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Jeep's Compass and Patriot duo are niche crossovers

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It looks like a baby Jeep Grand Cherokee but has its own personality and lower price. Jeep’s Compass Limited 4X4 resembles the top line Grand Cherokee, but with fewer amenities and lower price.

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Then there’s the Jeep Patriot Limited 4X4 that is likened to the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited four-door. Both of these vehicles are similar with the exception of size and price points with the Patriot being a little less, albeit nicely loaded.

Up until August of 2013, Jeep also had the Liberty in its stable but production was discontinued, seemingly because Jeep resurrected the Cherokee model and the Liberty got edged out since it would be too close in comparison to the troika of Patriot, Compass and Cherokee.

The similarities are so close between the Compass and Patriot that the buying decision comes down to price, content and personal preference.

Both 4X4 vehicles have similar ride and handling attributes with the Compass getting the edge because of its size and weight. Both use the same engine so this edge goes to the Patriot Limited.

For comparison purposes, lets start with the Compass Limited.

This handsome crossover uses the same 2.4L, 172-hp (165 lb/ft of torque) 4-cylinder as the Patriot. But as said, the Patriot is a tad quicker because of its 3,350-pound curb weight versus Compass at 3,590. This engine is standard on Limited models, whereas a 2.0L, 158-hp four comes with other trim levels. Both 2.4s hook up to a 6-speed automatic transmission (a 5-speed manual is standard) that replaced a CVT on 2013 models. This was a smart move by Jeep in that putting a CVT in a Jeep product should be a sin.

The Compass Limited and Patriot Limited carry EPA mileage ratings of 21 city, 27-highway or 23 combined. From a weight comparison standpoint, the Patriot should theoretically be a tad more miserly.

On both models, power was adequate but on uphill jaunts with two adults aboard, the engine was working hard. A turbo would be nice for added boost.

Cargo capacity is comparable with the Compass measuring 33 inches deep, 38.5 high and 27.75 wide. Patriot measures 33.5 deep, 42 wide and 28.5 high. Flip the seatbacks and depth extends to 63 inches in the Compass and 62 in the Patriot.

Step-in into the Compass is 17.5 inches compared to 19.5 for Patriot, while cargo load height is 30.5 inches versus 31 for Patriot, which takes on a Wrangler stance hence the slightly higher height.

Interior wise, the nod goes to Compass for styling and niceties as the Patriot offers more simplicity for those who prefer function to frills. As such, the Compass came standard with a rearview camera whereas the Patriot did not. Both use a chromed lever on the consoles for 4WD activation.

The duo share similar operating controls including a 5.5x3 inch LCD screen for audio and other functions. Leg and headroom are comparable as well with the back seats only viable for two adults on flat seating surfaces.

Quirk wise, the Compass had vertical rear door handles (ala Nissan Pathfinder) while the Patriot, a short 7.5-inch accelerator pedal that my foot kept slipping off of.

Handling wise, Compass seemed more stable and composed perhaps because of it slightly shorter height of 65 inches versus a taller 67 for Patriot.

Ride wise, again, the Compass edges out the Patriot as the seats are a bit softer and the Compass rides on 18-inch Firestone Firehawk tires compared to Patriot’s 17-inch Firestone’s.

Price wise, the Compass with a long list of standard features with options that include remote start, Boston Acoustics audio, liftgate speakers, Uconnect and more, priced out at $30,025 with delivery after a base of $27,295.

The Patriot, with almost identical features except the 6-speed automatic transmission was extra and included as part of option package 2GF ($995), had a base price of $25,995 but adding Uconnect ($745) brought the bottom line to $28,730 with delivery.

For a mere $1,295 difference, it’s either elegance or ruggedness. Both crossovers can do the job while one may do it a little better.

To compare the Compass and Patriot, stop by Rothrock Jeep off Route 22 and 15th Street in Allentown. And to automatically receive auto news and reviews from Nick Hromiak, click on the “Subscribe” notation on this page.

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