My Patriot Sport actually has the 2.4L 6-speed automatic FWD option, which was not one of the offerings in the review drop-down box. I previously owned a P/T Cruiser, which I loved and managed to keep for 13 years and my son is now driving. I play music as an avocation, which means needing enough cargo space to hold a band's worth of gear (except the drums). I live in a congested area, so I must have an automatic, and I live in a hot humid area, so I must have A/C. Everything else is extra.
Knowing that someday I would need to replace the P/T Cruiser, I began researching affordable wagons several years ago. Most of the reviews on the Patriot at the time were that it was underpowered and too Spartan for most of the reviewers, but those were the same demerits the P/T Cruiser earned when it came out, so I was prepared to (a) dismiss those critiques and (b) settle for something less than sterling for the price the Patriot was asking.
When I finally did a test-drive of the Patriot Sport with the optional 2.4L engine and 6-speed transmission, I was immediately pleasantly surprised with just about every aspect of the vehicle. Pickup and shifting are just fine for getting on and off the highway. The interior has no extras - manual door locks, manual/crank up windows, hand-adjusted mirrors - which is fine by me; I actually prefer not having more things to break and fix as the car ages. The seats a very comfortable; the materials used seem pretty standard - there was nothing glaringly cheap about any of it; and on the whole it seems well thought out and executed. The standard sound system needed a little tweaking to deliver a sound that pleases me, but I managed to dial it in within a few minutes. My Patriot came with a single CD player with satellite radio (free for one year), AM, FM, and a 1/8" jack to plug in an MP3 or other outboard music device.
I have been driving the new Patriot for a month now. I have no complaints about its performance. The only change I would make if I were on the engineering team was to make the windows a little taller for better viewing (I must duck slightly to see the traffic light if I'm directly under it). I have not had it long enough to need service, so I cannot comment on that. But I've put on almost 1,000 miles, and have enjoyed a combined city/highway mileage of j27 mpg on regular gas.
I couldn't be more pleased. I was prepared to settle for less.
I'll start off by saying I was intending to buy a Subaru Crosstrek or Forester. I've always been a big fan of Japanese vehicles for the mix of compactly packaged capability and fuel efficiency. Turns out, though, that you can get that stuff in a well-tested American vehicle for thousands of dollars less. The Edmunds review exaggerates all kinds of perceived shortcomings while ignoring the fact that you get a compact, capable AWD crossover for 20k. Yet, if you read the review for the Crosstrek, they claim it somehow has "relatively strong off-road capabilities" right off the bat, despite its Pinocchio-like nose that you'll scrape just backing out of your driveway and 55-series tires.
First all the "expert reviews" are way off base. Had to look at the Patriot because of all the incentives expecting to be underwhelmed. We feel we hit the jackpot. Engine power is strong. Transmission is smooth. The so called outdated interior is a breath of fresh air in simplicity. Was never that interested in the Patriot but a $28000 loaded 4x4 for under $23000 was too good to pass up. You should give it serious consideration.
As many a reviews say, this car is about value and about being Jeep. I moved from Subaru legacy sedan that served me exceptionally well and with ZERO trouble for 7 years (car's age 10 years). I am an outdoors guy and love my camping trip and a bit of sofy-roading. I was split between Forester and Patriot. Few factors that swayed me to the Jeep - latest Forester has become just like all other cute-utes. Jeep stands out with is retro look. Secondly the value, features and dealer discounts. Lastly the ride height and SUV like suspension. I would have bought and XT but couldnt justify the cost. About 1000 kms on it. So far no issues. Mileage has been improving and currently at about 10L/100kms in mixed hwy and city. Great sound (and it is not the Boston Accoustics upgrade); remote start; leather trimmed seats; smooth shifting though slower to start from stop; ride comfort. Will watch for repair issues and resale. Hope it beats the Subaru I loved.