At first glance, the Jeep Patriot will probably remind many people of the upright, boxy Jeep Cherokee of old. And that’s the way Jeep wants it. But underneath, the Patriot utilizes the same platform as the Jeep Compass and the Dodge Caliber, two vehicles that get wobbly-kneed at the first sight of a dirt road. Setting the Patriot apart are steeper approach and departure angles, a low-range gear, slightly higher ground clearance and the availability of an optional package that adds protective skid plates.
The heritage styling and extra smidge of off-pavement ability combine with a low price to make the Jeep Patriot a potentially attractive package for some buyers. However, there’s not a whole lot else to the Patriot to make it a stand-out choice for the majority. Other vehicles in this segment offer roomier interiors, more cargo space, better fuel economy, available V6 engines, superior fit and finish and even off-road capability. Overall, we think most shoppers will be best served by looking at other choices.