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by Tim Beissmann

The 2012 Jeep Patriot is now available in Australia with a new front-wheel-drive base model and dramatically reduced prices.

The price of the base model Patriot – now the Sport 4×2 – is now $5000 cheaper than before. The new model is priced from $25,000 before on-road costs, while the previous base model – the Sport 4×4 – was $30,000. Prices for comparative models have fallen between $2000 and $2500 across the new line-up.

The new pricing makes the Patriot the cheapest model in Jeep’s local range, undercutting its recently relaunched urban-styled mechanical twin, the Jeep Compass, by $1500. It also makes it one of the cheapest SUVs in the country, bettering the Mitsubishi ASX ($25,990) and Skoda Yeti ($26,290), and offering strong competition to the Nissan Dualis ($24,990) and the Great Wall X240 ($23,990 driveaway).

The Patriot becomes the second vehicle in Jeep’s Australian line-up to be offered with an entry-level two-wheel-drive option, following the Compass earlier this month.

The front-wheel drive variants of the Patriot are powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 115kW of power and 190Nm of torque on tap. The five-speed manual model has an official fuel consumption rating of 7.6 litres per 100km while the optional continuously variable transmission (CVT) uses 8.2L/100km. The addition of the 4×2 model and its smaller petrol engine improves the Patriot’s fuel efficiency by up to 10 per cent.

The 4×4 models carry over the 125kW/220Nm 2.4-litre petrol engine. The manual burns through 8.5L/100km while the CVT is slightly thirstier at 9.1L/100km.

Sport models come with 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, manual air conditioning, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, and a four-speaker audio system with CD player and auxiliary jack.

The Limited model adds front and rear fog lights, tinted windows, silver roof rails, climate control, leather upholstery, six-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats, and a nine-speaker Boston Acoustics audio system with 16.5cm touchscreen, 30GB music storage hard drive, and Bluetooth and USB connectivity.

Regrettably, like the Compass, the Patriot only gets four airbags (dual front and curtains), with side airbags available as an option. Electronic stability control is included standard across the range.

Patriot sales declined 33 per cent in Australia in 2011, falling from 1312 in 2010 to 877 last year. Sales ended on a low note in December, with just 39 vehicles delivered across the country for the month.

2012 Jeep Patriot manufacturer’s list prices (excluding government and dealer charges):

  • Sport 4×2 manual – $25,000
  • Sport 4×2 CVT – $27,000
  • Sport 4×4 manual – $28,000
  • Sport 4×4 CVT – $30,000
  • Limited 4×4 CVT – $32,500