My fellow men, i need some advice. The time has come for me to let go of my '94 Chevy Blazer (at almost 200k miles, it's earned its rest), and i find myself looking for a replacement. I've narrowed my options down to three contenders so far- Dodge Nitro, Jeep Liberty, or Jeep Patriot. Now, a little background- I will be purchasing used, as i am a money-minded man. I do a lot of highway driving, but i often find myself in situations where a 4-wheel drive vehicle is essential. I don't have a lot of money to blow on gas, as i also do a fair amount of in-city driving. I like vehicles that dont require a lot of maintenance (hence why two of my picks are Jeeps), but i do appreciate a certain rogue-ish appearance. I've done quite a bit of research on-line (KBB, Cars.com, Autotrader), but i would be remiss if i did not ask my AoM brethren for their input. Any input is appreciated, including alternate suggestions (although i will tell you that i despise crossovers- it's an aesthetic thing).

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I drive a Jeep Liberty pretty much every day for work. It’s an ok vehicle but it can be a little tight if you are a big guy plus the Liberty didn’t get very favorable performance reviews for a SUV in its class. That aside, I live in the Ouachita Mountains and during last winter’s snows the Liberty drove amazing well. It pulled hills where F250 s equipped with snow tires had slid off the road. I was very impressed.  I drove a 2013 Durango today and it rode and handled really sweet, just food for thought. Best of luck in your choice.

 

I would not go with any of your chooses, I have rented all of them and feel they are clunky, poorly designed, bad on gas, needs more maintenance than most vehicles and have bad resale value. Go with a Honda or Toyota small SUV.

I generally recommend to stay away from Dodges (all of your options listed are made by Dodge). My family has had some bad experiences in the past with them. Most notably a couple of Caravans that spent more time on jack stands than the road. Not to mention it was a Dodge that belonged to our favorite television shoe salesman...

http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/2/3733/961/21830480027_l...

On the plus side, if you want to learn a thing or two about fixing cars they're great!

I know that Chrysler owns jeep and dodge and that whole thing is now owned by Fiat, but I have heard  of chryslers having tons of problems usually with the trans, yet both my dad 2001 wrangler never had problems, even offroading for years, and neither did my grandfathers (my dads was stick and my grand dads was auto). 

I owned a jeep Cherokee sport from new and had major electrical problems from the start and the four litre was pretty thirsty . I now have a Toyota FJ cruiser and am very happy with it .

Got my wife a 2011 Compass that had been sitting on the lot for ever, no one down here wanted a 4x4, so we got it at an absolute steal.

Taken it on a couple smaller road trips and it has handled very well. Taken it moderately off road, did really well, loved it when I hit some very soft, deep sand, felt the whole thing engage and it just shot right through it.

Depending where you live you should be able to find one for the same price as a Patriot. Decent mileage for an SUV, it can handle itself in sand and snow, and it fits my fat 6'1" self just fine

I can't say I like any of those.  The one time I drove a Liberty, the seats were atrocious.  Absolutely uncomfortable.  

I know this isn't on your list, but our 2004 Subaru Forester has been great.  It's at ~130k miles, and we've mostly done scheduled maintenance.  Plus, it's available with turbo-boosters!

Thanks guys. Most of the options you've mentioned were, at one point, in the running. Usually eliminated because of high up-front cost. Cases in point being the FJ cruiser and the subaru. Love them both, but i just cant afford the payments. darn shame.

I have a FJ, and if gas is an issue, don't get one. The very boxy body isn't good aerodynamiclly, and it get 2-3 mpg less than a 4runner with the same engine/trans combo. The manuals are even worse because they are full time 4wd. Im not usually a Chrysler guy, and not knowing your budget either, I'd maybe look at a used Grand Cherokee. There were diesel Liberties and Grand Cherokees for a while, but I believe those command a premium on the used market. I would agree with those who said look at a Subaru as well. I'd also consider the 4cyl Tacoma 4wd. They are a bit harder to find (Toyota would rather sell you a 6cyl extra or double cab for 10k more) but very good on gas. My mother drives a RAV4 and has been very happy with it, though I think her's is just 2wd.

And if you despise crossovers, why are you looking at the Patriot? That's a crossover based on the Mitsubishi GS platform.

Get a Subaru: all wheel drive, good torque, and also fast as hell. Their engines have been known to hit 300K without incident, and the gas mileage is usually a little more that what you expect.

If you get it used, a subbie is usually in pretty good condition and it's possible to get them pretty cheap.

Just an update: I wound up getting a used 2012 Jeep liberty sport. Less than 5500 miles! Sharp looks, handles well, gets a lot better mileage than my old blazer, and its FUN. Does well both city and country driving. Took it off road in some muddy fields, and it kept its grip very nicely.

Congrats on the new car!

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