I drive a diesel so cannot comment on the power side of the Petrol personaly but would echo the view that if you went for a 4Cly 4x4 then there is not much else on the market with a 4Cly that would outperfrom the Patriot.
I feel that if you get a 2 wheel version you lose the essence of a Jeep and for the tiny improvement in fuel don't do it.
In terms of the interior it has been called cheap (although better looking now) and I suppose what they mean is that the design is basic and have equated this with cost, and it has clearly been made with cost in mind to keep the little Jeep affordable. However it is not poorly made or flimsy and mine is lasting up well to heavy use with no problems with trim or fixtures and fittings. I have done 70000 miles in two years and I very pleased with the build quality.
The driving position is OK for long jouneys. I do a 1000 miles a week which includes two 5 hour trips and have no problems. It will depend on your build of course. I would have liked a foot rest and a steering reach adjustment. But in my Limited I can get comfy and I have had back problems in some other cars.
I find the vehicle very practical and the fold flat front seats are great for making an even bigger cargo bay. I have owned a Grand and think the Patriot is just as practical.
Current: 1998 XJ 4.0 Ltd Grey/Blue, 2008
Past: 1998 XJ 4.0 Ltd Green, 2005 Grand Cherokee Ltd Black, Patriot 2.0 CRD Ltd Silver