Like a stick? Here's how to get the best 4x4 value
By MrPractical on Tuesday, December 22, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000
overall rating 9 of 10rating details
- Overall Rating
Pros: "Value and reliability"
Cons: "Rear exterior visibility"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The enthusiastic reviews here aren't shills, I can assure you. While the venerable Patriot doesn't much impress the car writers who throw around jargon like "daily driver"-- as if 95 percent of us had anything but -- dollar for dollar, there's still not a better value in a reliable, adequately powered 4x4 crossover. Here's the total maintenance I've had done in three and a half years: oil changes and fluid top-offs. That's it.
I nervously bought mine in 2012, after Chrysler had already announced the model's demise in 2013. But guess what, they had a problem -- the (2011) re-styled Patriot kept selling far more units each successive year, so I did not end up with an orphan after all. Here are the U.S. sales figures:
2011 - 54,647
2012 - 62,010
2013 - 75,797
2014 - 93,462
2015 - 107,258
It looks as though Fiat may finally replace the Patriot/Compass models next year, but you can still get one now. And with over a million Patriot/Compass/Caliber models -- all essentially the same CUV -- still on the road, parts and maintenance shouldn't be a problem anytime soon.
I wanted the 5-speed manual transmission 4x4 with the nice wheels and manual windows. (Do you REALLY want to skid into an icy body of water with electric windows shorting out, or ride around in the summer ten years from now with malfunctioning seat warmers coming on? Hmmmm? Yeah, the fob-operated locks would be nice but they're only available with the package.) But that configuration was on NO car lot in North America--I looked.
So, here's what I did. Through my credit union's dealer, I ordered the base Sport model--the ONLY one with the 5-speed stick--with the 4x4 option, A/C, and the winter package, which provides the wheel upgrade, engine warmer, rubber floor mats (hey--it's a JEEP!), fog lamps, and tow hooks. Cagey, huh, but don't forget the tow hitch like I somehow did. (I see Latitude model owners all the time who paid for the pricey standard stuff that comes with that model and then saved a few bucks by getting the ugly, small wheels! WTF!?) I paid just under $22,000 to drive it away.
Couple of miscellaneous notes: If you're over 5-10 you may feel cramped--it's a bit narrower than most CUVs and has less head room. And, if you don't need quite as much cargo space (50.8 vs 63.4 cu ft with back seats down), the new Jeep Renegade looks like a sweet buy. I average only about 23mpg, but the thousands I saved over the next lowest-priced 4x4 buys lotsa gasoline."
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