There are so many choices out there, but since you specifically mentioned Jeep Patriot, I assume you are thinking 4-wheel drive ability to be more adventurous. We bought a used 2006 Liberty 4x4 automatic in 2009 and find it ideal. As previously mentioned by another, with the transfer case in neutral, it's free-wheeling, very happy to be towed as shown in my signature. It is 4300 pounds so if thinking about it, be sure you have a 5000 pound hitch and your GCWR is under the limit.
Why would you ever want to lash down the steering wheel of the Smartcar while towing? It seems to me that’s the last thing you should do (unless, perhaps, you find yourself in a position where you need to back up).
I don't lash down the steering wheel when I tow. There is a brace underneath the drivers seat that will readily accept a bunjee hook. Lashing it down is more of an "old school" thing. Many retirees are set in their ways. There are those who do things because that's the way their parents did it. I included that piece of info for their benefit - to give them something that they can relate to.
2005 Cruise America 28R (Four Winds 28R) on a 2004 Ford E450 SD 6.8L V10 4R100
2009 smart fortwo Passion with Roadmaster "Falcon 2" towbar & tail light kit - pictures
randrx2, I agree with you. But for us, when back home we need something more domesticated. If we had a bigger garage and money we could tie up in another vehicle, I think we too would tow an old beat up but mechanically sound Wrangler. They really are ideal for the type of things we do with our tow vehicle on trips. And like you say, take the doors and roof off, and you are ready for some fun.
If we had the space for it, we would almost certainly be towing a Jeep Wranlger for its offroad capability & top-down fun, but I wouldn't want to drive it every day in downtown Toronto. For us, our Honda CRV strikes a perfect balance between utility and tow-ability. It takes 3 minutes to get it ready to tow and it's been a perfectly reliable daily driver.
2012 Jayco Embark TB390
2009 Honda CRV (mini toad) with Blue Ox Aventa LX Tow Bar
2014 Ford F-150 4x4 (monster toad)
Domesticated and able to drive in the city? Then the Wrangler is the vehicle! I have done city driving and love it. Since it has a short wheel base it is easy to park and maneuver. Get one with a hard top for security. Also, if it is a little "beat up", you don't care what you park next to and worry about door dings.
We tow a Saturn ION 4 door coupe, only because it was an amazing sale when we needed to buy. 30,000 miles for $6000 because line and dealership were closing. A little small on space but works ok. Very economical for sight seeing.
Michael and Daryl (Dee) Gone RVing
2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810 370 HP
2008 Saturn Vue XR V6
Blue Ox Alladin
Brake Buddy Classic