I don't think the car is at all underpowered. I ALWAYS take such statements from car rags with a grain of salt. They want everything to be supercar fast, and when it isn't, they bitch about lack of power. I get on the freeway every day for my work commute here in Akron, OH. I have no problem getting up to speed for the highway. Power is just fine. I have no problem passing slower traffic if the need arises. It's a SUV, not a sports car. The transmission is fine, IMO. There are two shift points in the transmission that will feel a bit "different" if you pay especially close attention due to the design of the thing. Also while it may be a nine speed auto, most cases it's going to be a seven speed. They start out in second, and unless you are going to be running north of 80 mph, you'll never see 9th. I have no qualms of shift quality. It's smooth unobtrusive, and the vehicle feels like a baby Grand Cherokee to me. Go drive one for yourself. Remember one thing, forums are where people go to discuss problems they're having. This IS an FCA product, and being Italian owned, QC is more apt to be a customer process instead of a factory one. I just clicked over 2k miles with mine, and have no regrets, and have had no issues beyond a couple of instances where the auto start stop threw service warnings at nearly zero degree weather. Presumably the auxiliary battery was simply too cold and didn't poll that the system was good to go fast enough for the ECM to be happy with it.