IF you've always fancied a Jeep but were put off by the tough as nails and basic Wrangler or the price and size of the Cherokee then smaller Patriot is worth a look.
The Patriot is a softer Jeep, designed for people who want the ability and security of four-wheel drive but don't need something large and heavyweight.
Of course, Jeep was one of the first makers of SUVs and now virtually every car manufacturer has their own.
But there's a big difference. Jeep, like Land Rover, has been making go-anywhere machinery for many a year and knows lots about it.
The Patriot was built until 2012, originally with either a 2.4-litre petrol engine, which was available with a CVT automatic gearbox or a 2.2 diesel with a five-speed manual transmission.
The diesel was later replaced with the well-known Volkswagen 2.0-litre engine with 140bhp and this is the one to go for. It's almost as quick as the petrol and much more economical.
In this vehicle it's not particularly refined but gives good in-gear urge and generally performs well.
The chunky 4x4 handles fairly well with better body control than I thought it would have and a decent level of grip. But it is let down by lifeless steering which makes the driving experience dull at times.
The Patriot's 4WD system is automatic with the front wheels being driven most of the time on the road and the rear wheels brought into play when more traction is needed.
However, unlike most others with similar systems, this one has a floor mounted lock to make it permanent all wheel drive so that you can have maximum traction anytime.
The Patriot doesn't have really high ground clearance and so it shouldn't be considered as a true off-roader but nonetheless it's still very capable in grass fields and on fairly muddy tracks or on ice and snow on the road.
Comfort is pretty good over most surfaces and there's plenty of room for four inside. Five is possible, but a large transmission tunnel doesn't leave much rear legroom for the middle seat.
Sadly, the interior is poor quality with flimsy switches and cheap, hard plastics. There are also sharp edges to the door pockets.
But it's not all bad. The instrument binnacle is clear and easy to read and includes Jeep's trademark compass along with a trip computer.
The seats are very flat so there's not much side support and standard kit includes air con, loads of airbags, traction control and an alarm.
But make sure it has 4WD if you want it. A few do not.
Pay about Â£5,400 for a '10 10-reg Sport 2.0 diesel or Â£7,100 for a '12 61-reg Limited.