I'll chime in. Let me be up front: I don't have a Patriot yet, but should have one by the end of the week. It's on hold, ready to go, and I just need to get a few things in order before taking it home. Silver limited 4X4, moonroof, security & convenience package...nice vehicle. The one I'm getting does not have the off-road group.
Key differences as I understand it:
- Off-road group has lower (numerically higher) gearing, hill descent control, skidplates, a little more ground clearance, and a few other goodies that would be great off road.
- Off-road group does NOT have the autostick on the CVT. Or at least that's what I've been able to figure out, but I could be wrong.
No autostick function is the only reason why I didn't special order one with the off-road group. I'm a bit of a control freak when it comes to gear selection, and I found through my test driving that I really liked the combination of the CVT and autostick. An automatic makes way too much sense for me because of where I live (loads of traffic and steep hills), so a manual is out for me. The CVT & autostick combination is a winner for me...allows the convenience of an automatic with the ability to have more control over the engine's RPM and "gear" selection while negotiating the traffic and hills here.
If the autostick doesn't matter to you, then by all means, go for the off-road group. If you like the autostick, you could go for one without the off-road group, and then add in some of the other stuff later like the taller tires and skidplates. If you're not sure whether or not you like the autostick, go for a test drive over some hilly terrain and see whether you think you'd use autostick. And be sure to include some highway runs in there, and do some passing moves as well, both in drive and using autostick. I've only been able to do short lower-speed test drives, but the autostick was a winner for me. And reading comments from other Patriot owners on another forum about how they use autostick really cemented in my mind that the autostick was worth more to me than the off-road goodies.
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2008 MV Agusta Brutale 910S