|Reviewed By||Paul Duchene|
|Price as Tested||$21,995|
Surprisingly sophisticated, compact SUV. 172-hp, DOHC 4-cylinder has variable valve timing and 165 ft-lbs of torque for adequate passing power. Amazingly capable on beach dunes thanks to locking transfer case. ESP keeps it straight on muddy tracks, optional auto stick shifts instantly. Simple controls, back seat OK for adults. Mid-20s mileage.
Jeep styling seems forced in this lower, more urban profile. Interior plastic feels cheap. Limited model has blingy wheels and unnecessary trim. Handy auto stick won’t hold a gear into redline and 5-speed stick is vague. 4-cylinder limits show up with 2,000-lb towing capacity.
Much more capable than I expected and a relative bargain—if you can get by some of the odd styling cues. Shares platform with prettier Dodge Caliber, which doesn’t get 4-wheel drive, in case you were hoping.
|Fun to Drive|
|Fun to Look at|
Sep 01, 2006