Driving this Jeep left me with a deep sense of déjà vu. No, we haven't sampled a Patriot for a while, but we did drive a Compass Limited 4x4 last month. Apart from the exterior styling, the two were virtually identical -- along with the common platform, powertrain, and instrument panel, both were fitted with the same $5000-worth of options and equipment packages.
Apart from exterior design, the only major difference between the two is the all-wheel-drive system. Patriots are available with a CVT transmission with a lower crawl gear, along with an Off-Road Group that adds hill descent control, specially tuned electronic limited slip differential, and an extra inch of ground clearance.
That's fine and dandy, but most Patriots will spend the majority of their lives on paved surfaces. For the money, I'd rather spring for a compact SUV -- a Hyundai Tucson or a Kia Sportage, for instance -- that offers a little more style and sophistication on the open road.
Evan McCausland, Web Producer