2011 Jeep Patriot Latitude X 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 5M)
I was intent on buying a Forester. I read all the professional reviews, talked to a friend who works for Subaru and even with the looming cost of Subaru oil changes, went to the lot to pick one up. I drove it and was less than impressed. The road noise was more than I expected, the ride felt "Jouncy" there was an irritating plastic on plastic rattle coming from the back and with the CVT it was much slower than I anticipated. My wife suggested we look at a Compass and I ended up buying a Patriot with a 5 speed. My best MPG is 29, it has far more features, rides better and is quieter than the Subaru for $3500 less. So far a perfect fit for Idaho roads including rutted USFS 2 tracks. Happy!
The Patriot has several nice features including heated seats and voice controlled blue tooth audio not found anywhere near the price point on competing vehicles. The 2.4 mounted to the 5 speed is no sprint car but doesn't leave me wondering if I will ever get up to highway speeds. My fuel mileage so far is acceptable with a best tank of 29 MPG and worst of 24 MPG. The worst MPG was during the maiden voyage into the Idaho back country, I did find a suggested improvement that I will list below, but overall it did better than expected. I have a pickup for the rough stuff but this will get me to any of my favorite fishing holes / trail heads in more comfort, carry my family and use less gas.
While negotiating rough terrain the need for a lower 1st gear in the 5 speed becomes evident. The split between 1st and 2nd isn't enough that having a lower 1st would have that much of a negative effect on drivability while on road and would make off road driving much easier on the clutch and the driver.
† Edmunds.com received the highest numerical score in the proprietary J.D. Power 2014 Third-Party Automotive Website Evaluation Study℠. Results based on responses from 3,381 responses, measuring 14 companies and measures third-party automotive website usefulness among new and used vehicle shoppers. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of owners surveyed from January 2014. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com.