Interior

My kids complained all week about the Patriot's lack of legroom in the backseat. The rear seats seem stuck in the olden days since they don't slide back and forth like many crossovers do these days. I ended up pulling the front passenger seat all the way forward to make room for the girls' backpacks in the second row.

On top of that, the rear seats' backrest sat nearly upright. Although they reclined slightly, it wasn't enough to make my daughters' booster seats rest comfortably against the seatback. This caused their heads to flop forward when they napped in the car (see picture in photo gallery). Anyone know a good pediatric chiropractor?

As if trying to make up for the lack of thought elsewhere, there are a few gadgety features thrown into the Patriot such as a rear overhead light that pops out for use as a flashlight (wait till the kids lose it) and rear speakers that flip down from the open liftgate to blast music outward for tailgating (part of the optional $1,295 Sun and Sound Package). These features are clever-ish, but not enough to make up for all of the plastic trim in the interior, which is kind of surprising for a $30,000 car. What did make me smile a bit was the optional stain- and odor-resistant seat upholstery and carpeting in the Patriot. Now we're getting somewhere for those of us with kids.

I also liked the leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls included in the Sun and Sound package. I've come to believe that steering-wheel-mounted controls are a safety feature and should be standard on every vehicle.

The Patriot has several standard storage options including a sliding armrest on the center console with a shallow tray on top, two cupholders in the front and two for the kids at the bottom rear of the center console (although they were tricky to reach while the kids were buckled in), and 60/40-split folding rear seats for an expandable cargo area.

IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT

Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample

Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample

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