I looked at and test-drove the CRV and the Rav-4 V6, before factory-ordering a Compass Sport 4x4, 5speed which I've had since January.
I thought the rav4 felt "heavy" and cumbersome compared to the compass, even with the V6, 270hp engine, and the honda was a bit underpowered ,with more emphasis on looks than performance.
Price was a factor: I paid under 20k (100$ over invoice, +750 $factory cash back) with power package, AC, sunroof, allterrain tires. Both toyota and honda would have cost several thousands more, similarly equipped.
The availability of a manual transmission was a big factor for me: honda and toyota don't have them ( Motortrend called it "perhaps the best stick shift in a sport/utility" Sept.06). Finally brand loyalty and exterior design preference played a role. My last car was a 98 Wrangler that did well by me, and I do prefer European design rip-offs (BMW X3, Volvo) to bland Japanese uniformity.
What else?- I love the compass. The handling, smooth engine, great manual tranny, very decent acceleration (assisted by K&N air intake), terrific stock radio.. I'm having fun every time I get behind the wheel.
I assume the patriot is essentially the same vehicle with different sheet metal and more interior room.