The great debate?
Why the overlap? well, I will tell you from true experience. In May of 2006, my wife and I went to a DC dealer and said, enough with our 2000 neon, we wanted something that could accomidate our dog, our camping and any other urban small family needs. We got a Caliber. September 2007, we get a call from DC saying they can get us a better deal on a car because the price of our caliber accually went UP! (love supply and and demand) Went back to the dealer and purchased a 2007 Compass. We didnt by a Compass, we bought into the Jeep name, the culture etc. It was in our price range, had upgraded stereo, etc (North edition) and has 4X4. This is why they cross platform cars like this. BRAND LOYALTY! Compass/Patriot is affordable, fuel effcient, entry level (something Jeep did not have) Jeep, and will most likely, NOT see a 6cyl.
This is my wifes jeep (i have an old 91XJ) and will not see trails, but I will tell you that it feels MORE capable in city driving then my big ol' 4L 5spd, and it is much cheaper to run.
The real question would be, why have a Compass AND the Patriot, as they serve the same client base. Thats why I think they are cutting out the Compass with the new buyers, and keeping something like the patriot.
Just my 2 jeeps worths
iT hurts iN THE fACE