Just bought an '08 Patriot with the CVT. There is only one thing I find that I don't like about the CVT. I am fine with how it drives in normal operation, no issues there. I did some testing however and the thing can't seem to get out of it's own way from a standstill. Every other AWD/4WD car I have ever test driven I have taken out to a patch of gravel, etc. and gotten both front and back to spin to prove to myself the AWD/4WD was working. I didn't do it with this one because the damn sales guy was in the car on both test drives but I had faith it was good, and I still do.
Anyway so the night after I bought it I take it to a gravel patch on the side of an uphill freeway entrance ramp. No matter what I do I can't get enough power to the wheels to spin them, even with ESP completely OFF. Any car should be able to do that, manual or automatic. I know the engine has more than enough power, the CVT is just not allowing it to get to the wheels. So that aspect I'm not happy with. I can see this absolutely sucking in some offroad situations. I'm not that upset because I didn't plan on doing serious wheeling in it, and I still have my Cherokee, but come on, what were they thinking? A Subaru, heck even a Honda Element AWD can put down more power to get out of a whole or over a hump. Grrrr.
Edit: I must admit I might be being too harsh here. The other AWDs I tested were all manual trans so it's possible they might have done the same thing as automatics, I just don't know.
This however almost makes up for it
I filled it up, drove it 100 miles and filled it up again and got 27 mpg! Now it wasn't the same pump and any differences are going to be magnified because I only used about a quarter of a tank so this might not be all that accurate but it's a good sign. I live in the country so I can do 60 mph right out of my driveway, therefore almost all my miles are essentially highway miles. I'll post back when I get my first full fill up from the same pump so I'll know what the real number is.