We went from a Forester to the Patriot. A year later, I got a 2wd Patriot as a company vehicle, so now we have two in the driveway.
Ours is a 5 speed, because we are a family that shifts our own gears. It's an '08, so has the older more plasticky interior. It currently has 105,000 on it, and is quiet and rattle free. Power is comparable to the Subaru; adequate, but in the upper RPM ranges it just makes more noise than power. It's the kind of vehicle that goes faster than you think it is; on-ramps seem like you're accelerating leisurely but it's actually zipped up to 70 mph before you realize it. While you can always want of more power, it really doesn't need it (the 2.4 anyway). Shifter isn't nearly as clunky as I expected and clutch is easy to modulate. It has more shoulder room than the Subaru but may seem a little more cramped at the knee/dash area if you're long legged. Handles better than you'd expect. AWD system is primary to the front wheels so drives like a FWD car most of the time (so it's less tail happy weird than the 50/50 Subaru).
The CVT equipped 4x2 company car is a Limited with leather and so forth. Drives exactly the same. The CVT which I expected to despise is actually quite good. It's very pleasant to drive and acceleration is good. The only thing I don't like is initial throttle application can be jerky; a bit of an on/off switch unless you are subtle with initial application. Having had this one, I would not refuse to buy one with the CVT if the 5 speed wasn't available.
Gas mileage is about the same regardless of which drivetrain system you wind up with. Mid 20s is about the norm; highway you'll see upper 20s. Better mileage than the Forester it replaced but that's a result of gearing; the Suby turned far more RPMs at 70 than the Jeep does. You'll spend money on the Patriot over time; the ball joints are notorious for failing, I had to replace rattly sway bar end links and one rear wheel bearing crapped out at around 90,000 but no car is perfect. No timing belt to replace nor head gasket failures like the Subaru.
The Patriot is a far better vehicle than people give it credit and a bargain in the marketplace compared to the overpriced Subarus.