This was an actual driving test. I have no place close by for real off-roading and I wanted to test it the same way that I’ve been driving my Compass FD I. Besides that, I am considerate of the fact that this will be somebodies new baby and I won’t be the one who puts stress on it without it being broken in first.
Here are my favorite off-road tests borrowed from previous threads:
On Thursday I made a Saturday morning appointment to test drive and hopefully get some “on-the-rack” pics of the undercarriage. By 10:30 when the wife and I arrived, it had just sold to a couple who came in a ½ hour before we got there. The dealer and sales crew understood what my intentions were and the new owners let me do my thing.
It drives VERY nice, not much unlike the Compass with FD I but the whole feel is a little more truck like, but not a big truck at all. The steering was more to my wife’s liking, it was more like her GC when compared to the Compass. The Compass FD I has more of a “sporty” quickness feel about it and the Patriot FD II has a precise, firm durable feel about it. This probably is because of the longer actuating arms, slightly stiffer shocks and difference in programming for articulation. Not harsh though, very comfortable ride. The whole driving experience has a very pleasant ruggedness to it. Sitting in either the front or rear seats is identical to the Compass, same head room, hip room, shoulder room, feet and knee room. Very roomy, I felt right at home.
The 19:1 low range for the CVT2L is the only low range. I had thought that maybe in “D” it would use the standard 14:1 low like the CVT2 but it doesn’t; that I presume is why the difference in gas mileage between the two, 21-23mpg for the FD II and 23-26 for the FD I. Still for a fully Trail Rated Jeep it’s very good! For the first 20 feet off of the line it feels like a granny low and it was great. Then the different spacing for the electronic gear ratios on the CVT2L brought you up to cruising speed comfortably and smoothly. Also when you drop it down in to “L”, either in AWD or 4WD, it stays in low, it’s not just a lock for the off-road programming it’s an actually 1st gear only. Pulling up the 4WD T-handle while in “L” engages the Off-Road mode, increases engine speed and turns off the ESP.
Visibility is some what better than the Compass’ out the rear and sides due to the more rectangular windows. The headrests on the rear seats still obstruct the view from the rear view mirror. I did bring this up with the sales rep and if he doesn’t pass it on to the powers that be, maybe JeepInfoCenter will read our comments and pass them along. The sales rep brought up the design of the head rests for the rear seats in the Mini-Vans that slide up and down and extend over the top front of the rear seats. These would be far better, take a look at them the next time you’re at a dealers.
In a word – SWEET! Classic Jeep style! If the FD II package will afford you the extra capabilities that you need then this could serve you well as multi-purpose DD and Weekend Warrior. The slight sacrifice in mpg is minor compared to the Trail Rated abilities that it’s capable of doing.
A special thanks to the Sales Staff and Parts Department at Frank Boucher CDJ in Janesville, WI and to the new owners of one nice Patriot Limited with the Trail Rated FD II package.
For how this Patriot was equipped, go here: http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/showt...57#post3579757