Blind to the Value

As equipped, our test Patriot Limited 4x4's price was $29,700, and people found that hard to stomach. Dig deeper, and you find the base price for this trim is $24,550, which is a bit lower than that of the CR-V's and Tucson's higher trim levels (see them compared). The roughly $5,000 difference amounted to our Patriot's long list of options, including the automatic transmission, a moonroof and a premium stereo with unique flip-down rear speakers in the liftgate. There's also remote start, Bluetooth phone connectivity, HomeLink, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a cargo cover, roof-rack crossbars, a readout for the tire pressure monitoring system and more. The in-dash multimedia system included a well-executed navigation system with a free year of Sirius Traffic Service. It also featured both analog and digital jacks for playing and controlling audio sources and for loading songs and photos onto the onboard hard disk drive.

It's actually a lot of features for the money, but there's such a disconnect between the price and the perception of quality that people seemed blind to the value of the added options. If this doesn't illustrate the importance of aesthetic quality, nothing will.

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