Now, now, no fighting. I used to go off on shivies like that.
My Model A was one of the best cars I ever owned and the Corvair was a lot of fun too.
First the attributes that cover both. You live in Maine and I suspect you get a little snow along with a lobster fest once in a while. You're gonna love it. Snow? What snow? We don't care about no stinkin' snow! These are really the greatest on the road, inclement weather, grocery getter's I've ever seen! The only thing that bothers me is a white out and it doesn't have infrared radar. Bummer.
Keep in mind that most people join or read a forum because they are having some kind of problem but many are isolated. You can skim threw the TSB's
and see what kind of things that the factory has listed as "concerns" if a customer complains. The link also covers all Caliber's including the SRT's and they also have date of manufacture disclosure.
The CVT's seem a little slow off the line but some of that is just perception. They're very smooth on the shifting so you'll need to watch the speedometer until you get used to the CVT. Per Jawa78 many have noticed the abrupt downshift in the early stages that smooths out pretty quickly.
The 5 speed is better off the line and will give you a little better mpg. There is a TSB on the syncros not being up to par from the vendor and the clutch slave cylinder is an internal unit that I've one or two issues on. Also a clutch pedal squeak will get a lube job under warranty/TSB.
A problem common to both are leaky sunroofs caused by pinched drain tubes covered by a TSB. Mine leaked because a leaf got stuck in the tube (1) and I wasn't quick enough to close it when a sudden down pout hit at work (2).
The Patriot has also been noted to leak by quite a few even without a sunroof. One fellow finally had the dealer buy his back from him and he bought a Liberty instead. It appears that either the roof seams were either not sealed or welded properly on some.
Another fellow hated the ride in his Compass so much that he traded it in on a Patriot. About all we heard was that the Patriot was everything the Compass is not but few details explaining why other than the ride. Between the Compass, Patriot, Sport, Limited and Off Road package there are 7 different sets of springs used.
Common to both again, very limited though, is suspension parts not properly tightened at the factory; tie rod ends and one report on the rack and pinion unit.
Other isolated and what I consider minor things reported that have either been resolved under warranty or TSB's for the most part such as steering wheel audio control malfunction, a few "no start" conditions by some, squeaky brakes in reverse (a part put in backwards at the factory), some one had a wiper that wouldn't turn off.
I'm really trying hard to think of a few more things but nothing is coming to mind. They really are very dependable and road worthy for an entry lever bit of transportation. What many call a "cheap plastic interior" is really very easy to clean.
A CRICKET! OMG, I thought that I had wierd stuff!