I’m sure it’s nothing like my Wrangler Rubicon, it’s still a Jeep. And that’s better than nothing.