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2011 Jeep Patriot Comfort & Quality

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While the Jeep Patriot is very closely related to the sleeker but more ordinary-looking Compass, it's the superior design of the two, in our opinion, not just from the exterior, but because its boxier shape allows an interior that feels larger and is more convenient for cargo, even if its passenger layout is essentially the same. There's good seating space inside for four adults; you could wedge a narrow-shouldered third into the backseat if need be, though it is strictly compact-class legroom.

The Patriot does reveal its car-based layout with an especially low front seating position; it's high enough for most to be able to see the front corners of the vehicle, yet not so high to feel tipsy as in more traditional SUV designs.

Cargo space is where the Patriot shines not only compared to the related Compass but to most other very compact utility vehicles; the tall roofline and boxy proportions make the cargo space behind the backseat more usable, and rear seatbacks fold forward neatly. The front passenger seat also folds forward to accommodate long items (an eight-foot ladder, for instance).

The 2011 Jeep Patriot has one of the more versatile and spacious designs, given its relatively small footprint, but its noisy interior still feels low-rent, even compared to other budget-priced rivals.

While the overall design of the interior hasn't changed, Chrysler has given the Patriot a subtle (yet still significant) set of trim and material upgrades for 2011. The new soft-touch door trim panels (front only, oddly); new padded center armrest; a new steering-wheel design, and thin chrome rings around climate control switches give the Patriot's cabin a lift. That said, it's still one of the most plasticky interiors of any utility vehicle. Admittedly, some will like this; it's probably one of the easiest interiors to clean up and keep clean, and the wet-wipe-friendly cargo floor is rubberized.

Thanks to recent engineering improvements—including more floor padding and better underhood noise isolation—the Patriot is quieter inside than it originally was; however it remains one of the noisier choices inside, and while road and wind noise are reasonably well-damped, the engine noise (especially with the CVT) is obtrusive. 

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