Cheapest 2014 SUV: Jeep Patriot
Base price: $17,190

"If you want to tackle a mountain or trails and don't want to spend a whole lot of money. this is a great vehicle for you to choose," Clarke says. "It's a strong product for what you pay."

The Patriot offers the same off-road abilities, comfortable front seats and cool equipment that the Compass boasts -- although the model shares many of its costlier cousin's shortcomings as well.

For instance, entry-level Patriots come with the same underwhelming front-wheel drive, manual transmission and 158-horsepower engine that the base Compass has. Adding all-wheel drive, continuously variable automatic transmission and/or a 172-horsepower engine will all boost your price.

In fact, you'll even have to pay extra for air conditioning, power windows and other amenities that come standard on most vehicles these days.

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