In the Cabin

The Patriot's interior quality isn't class-leading, but it's acceptable for a car of this price — bearing in mind that the starting price is for a seriously stripped-down Sport model. (Option packages that flesh it out will set you back a grand or two.) Of note is the faux-metal trim, which is textured and not as cheesy as some of the stuff we've seen in earlier Chrysler and Dodge models.

Vinyl seats are standard, and stain/moisture/mold-resistant cloth upholstery is optional on the Sport trim level. Heated leather seats and a driver's lumbar adjustment are standard on the Limited, and Jeep kindly offers heaters for the front cloth seats — a rarity — though an expensive option package is a pre-requisite. Power seats aren't available.

A driver's seat height adjustment is standard on the Limited but comes only in option packages on the Sport, including the Off-road Package. The steering wheel tilts but unfortunately doesn't telescope. Still, visibility is pretty good all around, and smaller drivers said they were comfortable with the fit; I was too, at 6 feet tall. As for interior space, it's comparable to the Ford Escape, the most significant difference being in legroom: an inch less in the front but almost 4 inches more in the rear of the Patriot.

As expected, this cuts into the cargo volume behind the backseat: 23.0 cubic feet compared to the Escape's 29.2 cu. ft. The Patriot Sport's 60/40-split folding backseat is standard, and the Limited's backrests also recline. With backseats folded flat, the volume is 54.2 and 66.3 cu. ft. for the Patriot and Escape, respectively. Only with the front passenger seat folded (standard on Limited, optional on Sport) does the Patriot realize its maximum 62.7 cu. ft. cargo capacity.

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