Good For: T is for turbo, and torque. I already drove the Regal in 2012, but the 2014 has some distinct changes. The first thing I noticed was the red T badge on the trunk as I was loading my luggage. The new 2.0L turbo motor is now the base engine, and it makes 295 lb-ft of torque! The 6-speed automatic is geared to show it off too. The Regal rumbled up and down I-85 below 2000 rpm, shooting up hills effortlessly in 6th gear. Other cars have to bang into lower gears and higher revs to maintain speed on the same route.
Compromises: Buick changed the interior around, and totally messed up the HVAC temperature controls. They grabbed a bad idea from Ford and implemented "capacitive touch" areas offering no tactile feedback to your inputs.
Overall reaction - Thumb down: The Regal has received a minor update with the engine and interior, but the rest of the car and its problems remain. It's a small, expensive, heavy, front-wheel drive car with an electronic e-brake, now with distracting climate control.
Good For: Jeep builds a car. Jeep practically invented the SUV, offering a line of vehicles with the ruggedness of a truck chassis but shaped like a wagon. The Patriot is Jeep's first departure from this, and they started with a compact car platform used for several other cars from the Chrysler Corporation. This approach still yields a compact car with respectable off-road capabilities, even with the base "Freedom Drive I" configuration, thanks to short overhangs and lifted suspension. The electronic 4WD coupling works for a variety of surfaces you may encounter in a vehicle, including grass, dirt, and wet pavement. The boxy body is also practical, providing decent room for people and gear.
Compromises: The 4-cylinder GEMA engine used in this platform has to work really hard in the Jeep. With the 4WD equipment loaded it weighs in around 3300 pounds. Add people and cargo I found the CVT working to wind the engine up into higher revs in order to maintain speed up hills. All this seems to also put a big ding in the fuel economy, which is noticeably poorer than even my rat rod turbo Subaru.
Overall reaction - Thumb up: Jeep did a great job converting the compact car to an off roader. The base model even has a proper manual transmission. Pricing looks dirt cheap at first glance, but this may be the only car still sold here with air conditioning as an option.