I just bought a 4WD Patriot Sport, 5 spd manual, 17" tires, 2.4L, Full size Spare, Fog Lights. I purchased the roof rail crossbars, custom Jeep mats, and a few other items seperately to put finishing touches on the vehicle. Can't wait to drive it off the lot. It's being built at the factory--the options I wanted are just not grouped together in the standard "show room" models. Delivery in two more weeks (been waitin' a few already!--keep ya' posted.)
I drove the LTD w/CVT -- that pretty much drew a vacuum, but maybe the CVT is a personal preference. For me, no CVT. I thought the CVT lacked pep, and the racing engine noise associated with compensating for optimum torque/hp/rpm/blah blah blah ratios....sorry...the marketing hype is losing me on that one. I know CVT's have been around for a little while, but I think they need to be around for a lot longer while before I'll put my money into them. Then there's that whole idea of a steel belt that is connecting the engine to the wheels via a computer controlled set of trans-conflabulating conical pullies. Hmmm..... maybe I think too much, but is there a flux capacitor in there too?
The manual tranny puts this respectable 4WD contender in the running. For those who prefer the more car like luxuries found in some SUV's--go for it. For me, I was looking for a Jeep, one with traditional Jeep styling, and with Jeep performance for the driving conditions I will encounter, and a couple of the comforts of an SUV with it's A/C & roomy passenger compartment.
I did test drive a Suzuki XL-7, Mitsubishi Montero, Nissan Murano (I know, don't shoot me,) Range Rover (some small crossover suv wannabe version--didn't like it--I let the sales person show that one...whatever!,) and a Jeep Liberty. The Liberty was nice, but just wasn't the style vehicle I was looking for and the gas mileage, well....
Stay tuned...more updates in mid-April!