2016 Jeep Patriot: Small, But Still Perfectly Capable

 

 

 

The 2016 Jeep Patriot for sale might be on the smaller end of the brand's model lineup, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less capable than its siblings. This little SUV actually has unsurpassed off-road capability in the small crossover/utility segment, and is Trail Rated when equipped with the Freedom Drive II group, which means it’s able to take on the Rubicon trail, a legendary and difficult trail for off-road vehicles to complete. On top of all that, it has engines that are both powerful and efficient, so you can have fun in the woods and enjoy efficiency on the streets. 

The new Patriot is also equipped with plenty of capable and adventure ready components, which are there to make your life on the trail both safer and easier.

 

Powerful and Efficient Engines

 

 

The two engine options on the Patriot provide powerful capability, combined with surprisingly exceptional fuel-efficiency. The first engine choice, the 2.0-liter, is strictly for those looking for the efficiency on the street, with fewer stops at the pump, but who also still want something that provides enough power for bad weather. The 2.4-liter, however, bumps up the power, and is what you should opt for if you are looking to do any kind of off-roading. 

2.0-Liter 

The 2.0-liter DOHC 16-valve engine puts out 158 horsepower and 141 lb-ft of torque. Those are modest numbers for a vehicle this size, and provide plenty of kick for merging on the highway. What the attention should really be focused on, however, is the fuel economy this vehicle delivers. A front-wheel drive model with the five-speed manual transmission, for example, gets up to 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, and 22 mpg city and 26 mpg highway from an automatic transmission. Between the modest power and decent fuel economy, this engine strikes a nice balance for the highway traveler. 

2.4-Liter 

The second engine, the 2.4-liter World engine, puts out 172 horsepower and 165 lb-ft of torque. Is it anything crazy? No, but it provides plenty of power for off-roading adventures. Plus, it receives a tow rating of 2,000 pounds with the proper equipment on board. This engine can only be paired to a Patriot that’s equipped with either the Freedom Drive I all-wheel drive or the Freedom Drive II group. The fuel-efficiency isn’t too bad either, coming in at a 23 mpg city and 29 mpg highway rating, but when enhanced with the Freedom Drive II package, which provides a CVT for simulated low-range gearing, the Patriot gets an expectedly lower 20 mpg city and 23 mpg highway. 

But apart from the simulated low-gearing, what other type of off-roading capability comes with the Freedom Drive II group?

 

Trail Rated With Freedom Drive II

 

 

The simple answer to that question is: everything and anything you could ever need off-roading. The long answer? Get ready… 

Freedom Drive I 

First and foremost, the Freedom Drive II package takes everything from the Freedom Drive I package and then adds some more onto it. Therefore, it’s important to understand what comes with the Freedom Drive I group. For starters, this available system provides the Patriot with an active, full-time 4x4 system. This system incorporates Brake Traction Control and selectable LOCK mode. It also comes with an Electronically Controlled Coupling for monitoring wheel slippage, and if it detects any, can transfer torque to the axle that needs it most. This coupling can be completely locked for tougher driving situations, providing 50/50 front/rear locked axles. Locking these axles forces both wheels to move together, which you’d figure is what four-wheel drive is for. But, in order to have both wheels (on the same axle) moving together, you need to lock them. This adds a whole new level of low-speed capability and control for tougher terrain. 

Freedom Drive II 

This is the next step up for off-road prowess, and essentially builds on the components found on the Freedom Drive I group. Installed on the 2016 Jeep Patriot, the vehicle benefits from a selectable locking Off-Road mode with Hill Descent Control. HDC helps monitor the throttle, speed, and braking when driving down hill. That way, you don’t risk going too fast or stopping too hard, potentially getting yourself stuck partway downhill, or worse - causing the Patriot to roll. For crawling over more rugged terrain, the Freedom Drive II package also adds grade-sensing features and a boost to the crawl ratio. The boost to the crawl ratio makes it easier to get the Patriot over that rugged terrain and even gives it rock-crawl capability. For traveling on the road, when the Off-Road LOCK mode isn’t engaged, the torque is still adjusted on demand for added control in hazardous weather. 

Overall, the Freedom Drive II group provides the ultimate equipment for whatever type of off-road capability is needed, allowing the Patriot to go through deep snow, mud, and even 19 inches of water, which turns this little SUV into a versatile one.

 

Capable and Adventure Ready Components

 

 

Apart from Freedom Drive II, the 2016 Jeep Patriot also comes with plenty of other capable and adventure ready gear. For example, the available heavy-duty forged steel tow hooks are mounted directly on the frame in the front. The loops poke out just far enough from the bumper in order to attach a rope, strap, or chain. There is also a hook on the back, which is mounted directly to the rear-frame for increased strength and support. All of these hooks are perfect for helping tug your buddy out of a tough spot on a trail, or even just the unfortunate, accidental off-roader, who decided to drive a sedan in a snow storm. 

Speaking of colder climates, those tow hooks are part of an all-weather capability group, which helps the Patriot 4x4 handle harsh conditions. All-terrain tires, tow hooks, daytime running lamps, an engine block heater, and all-season floor mats are all rolled into a single convenient package. That way if you live in a snowy climate, you are ready to face that cold commute head-on. 

Skid plates are available with the Freedom Drive II group, and help protect the underside of the vehicle from any rocks, stumps, or protruding roots that might be found while off-roading. They can even be useful on the road, considering the abundance of natural and man-made debris found on or around most streets. 

Regardless of the type of adventure you plan to have, the Patriot has the capability to navigate it. With the Freedom Drive II group's off-road components, and the 2.4-liter engine, the 2016 Jeep Patriot is ready and waiting to go tackle those off-road trails with you. Or, safely and efficiently get you from point A to point B on that snowy, muddy, sandy, or bumpy back road morning commute.