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An Elegant Interior at an Affordable Price - The 2009 Jeep Patriot

The Jeep brand remains a label respected worldwide, thanks in part to an illustrious history and a rugged image. The 2009 Jeep Patriot redeems itself with an all new interior. The Patriot also gained some sound insulation and revised suspension tuning for 2009. At first glance, the Liberty appears to be the successor to the boxy Jeep Cherokee, the 1984 design credited with beginning the SUV craze. The Jeep Cherokee was a strong seller up until its 2001 demise. However, the Patriot, unlike the Cherokee, wasn't conceived as an off-road machine. The 2009 Patriot is based on the Dodge Caliber and Jeep Compass platform, though it has been lifted up and given a more rugged suspension. Patriot competes against the Honda CR-V, four-cylinder Ford Escape, Hyundai Tucson and Subaru Forester. The Patriot can become off-road capable with the optional Freedom Drive II group, which earns the Patriot Jeep's coveted 'Trail Ready' badge. The package includes a suspension lift, a simulated low-range and a brake-actuated locking differential, among other off-road upgrades. One cool feature on the 2009 Liberty is its integrated tailgate flop-down speaker setup, which includes a nine-speaker Boston Acoustics audio system--an ideal picnic or tailgating companion.

Patriot Cabin Features

The 2008 Patriot is well known for its basic cabin design; it possessed potentially the lowest-quality combination of plastics ever offered in a production car--resulting in shiny, hard surfaces everywhere you looked or felt. Just one model year later, with an interior that looks like it was destined for a luxury car but found its way to Jeep's Illinois factory, the Patriot has come a long way. The redesign includes a new instrument panel, door trim panels and center console, retuned suspension, and new sound deadening techniques. Option packages also have been simplified. Two rows of seats provide room for five, and the interior is trimmed in shades of gray or beige. The Patriot has several unique options, including a cargo-area dome light that can be removed and used as a flashlight. Passenger volume comes in at 101.7 cubic feet, which is about the same as its competitors. The Patriot's cargo volume is less than both its competitors. Cargo volume behind the rear seat is 23 cubic feet, 54.2 cubic feet with the standard 60/40-split folding rear bench down. The folding rear bench has a reclining option, and there is an optional passenger seat that folds forward for a flat surface.

Driving a Jeep Patriot

Jeep knows there is a low percentage of buyers who actually venture off road, let alone know what to do with a transfer case. So, it only made sense to expand the brand. The Patriot is one of the representatives of Jeep's expanding line of vehicles not designed specifically for off road use. For 2009, the Patriot receives new floor and engine compartment insulation as well as a revised exhaust resonator for a quieter ride. Revised suspension tuning also provides a smoother and more comfortable ride. The Patriot's steering feels a little slow, but it provides reasonably good feel over bumpy terrain. With 172 horsepower the Patriot isn't a speed demon, but it does motor around town well. The Patriot's engine is quiet at idle and produces a surprisingly pleasant muted growl under acceleration.

2009 Patriot Exterior

The Patriot stretches about six inches longer than the Cherokee did. The Patriot goes for a two-box configuration, unlike many of its heavily rounded competitors. The Patriot has a seven-slot grille and trapezoidal wheel-well openings. Trail-Rated Patriots have an extra inch of ground clearance, as do models with the 17-inch wheels. The Patriot is 173.6 inches long and 69.1 inches wide, which is smaller than the Escape but bigger than the Sportage.

Engine Options for the Patriot

Available is a 172-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 165 pounds-feet of torque. Standard on the 2009 Patriot is a 158-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 141 pounds-feet of torque. There are three drivelines to choose from: front-wheel drive; Freedom Drive I four-wheel drive with lock mode; and Freedom Drive II Off-Road Package, a Trail-Rated four-wheel-drive system. Freedom Drive II has a continuously variable automatic transmission, which incorporates a low range for off-road driving. It also has Hill Descent Control and Brake Traction Control.

Trims and Packages - 2009 

The Jeep Patriot comes in two models: Sport and Limited. The Sport comes standard with vinyl seats, AM/FM/CD/MP3 with four speakers, halogen headlamps, rear wiper, roof rails, fold-flat 60/40 rear seats, and 16-inch steel wheels with all-season tires. The windows, mirrors and door locks are manual. Air conditioning is optional ($850). Power windows, mirrors and door locks with remote entry are part of a Power Equipment Group ($995).

The Limited adds most, if not all, of the options in the groups, as well as 17-inch aluminum wheels, foglamps, passenger grab handles, chrome roofrails and leather-trimmed seats.

The off-road package is called Freedom Drive II, and uses the CVT with lower ratios; it adds skid plates, tow hooks, foglamps, all-terrain tires and a full-size spare tire. The Freedom II package is available for Sport 4WD and Limited 4WD.  Options include a Trailer Tow Prep Group with engine oil cooler and wiring harness ($130), a 458-watt Boston Acoustic premium sound system with nine speakers and steering wheel controls ($495), six-disc CD ($320), 6CD with navigation ($1395), Yes Essentials seating material ($250), heated seats ($250), sunroof ($1350), and 17-inch all-terrain tires ($140).


With a new interior the Jeep Liberty has improved greatly for 2009. This is the most-impressive high-value interior currently on the market in an inexpensive vehicle. A simple, elegant interior made of high quality materials at a low price can't get any better. The Compass and Patriot are Jeep's first models with four-wheel-independent suspensions. The Patriot has an EPA fuel economy of 20 ' 23 mpg for the city and 22 ' 28 mpg on the highway. Fuel economy is decent for the class, but the 4-cylinder engine feels underpowered and coarse. Safety features include frontal airbags, curtain airbags, electronic stability control, ABS, electronic brake-force distribution

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