Jeep Patriot & Compass replacement, Options to the Chevy Impala, Cool VW Van and Luxury Snow Dominating SUV [Ask Nathan]

Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it's relevant in the automotive universe, there's a chance we may know something about it. The author's email address and name will be omitted - leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.

Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.

From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.

MMUSA Oklahoma Cow Chip Flip

In this edition of Ask Nathan:

  • Jeep Patriot & Compass replacement?
  • 20K Cool Sedan other than the Chevy Impala?
  • Where is Porsche?
  • XC90 vs Yukon Denali vs Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel?

The first question comes from a viewer who’s curious about the potential of the upcoming replacement for the Jeep Patriot and Compass.

Q: Hi everyone,

This is N., from Montreal, Canada,

First off I’d like to say that I love your reviews and all the work you do, I always recommend your reviews to people when looking up new cars. You do a great job at real life reviewing and not biased based reviews.

Now to my question(s), I’m sure you have already seen the spy shots of the upcoming 2017 jeep compass replacement. Here in Canada the price difference between a fully loaded renegade trailhawk and a Cherokee trailhawk is roughly $2,500 (that includes the V6). Therefore how do you see them fitting in the new model between these two, price wise.

I own a 2013 jeep wrangler, and I’m looking for a second SUV, however I don’t see the reason for getting a smaller less capable jeep for only a couple of bucks, especially when interior passenger space and cargo are roughly similar.

Second question do you believe that they are just rebadging the compass and patriot under the new model along side with the Cherokee, seeing as how the interior size is roughly identical. Meaning the compass is replaced by the Cherokee and the patriot will be replaced by the 2017 model.

Also the renegade isn’t that much smaller, at least not enough to create a distinguishable difference between 2017 jeep “replacement” and the Cherokee. (not grand Cherokee)

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Once again keep up the great work,


A: Wow, we’re getting lots of good stuff out of Canada!

First of all, yes, there is room between the Cherokee and Renegade for a middle model. It is splitting hairs, but it makes sense that the Jeep Patriot and Jeep Compass go away to make room for one model. I expect the price gap to be around $1,500 US. The Compass and Patriot are on old platforms and will be retired much better vehicles than when they began. It’s possible that this replacement may have different capabilities and power (a Fiat diesel – perhaps?).

I wish I could give you solid information about the Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot replacement, but all I have are official (vague) statements and a few inside hints. You have to remember, Jeep has two styling/theme directions: Jeep Wrangler (round headlights and angular shapes) and Jeep Grand Cherokee (future Jeep with aerodynamics playing an influence).

Here’s what we know: Jeep is on track to build a replacement for both the Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot. It will slot in directly between the Jeep Cherokee and Jeep Renegade. It should be out next year-ish.

..That’s it. As far as I have seen, that’s all the information that publicly available.

Inside information is about as reliable as a sewing circle; however, sources and “experts” have proven to be more accurate than not.

Here goes the speculation:

  • It may look like a baby Cherokee as the upcoming Jeep Grand Wagoneer is supposed to have a Wrangler bent. That will make three Cherokee-themed Jeeps and three Wrangler-themed Jeeps. Look man, it’s a guess.
  • It may have an optional four-cylinder diesel hooked up to the nine-speed automatic transmission. This will crank up the brand’s EPA numbers. The other engine could be the 2.4-liter Tigershark.
  • Test mules we’ve seen suggest a vehicle that’s three to five inches longer than the Jeep Renegade.
  • Possible names: Comanche, Compatriot, Jeepster, Super-Nathan, Commando and Liberty… Right?
  • It may have an updated version of the “My Sky” removable tops.
  • It will have a “Trailhawk” version

That’s about all I have for now. You’re right, it’s hard to justify a vehicle that bridges the entry Jeep Renegade and Jeep Cherokee – from a buyer’s perspective. On the other hand, if they get the styling and marketing right, Jeep may find a group of consumers that want something nearly the size of a Renegade with the looks of a Cherokee. You never know.



2014 chevrolet impala chevy large sedan
2014 Chevrolet Impala

This next question comes from a fan who wants a nice vehicle at 20K that’s not a Chevy Impala.

Q: Hey guys I’m currently in the market for a new vehicle and who better to ask then the people who review them. I have a budget of 20k, I want something sporty that looks good and has some pretty cool options, but the one car I have been looking at is the 2015 impala with the v6. I do live in Chicago so I want something that’s good in snow so the impala does have fwd. The only thing is I commute about 30 minutes everyday to work .

I just want your guys honest opinion thanks very much. -E.


A: Yep, had you not mentioned the Chevrolet Impala, I would have suggested it.

Here’s a few sensible FWD sedan possibilities that range in price from $22,000 to $27,000 for nicely equipped versions:

  • Toyota Camry
  • Dodge Dart 1.4 Turbo
  • Honda Accord
  • Ford Fusion
  • Chrysler 200
  • KIA Optima
  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Volkswagen Passat

Now, if you’re looking for a little bit more FWD fun that looks good – check these out:
Scion tC FR-S

  • Scion tC
  • Fiat 500 Abarth
  • Volkswagen Jetta 1.8t
  • Ford Fiesta ST
  • Chevrolet Sonic Turbo

Remember: if you use snow tires, your ability to drive safely in snow increases dramatically.

Good luck!


volkswagen-transporter-van 2016 w Bulli
This email comes from a viewer who feels Volkswagen is missing the boat in North America when it comes to their van and their sales. We agree.

Q: Hi Roman, Nathan, Andres and Emmie!

This is more of an opinion than a question. Volkswagen was aiming to be the number one automaker and missed the mark by an embarrassing margin. One of the reasons is their sales in the United States stink. There are a few reasons and Volkswagen has done nothing to fix it.

Whoever does their product planning and public relations should be fired immediately. They need to make unique cars again, and not just for other markets. American consumers see their cars as inferior to Japanese cars. Most of their cars marketed to this region are boring as hell.

I bet, if they built a retro-looking Volkswagen van off the new Volkswagen T6 platform and sold it here, they would sell a million of them. I’m being honest here. If they became a little more creative and serviced our wants over our needs, they would sell so much more.

Why not build a Squareback 4-door based on the Beetle? How about building something cool like an SUV that looks a bit like the VW Thing? It’s not that hard Volkswagen! Build things that we think are cool and you’ll sell a ton!

What do you guys think?


New Microbus 1
A: That’s a great point! I know for sure that Emme would be the first in line for a Volkswagen “Thing.” I also agree about heading in the retro direction. They need to shake things up to increase their presences in the North American subconscious.

Andre and I were just talking about the older Volkswagen Bully concept and how it would have sold like gangbusters in the country.

Hopefully, Volkswagen will do an about-face and re-imagine their products in this country.

Thanks for the great email!



2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel
This last question comes from a fan who’s choosing between a Volvo XC90, Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel and the GMC Yukon Denali.

Q: Hi Nathan,

My wife and I have been test driving several SUV’s to replace her current 2005 Chevy Trailbazer 4X4. We have had excellent service life out of her Trailblazer (it has 250,125 miles on it now). My wife drives her vehicle daily and we rely on it as our “go to” vehicle for snow travel in the winter months in Pennsylvania. Her Trailblazer has a shift on the fly 4X4 system with auto/hi/low and an auto locking axle and has proven to be a tank in heavy snow. Although we don’t go rock climbing with it, we do some soft-roading at the most extreme case and need an extremely capable vehicle for snow that ranges from several inches to several feet.

We have pushed her vehicle through snow that was just below headlight level and never got stuck. To say that this vehicle has endeared itself to us is an understatement.

With all that being said, we know that the Trailblazer will not last forever and are looking around for a replacement that is just as reliable and capable. The first thing that we found out was that most SUV’s are AWD these days and not true 4X4’s. I don’t know if that matters for heavy snow performance, so I’m relying on your extensive experience here.

There are three vehicle that we are currently looking at:
1.) 2016 Volvo XC90 T6 Inscription
2.) 2015/16 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Ecodiesel (with Quadra-Drive II)
3.) 2015/16 GMC Yukon Denali w/ auto locking axle.

My instructions from my wife were to maintain a level of luxury, provide better fuel economy than the 14mpg overall that she gets from her Trailblazer, provide the same level of snow going capability that she currently has, and finally the new vehicle must be at least as durable as her Trailblazer has been.

What can you recommend for us?

PS: I perform all of my own maintenance on our vehicles so service warranties are not a big incentive for us.

Thanks Nathan!



A: Thanks for the email!

All of the vehicles you listed are excellent; however, in my experience, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel (with the right tires) is a beast in snow. You will see a real improvement in fuel mileage and the Jeep Grand Cherokee has one of the best interiors in the business. Mucho luxury, tons of capability and a hell of a good engine.

With that being said, the GMC Yukon Denali I recently drove was a fantastic vehicle in the snow. It tows better than the Jeep Grand Cherokee (even the diesel Jeep) and it’s more roomy. For me, it’s a coin-toss between the two in terms of comfort, capability and utility.

Still, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel can get amazing range on one tank of fuel.

Hope that helps a bit.



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Nathan Adlen Bio Picture Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. His words, good humor and videos are enjoyed worldwide.[Ask Nathan]