Eligibility was based on the possession of a diesel engine and the ability to go off-road or drive on unpaved roads, sand, grovel, mud or any natural terrain.
The Jeep Wrangler beat the Land Rover's Defender to win the award. The Cherokee, also known as the Liberty in the US, was selected as the SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) of the year. Contenders included the Land Rover Freelander LR2 and Suzuki Grand Vitara. The Patriot received the Budget 4x4 of the Year award ahead of the Daihatsu Terios and Fiat Panda Cross.
The magazine said the Patriot's low-range gearing combined with hill descent and hill start ascent, gives it the off-road capability to tow even a 2.8 ton pick-up.