The Patriot has received somewhat mixed reviews in crash tests.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Patriot ratings of Good (the best) for front and rear collisions and roof strength in rollovers. In side-impact tests, the Patriot was rated Marginal without the optional torso side-impact airbags and Good with the side airbags. Because the side-impact airbags aren't standard, the Patriot is not a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS. Curtain-type side airbags that protect the heads of occupants are standard.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the Patriot an overall safety rating of four stars (out of a possible five). In NHTSA's tests, the Patriot received three out of five stars for front crashes but a top score of five stars for side impacts — even though the test was conducted without the side airbags. It received three stars for rollover resistance, a static measurement based on the vehicle's height, width and wheelbase. Most SUVs receive three stars.
The different results probably leave you still wondering how safe the Patriot is. Us too. The IIHS and NHTSA conduct different tests, so that explains some of the disparity, but we wish we could provide a more definitive answer. One positive is that neither bank of tests produced evidence that the Patriot has glaring safety issues. Your best bet is to get one with the optional side airbags.
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