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ddavidv SuperDork
2/1/12 6:32 a.m.

The wife has been driving Subarus for...well, let's just say a long time. First an Impreza and now a Forester, the latter which received a WRX suspension swap so I could tolerate it. She likes the awd, handling, utility and what she believes is power. I like the handling, relative durability and the weirdness of the flat four.

So we're at the auto show planning on our next used car purchase once the current crop depreciates to 50% (LOL). We pretty much need a wagon-y vehicle to haul our multiple dogs but do not want a true SUV nor a egg shaped crossover. Ignoring that BMW had no wagons to look at the only candidates were the Elantra (okay but not great), another Forester and the Patriot (not the completely useless Compass). We were both surprised at just how much we liked the Patriot and how it was laid out inside. However, not being able to drive it, a lot is left to the imagination. Doing my diligent research, it looks like the main problems are the CVT (wouldn't buy one anyway), perpetually leaking sunroofs (don't want one) and premature ball joint failure (replace with MOOG and all seems to be well). The Mitsu/Mopar 2.4 'world' engine seems to get good reviews aside from noise and stellar mileage. Since we drive Subarus we're used to engine noise. I know it's the same as the Dodge Caliber under the skin, so can anyone comment from a non-Consumer Reports viewpoint on the driving experience? To repeat, we'd only buy a manual trans version most likely with AWD.

Doesn't seem to be many tasteful wheel choices for them on Tire Rack.

SyntheticBlinkerFluid Dork
2/1/12 6:54 a.m.

The only thing I can really add is that the first couple years has major throttle delay due to the drive-by-wire system.

jrw1621 SuperDork
2/1/12 7:20 a.m.

My experiences are with Caliber rental cars. They are pretty basic and uninspiring cars. The interior plastic of the early versions are very tupperware-like.
Also interesting, you can get the basic versions with crank windows.
See pictures inside. The beige of the door plastic panels is really dull but functional.

integraguy SuperDork
2/1/12 7:21 a.m.

Aren't these supposed to go away next year or two?

I can't remember if they are going away or if the "rumor" is that Alfa will get a "badge-engineered" version to sell in Europe or the U.S. Whatever, the chassis / platform has been around since late '06 early '07 and is due/overdue? for a re-work.

DrBoost SuperDork
2/1/12 7:42 a.m.

A guy at work had a Patriot. He really like it for what it was. It's not a Jeep, but it was a very useful wagon. That being said, I really liked my Forester.

Stealthtercel HalfDork
2/1/12 8:25 a.m.

I assume that you saw the current Elantra Touring at the auto show. If so, you might want to Google its replacement, newly available in Europe as the I30. All the goodness of the new Elantra, now with added room for Stuff. I gather we're supposed to get it soon, but they don't know what they're going to call it when we do.

Strizzo SuperDork
2/1/12 8:32 a.m.

run, far and fast, from the patriot and its brother compass. steer clear of cousin caliber as well.

i've had a couple as rentals and seriously hated them. the motor sounds like a tractor, and it has seriously no power at all with the cvt, just revs to the moon and accelerates at about the pace of a 94 civic DX with 18" blingoes and an automatic

minimac SuperDork
2/1/12 8:43 a.m.

Mrs. Mini had a Patriot for a month as a rental. Being a rental, it was relatively loaded up and she liked the ride and comfort. Her major complaints were that is was "a dog"(slow), engine was noisy, and disappointing gas mileage. She now has had an Equinox(AWD) for the last month (that too is loaded up) and really, really likes it. I keep hitting my head on the A pillar getting in it, but I was pleasantly surprised. Too many gizmos for my liking, but I would seriously consider one. IMHO, I think that both of you would miss the Forester if you get a Patriot.

pres589 Dork
2/1/12 9:04 a.m.

I had a rental Caliber for about 24 hours a year ago in the Denver area. This was not what I wanted, I had hoped for an Accent hatchback. Whatever.

Interior that Rubbermaid would be embarrassed by, loud gutless engine coupled to a CVT, what seemed like poor mileage (I think I averaged 19 mpg), not so hot handling (took it into the mountains for about 30 minutes, no thanks) and for some reason the interior engineers put this kick out in the console that made it uncomfortable to rest my leg against. This thing had no options, manual locks and windows and even mirrors, it did have a CD player though.

I returned it the next day for an Aveo and liked that more. Felt quicker and somewhat better handling although it rolled a bit in corners and was a bit underdamped.

I'd suggest another Forester, especially if you could find a minty one from the first generation.

sobe_death Reader
2/1/12 9:16 a.m.

Forester. Forester. Forester.

I don't think I could repeat it enough times.

pres589 Dork
2/1/12 9:46 a.m.
sobe_death wrote: Forester. Forester. Forester. I don't think I could repeat it enough times.

Honestly, and not to be insulting to the OP [too much] but it's almost like he picked a Forester and then the worst vehicle that loosely resembles a Forester so he could then be told "GET A FORESTER ALREADY, WHAT?"

Moparman HalfDork
2/1/12 1:29 p.m.

We traded our 07 Caliber R/T AWD last year for a 2011 5-speed Impreza Outback. The Impreza does EVERYTHING better than the Caliber. I would imagine the difference between the Patriot and Forester is just as stark.

ddavidv SuperDork
2/1/12 4:00 p.m.

Wow, thanks everyone. Keep in mind we looked at a new Patriot, which got a much better interior (I think in 2010) than the preceding ones that were horribly plasticy. The engine I think is the same 2.4 that's in my company fleet Sebring; with the aod trans it's not really underpowered or hateful. I was thinking that the manual trans would fix a lot of the shortcomings of the CVT shod ones. EPA mileage is 30 highway, which I can't ever see a Subaru getting, at least in my history. We liked the utility, space and size of it sitting on the show floor but the driving experience remains a mystery until our neighbor lets us drive his.

However, I suspect we will probably stick with Subarus. I know their issues and we have a good local mechanic who does the stuff I don't want to. It's just tempting to try a different flavor.

ValuePack Dork
2/1/12 4:14 p.m.

My wife and I are Subaru people. We've tried to leave the fold several times. I buy something newer and "more reliable"(Civic, for one), and sell all the Subaru spares. She ditches the Forester and gets something "more efficient"(A4 Golf, last time).

After a month, I hate whatever I bought. Maybe the mileage is better, but it's finicky and terrible to work on. It'll eat head gaskets the same, and have plenty of driveability and suspension faults in short order. And I miss my (insert model here). After three months, she says "the gas mileage on this thing is just as bad, there's no power, something is constantly broken, the dealer is packed with E36 M3heads that won't listen, the kids don't fit in the back, and it drives like a dump truck. I miss my Forester."

So I eat my shirt on the loan for the E36 M3box that was supposed to make more sense for my life in every way and get another ragged out Impreza or Legacy wagon that despite it's faults is twice the car. She trades whatever she bought new for a CPO Forester with a new factory 60k warranty, and we spend the next year or tw modding them up slightly how we like and collecting budget spares.

This cycle has turned a few times now, and I think I'm done. I've driven everything I care about that could possibly fit in our budgets and beyond. I've made repairs to all manner of makes and models. While the mileage and durability aren't ideal, it's Subaru for me. I wouldn't buy a new RB25-powered Forester, they're dogs, but I'd get another -08 Foz or a Legacy/Outback wagon in a heartbeat.

I wish you better luck than I've had in your endeavor to try something new.

Twin_Cam SuperDork
2/1/12 4:20 p.m.
ddavidv wrote: Doesn't seem to be many tasteful wheel choices for them on Tire Rack.

That's because there's very few tasteful wheel choices period left on Tire Rack.

And Forester. Run from the Jeep. Run far, far away.

irish44j Dork
2/1/12 5:15 p.m.

The Patriot isn't a Jeep.

If it was, I'd say "walk away after consideration." Since real Jeeps at least make up for their flaws with their off-road ability and utility.

What it is, is a piece of junk with none of the redeeming factors to make up for its overall lousiness.

run away.

AverageH New Reader
2/3/12 3:03 a.m.
irish44j wrote: The Patriot isn't a Jeep. If it was, I'd say "walk away after consideration." Since real Jeeps at least make up for their flaws with their off-road ability and utility. What it is, is a piece of junk with none of the redeeming factors to make up for its overall lousiness. run away.

Whoa whoa wait a minute here!!!!! Have you ever driven a Patriot or know anything about them? Maybe before people start spewing out horrible comments about how they are garbage, they should check them out first! Allow me to throw in my 2 "sense" since I OWN A PATRIOT. I have an '09 with the CVT, Freedom Drive package and the off road group. It is a fantastic vehicle and I intend to keep it forever. It is also "Trail Rated" which means it passes rigid off road standards set forth by Jeep. I continually test this thing in all sorts of conditions. I have some acreage out in Eastern Washington that is very hard to get to and extremely rugged. The Patriot does it all, and I use all of the features, including hill descent. It is very good in the snow as well. I was able to have much better control than my brother in his Cherokee in a few extremely dicey situations up in the mountains during some heavy snowfall last Winter. He actually got stuck on a very steep hill with a ravine on the driver's side, while his tires were spinning for traction on the ice and packed snow. He was able to get out but he was seriously white knuckling it- especially with his wife and kids inside! I was able to ease right through without any drama. The traction control knew what it was doing. I average 27mpg with mixed highway and town driving. I have yet to buy a part for it or had any major repairs after 47,000 miles. It's as tight as when we first purchased it. Yeah, the CVT can do the "motorboat" kind of noise if you focus on it, but I could care less. It accelerates just fine and is VERY comfortable on extended drives. No, it's not fast, but that's what my SC'd miata is for. It just doesn't bother me. It has great interior space and my wife and I and toddler son have camped in it several times with a nice mattress in back. We load it to the gills on our trips (4.5 hours each way) to the land, and we just can't believe how much gear it swallows! Honestly, my wife and I still to this day talk about how happy we are with the Patriot- and we traded a Mazda6 for it. As for the Subaru vs. the Patriot, I don't know. But my sister and her husband just traded in their Forester for a new Patriot a few months back and are loving it! It really made them more irritated with their Subaru, actually. The interior quality is pretty on par with many other makes at that price point IMHO, and we have the first generation. It's tough and looks nice.
The Patriot is not a Caliber. The Patriot is not a Compass either..... not by a long shot!!! The Compass is a completely different vehicle.

Don't just "walk away," check the thing out and see if you like it!!! There is a huge fan base and dedicated forums for them. I'm honestly quite disappointed in all of the crappy a$$ comments people have been making toward the Patriot, even though many of their personal experiences have nothing to do with them.


Brett_Murphy Dork
2/3/12 8:46 a.m.

In reply to AverageH:

Your post almost comes across as astroturfing for Jeep.

That said, the entire Trail Rated thing drives me nuts. The "Trail rated" moniker is the biggest pile of marketing crap in the last decade. So a Jeep gets the rating if it can do what Jeep says it should be able to do. I see...

failboat HalfDork
2/3/12 9:05 a.m.

co worker has an older patriot, auto (non cvt), 3.7L, bought it used and never had an issue with the balljoints so I can only assume they were replaced at some point before.

for many years he lived up on a mountain, climbing and descending steep gravel roads was done daily, and in the snow with chains in the winter.

He said it did really well in those conditions, and he likes it a lot. Him and his wife also had a Jeep Commander for a couple months at the same time....the general consensus was RUN AWAY. Replaced that with a I6 Trailblazer.

jrw1621 SuperDork
2/3/12 9:11 a.m.

Patroit did not come w/ 3.7L. You may be thinking of the Liberty which does have a 3.7L and a frame unlike the unibody of the Patriot.

failboat HalfDork
2/3/12 9:30 a.m.

Epic Facepalm. Yes I am thinking of the Liberty. So the Liberty seems decent.

belteshazzar SuperDork
2/3/12 11:27 a.m.

there must be millions of these patriots out there, because i sell the crap out of ball joints and tie rod ends for them.

Aeromoto Reader
2/3/12 11:48 a.m.

At our last SCCA Rallx, there was a Forester that was kicking wholesale ass, all stock. I couldn't imagine a Jeep running anywhere near as fast as this guy was running. I think the answer is simple- How many WRC victories and championships has Jeep won?

AverageH New Reader
2/3/12 2:50 p.m.

Yeah, I suppose my response could certainly look suspicious- sorry! I'm really just a sports car fanatic like most of you. I have both a nicely tuned miata where thousands of $$'s have been spent at Flyin' miata, and a '79 Triumph Spitfire that has been in the garage since day one a good year ago! I'm still slowly sorting that one out. What I'm getting at is I lurk on here nearly every day, but I usually use it for research for my projects rather than posting. I also frequent Miata.net, Triumph Experience and Retro Rides (currently my favorite where any jalopy is welcome and negative talk is unwelcome!). Not trying to impress, just letting you know that I don't want to appear to be a troll! Yes, the "Trail Rated" thing may not mean much to some, but there is a reason why the off road package Patriot is rated, but yet the Compass is not. They really aren't the same. If anyone was curious, there are lots of good off road videos on youtube with the Patriot. Lots of lame ones too, like driving on the front lawn Belteshazzer- I never heard of this problem with the the ball joints or tie rods. Sorry. I know a lot of people lift them and sometimes it poses a problem with some compatibility issues. Who knows- so far so good. No car is perfect. Aeromoto- Where did WRC come into play here? I have no illusions with Jeeps. Especially the Patriot. I know it's not a Wrangler, but I'm more than happy and impressed with the capabilities it does have. They are what they are and I would choose a Subaru any time in rally competitions. I could have a lot of fun in my Patriot I bet, but it's too new to abuse. I have done some nice four wheel drifts in the snow recently though, and they were quite well controlled . It does a great job at a little bit of everything, and that's why we bought it. The Subaru would not be suited for our land, and I would never consider one for that. I may get a beater of one later down the road, but not to replace the Patriot. Just to help me in the Winter when my miata is out of it's element with 3.5 inches of ground clearance, using the front air dam as a shovel for snow! I absolutely HATE urban 4x4's! No point to them, but they're everywhere up here. Mall rated is pretty much spot-on unfortunately!! I'm prolly a small majority of owners that actually use it to the fullest. Anyway, another long winded post, but I didn't want to attack anyone, and I hope people get at least a little bit of good information out of my post before they decide that a Patriot is a crap pile!


ddavidv SuperDork
2/3/12 4:14 p.m.

I've read several reviews of the Patriot, and they are surprisingly capable off-road, certainly as good as any Subaru.

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