The Patriot is the second of a pair of compact crossovers that will be the new entry-level Jeeps. The Patriot is less than an inch shorter than the Liberty, but it is 2.5 inches narrower and nearly seven inches lower. The Patriot and its sister model, the Compass, are both mechanically related to the Dodge Caliber hatchback, and are built alongside the Caliber in Illinois. All three use transverse-mounted four-cylinder engines driving either the front wheels or all four wheels. The Patriot, however, is the only one to offer the option of a four-wheel-drive system with low range, part of an off-road package which also includes hill-descent control and a one-inch-higher ride height (for a 9-inch ground clearance). So equipped, the Patriot earns Jeep's Trail Rated badge. The Patriot's powerplant is a 172-hp 2.4-liter, which can be combined with either a five-speed manual or a continuous variable automatic. The Patriot's rectangular styling is supposed to recall the warmly remembered Jeep Cherokee. Jeep marketers say the Patriot's look resonates with current Jeep owners and with male buyers in general, whereas the more unusual styling of the Compass, they claim, appeals to women and to people who've never previously owned a Jeep. Both the Patriot and the Compass arrive in dealerships late this fall. Pricing for the Patriot has not yet been announced, but it should be close to that of the Compass, which starts at $15,985.
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