At first glance, the Jeep Patriot evokes the boxy, go-anywhere look of the original Jeep Cherokee. And that's the way Jeep wants it. But underneath, the Patriot is really a small crossover SUV similar in design to the Compass.
You do get respectable approach and departure angles, ample ground clearance and the availability of a serious four-wheel-drive package that adds low-range gearing and skid plates, among other goodies. But when you get right down to it, there's not a lot of substance behind the Patriot's bold face. Other SUVs in the segment offer roomier interiors, more standard features, higher fuel economy and a more enjoyable driving experience. If you want a small Jeep, the Cherokee is a better bet.