I say that the Jeep Liberty and the Patriot are forgotten because, well, they’re now defunct. The Liberty is the older sibling and it had a short but eventful 10-year stint in the family lineup from 2002 to 2012. In fact, the Liberty was actually a reincarnation of the more familiar Jeep Cherokee.
The Patriot was launched in 2007 as a bigger alternative to the compass, or a smaller alternative to the Liberty depending on how you look at it. 10 years was enough for the mother company, Chrysler, to call it quits on this vehicle as well, leaving a legion of fans in its wake.
I decided to delve into the world of these two lost Jeeps to find out everything that differentiates them in order to bring you this in-depth Jeep Liberty vs Patriot comparison article. You’ll find out which one performs better on-road and off-road, and whether it’s worth buying either one in the used car market today.
To be as fair as I possibly can, I’ve compared the final year of the Liberty (2012) to the final year of the Patriot (2017). This is because the final years were as refined as they could possibly be after the company worked on a lot of the issues that plagued the earlier models.
Bottom Line Up Front
Both the Liberty and the Patriot lack engine power, with both feeling quite sluggish. However, I would choose the Patriot over the Liberty because it’s prettier, offers better fuel economy, and has more transmission options, with either the 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic as my top choices. Still, their competitors like the Honda CRV, RAV4, Ford Escape, and Subaru Forester offer more value for money.
Main Differences Between Jeep Liberty vs Patriot
The main differences between Jeep Liberty vs Patriot are:
- Jeep Liberty was launched in 2002 and was discontinued in 2012, whereas Jeep Patriot was launched in 2007 and was discontinued in 2017.
- The Jeep Liberty’s biggest engine is a 3.7-liter V6, whereas the Jeep Patriot’s biggest engine is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder.
- The Liberty’s most powerful engine produces 210 horsepower, whereas the Patriot’s most powerful engine produces 172 horsepower.
- The standard transmission in a Liberty is a 4-speed automatic, whereas the standard transmission in a Patriot is a 5-speed manual.
- The Liberty has a rear-wheel drive model, whereas the Patriot has a front-wheel drive model.
- Jeep Patriot’s maximum towing capacity is 1000 lbs, whereas Jeep Liberty can tow up to 5000 lbs.
- The Jeep Liberty has Limited, Limited Jet, and Sport trim levels, whereas the Jeep Patriot has Latitude and Sport trims.
Key Features of the Jeep Liberty vs Jeep Patriot Generations
The Jeep Liberty came into the scene as a reincarnation of the Cherokee in 2002. This first generation ran until 2007, with a minor facelift in 2005. Then, in 2007, the company decided to isolate the Liberty from the Cherokee by giving it a totally different look for the second generation.
2008 saw the launch of the new-look Liberty, marking a new generation for this vehicle. I have mixed feelings about the look of the second-generation Liberty. On one hand, it’s more rugged and stout, but on the other hand, I hate it! It’s just my opinion, so don’t crucify me, Liberty lovers.
That said, the new generation got a higher-quality interior, four-wheel drive, and a sunroof in some models. Jeep were proud of what the Liberty had evolved into; a more off-road capable compact SUV.
Sadly, the Liberty’s second generation was its last, and the company opted to revert to the Cherokee brand.
Find out about the Jeep Liberty years that were most problematic.
When the Patriot was launched in 2007, it was meant to sit between the smaller Compass and the larger Liberty. In fact, the Compass was closer to the Patriot in size and performance than the Liberty, which had a much larger engine. Both the Patriot and the Compass were based on the same platform, but Jeep insisted that these were different vehicles for different markets. I tend to disagree, but that’s a story for another day.
The first generation ran until 2010 before giving way to the second generation for the 2011 model. This new iteration got a slight facelift, but this was merely cosmetic, except for a new 6-speed automatic transmission alongside the 5-speed manual and the CVT.
Just like the Liberty, the Patriot wasn’t able to live beyond its second generation and was discontinued in 2017. But, unlike the Liberty, which lives on as the Cherokee, the Patriot hasn’t been reincarnated; the Compass continued to serve this market segment alone.
I’ll say it again for those at the back who didn’t hear me; the second-generation Jeep Liberty is hideous, and the blame goes for the oddly-shaped headlights. I know a lot of you might disagree, but I just think the first generation was prettier.
The Liberty has a boxy shape with an overall length of 176.9 inches and a wheelbase of 106.1 inches. I don’t mind the boxy shape; in fact, I think it gives it a more rugged appeal (those headlights, though!).
The Patriot is also a boxy vehicle, but not to the degree of the Liberty. Chrysler maintained the traditional Jeep circular headlights in this SUV and the iconic vertical grille slats. Compared to the Liberty, the Patriot looks more appealing, but it still doesn’t win any awards for looks. However, I’d pick this design any day over the Liberty’s design.
The Jeep Patriot is slightly shorter than the Liberty, with an overall length of 173.8 inches and a wheelbase of 103.7 inches. It’s also narrower.
However, the Patriot sits higher from the ground than the Liberty, with a ground clearance of 8.1 inches versus 7.8 inches, respectively.
Here’s a table summarizing the differences in dimensions between the Liberty and the Patriot.
|Dimensions||Jeep Liberty (Inches)||Jeep Patriot (Inches)|
Both these vehicles have basic interiors that reviewers had a field day deriding. I get using a spartan interior in a hardcore offroader like the Wrangler, but a compact SUV like the Patriot and Liberty is meant for city driving and needs a bit more luxury.
Granted, the top trim levels in both have leather accents, but you still get a hard-plastic dash. You could always get accessories to spice up the interior.
The Patriot’s interior quality, though incomparable to competitors, is marginally better than the Liberty.
Both the Patriot and the Liberty have an almost equal amount of interior space. Surprisingly, the Patriot’s front headroom is slightly more, measuring 41 inches as opposed to the Liberty’s 40.4 inches. This is flipped in the rear, with the Liberty boasting rear headroom of 40.8 inches versus the Patriot’s 39.9 inches. Check out the table below for a detailed breakdown of these two vehicles’ interior specifications.
|Dimensions||Jeep Liberty (Inches)||Jeep Patriot (Inches)|
|Front shoulder room||57.1||54.5|
|Rear shoulder room||56.6||54|
The Liberty is roomier than the Patriot, and it’s a better choice for carrying three passengers in the rear seat, thanks to the extra shoulder room. However, note that these are just marginal differences of an inch or two.
Engines, Transmission, and Performance
Under the hood is where the biggest differences are found. The Liberty has a 3.7-liter V6 engine as standard, which produces 210 horsepower. On the other hand, the Patriot has two engine options: a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 158 horsepower and a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder with 172 horsepower.
Performance in the Liberty’s V6 is, as reviewers put it, adequate. It doesn’t help the situation that it only comes with a 4-speed automatic transmission. Granted, this V6 does a decent job when it comes to towing, as it can pull up to 5,000 lbs. However, you’ll weep uncontrollably at the pump as, despite its sluggishness, only offers 16mpg in the city and 22mpg on the highway.
The Patriot’s smaller engine can either be mated to a 5-speed manual or a CVT. Don’t get the CVT; it pushes the engine to high RPMs and is loud. Go for the manual transmission to get the best out of this small engine.
Still, I would opt for the 2.4-liter engine in the Patriot with either the 5-speed manual or the 6-speed automatic. These engines are as sluggish as the one in the Liberty, but at least they offer better fuel economy. The smaller engine offers 23mpg in the city and 30mpg on the highway while the bigger one manages 20mpg and 26mpg in the city and highway, respectively.
Granted, these aren’t the best numbers compared to the Patriot’s competitors, but they’re still better than the Liberty.
Towing in the Patriot is dwarfed by the Liberty; it can only pull 1000 lbs.
Both vehicles have two-wheel and four-wheel-drive iterations, but the Patriot’s 2WD model is front-wheel while the Liberty’s is rear-wheel. Unless you’re looking for a car to go drifting with, I would recommend a front-wheel drive, especially for a compact SUV.
Otherwise, these are Jeeps, and their best versions are four-wheel drive, at least according to me. Both the Patriot and the Liberty have great off-roading capabilities, with decent ground clearance and departure/approach angles.
Both also offer hill descent control, hill start assist, and low-range gearing. The Liberty’s larger engine with more torque gives it the edge over the Patriot in offroad conditions.
However, the Liberty’s on-road performance is uncouth, to say the least. Its height gives it lots of body roll in corners, and it has the agility of a canoe. It’s not all bad news, though; the Liberty has a smooth ride thanks to its solid rear axle and independent front suspension.
The Patriot’s ride is also smooth, and handling is decent, but there’s also body roll in this vehicle, although not as much as its sibling.
Jeep Liberty Pros and Cons
- It has a high towing capacity for a compact SUV.
- The Liberty has good offroading performance.
- There’s decent interior space.
- The Liberty’s interior is too basic.
- Its on-road handling is below average.
- The engine is slow.
- It has a high fuel consumption.
- There’s a lot of cabin noise.
- Its safety ratings are wanting.
Jeep Patriot Pros and Cons
- The Patriot has decent fuel economy.
- It has a decent Jeep-like look.
- Its off-road performance is good.
- It has a practical interior with lots of storage compartments.
- It has an affordable base price.
- There are three transmission options.
- The interior feels cheap.
- Its engine is slow.
- The CVT transmission struggles off-road.
- It has lots of cabin noise.
Alternative Compact SUVs to Consider
1. Honda CR-V
Hondas are known for their reliability, and the CR-V is no different. In fact, according to RepairPal, this SUV has a reliability rating of 4.5 out of 5.0, and it has low ownership costs. This alone is enough reason to consider the CR-V over the Liberty and Patriot.
The CR-V has had a more successful run than its Jeep competitors; it’s currently in its fifth generation, which was launched in 2017. The SUV has undergone several redesigns over its lifetime, and, I must say, it has a more appealing look than the Jeeps. However, I admit, the CR-V doesn’t look as rugged and off-road capable as the Patriot or Liberty.
But, Honda doesn’t market this as an off-road vehicle; it’s more of a city/highway SUV. Thus, the CR-V’s ride quality and handling are at the top of the game. Its Achilles heel, however, is the underwhelming engine options. You get either a 2.4-liter four-cylinder or a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
The turbocharged motor is the choice if you’re looking for a bit more grunt, but the CVT transmission somewhat holds it back. Yes, you only get a CVT option in the 2017 model, and reviewers agree that it’s sluggish.
You get either front-wheel or all-wheel drive across all trim levels – I recommend the front-wheel drive models if you only drive on pavement. The front-wheel-drive models also offer the highest fuel economy of about 26mpg in the city and 32mpg on the highway. Incidentally, the CR-V’s fuel efficiency is among the best in its class. So, if you’re looking for a reliable and fuel-efficient compact SUV, the Honda CR-V should be on your list.
2. Dodge Journey
The Journey entered the compact SUV scene in 2009 and, unlike its Jeep competitors, is still in production in the 2020s. Granted, the Journey’s journey (see what I did there?) was rocky at first, with numerous complaints of poor quality. However, Dodge refined the Journey and it’s now a worthy competitor to the more seasoned SUVs in the market. Sadly, its production ended with the 2020 model.
This vehicle is considered more of an MPV than an SUV, so it has three rows of seats for seven passengers. Its interior space isn’t more than what you get in a Patriot or Liberty, and the third row’s legroom isn’t ideal for adults.
Outside, the Journey looks beefier than either Jeep, but this look belies its uninspiring engine; it has a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 173 horsepower and 163 lb-ft of torque. Mated to this is a disappointing four-speed automatic transmission that is unresponsive when you need it to downshift. Its handling is also wanting, and there’s plenty of body roll in corners.
I would recommend looking for a pre-2020 Dodge journey and choosing an AWD model with the bigger V6 engine for better performance. From 2020, Dodge no longer offered either AWD or the V6, making the Journey more of a city car.
3. Subaru Forester
The Forester is a sporty and practical compact SUV that has grown up significantly since its launch in the late 90s. In fact, it started its life as an MPV but evolved into an SUV by its third generation. Currently, in its fifth generation, the Forester has become a formidable offroading SUV thanks to its impressive ground clearance and all-wheel drive technology.
Presently, there are six trim levels from the Base to the range-topping Touring model. As standard, all models get a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, a CVT transmission, and Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. If you want a Forester with better performance, opt for the Forester XT in the previous generation; this is no longer available in the fifth-gen models.
Thankfully, the power tradeoff comes with fuel-economy benefits, as the current Forester has good gas mileage of about 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. This SUV also handles corners quite well, and its ride is smooth and comfortable. And, unlike the Jeeps, the Forester’s cabin is quiet, with little road noise.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Do Jeep Patriots have a lot of problems?
Answer: According to RepairPal, the Jeep Patriot’s main problems with over 100 reports on the website are four. The most common problem is related to the CVT transmission.
Question: Does a Jeep Patriot have a timing belt or chain?
Answer: The Jeep Patriot has a timing chain.
Question: When did they stop making Jeep Patriot?
Answer: Production of the Jeep Patriot was stopped in 2016, and the last model year was the 2017 model.
Which One Should You Buy?
I would choose the Jeep Patriot over the Liberty because the Patriot offers better fuel economy, better handling, and similar off-road capabilities as the Liberty. Sure, the Liberty has a more powerful engine, but it’s still as sluggish as the Patriot’s engine yet gulps more gas.
That said, you can get more value for money from a RAV4 or Honda CRV than you would from a Patriot. These alternatives have fancier interiors, are more reliable, and offer better fuel economy. If you’re not a Jeep die-hard, I’d recommend considering the competitors.
Before you leave, also check out our Jeep Patriot vs Cherokee comparison article to learn about those two Jeeps.
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