29 June 2013
Day 1 Chicago, IL to Omaha, NE
Day 2 Omaha, NE to Estes Park, CO @ Rocky Mountain N.P.
Day 3 Estes Park, CO to Jackson, WY
Day 4,5,6,7 Jackson, WY @ Grand Teton N.P. and Yellowstone N.P.
Day 8 Jackson, WY to Rapid City, SD @ Mount Rushmore N.P.
(I think it is actually National Monument]
Day 9 Rapid City, SD to Chicago, IL
7 July 2013
First the all important answer to the question:
: How thirsty is the V6 5000 lbs porker with 4 people and enough luggage to travel to the moon. And back.
A: Fantastically economical
. I drove the posted speed limits + 2 mph which meant I either had it on 72 mph or 75 mph. All the freaking way. Never less than 70 mph. Up the mountains, down the mountains. Plus the needed 85+ acceleration in SPORT mode to get around campers and people driving sub-standard. Exception being the National Parks where I drove slower. The +2mph is because I had set up the navi lady to remind my wife the posted speed limit - so any variation above or below the posted limit triggered the annoying little lady in the dashboard. A +2 mph setup took care of that. Sure I could have quieted her in the settings but I was lazy.
There will be few nice pictures, my comments on what went exceptionally well and what did not (as far as the car goes), my impressions on the off-road attempts in the National Forest outside Jackson WY. So bear with me, I am just waking up.
The car: 2014 JGC with ORA II and Lux Pkg. and RA4 Navi and the Adv. Tech Group. So...an Overland minus the leather dashboard and the puddle lights, V6 with a home brewed Cold Air Intake.
I will start with the NEGATIVE IMPRESSIONS
(simply because it is easier to get it over with and realize that everything else worked either fine, perfectly, or flawlessly).
SYSTEM GREMLINS, ANNOYANCES, ISSUES
. I had updated to whatever patch came out 13.19.0 just before leaving on the trip. Even the previous one had worked well and had cured my erratic GPS display. I had no problems until days 8 and 9 when around Rapid City SD, the navigation started acting up, going into crazy re-routing modes and putting me off I-90 by about 300 feet. Has happened before ...4-5 times. This continued into day 9 and even closer to home, around Madison, WI. Also, the in-dash display seemed to turn off on occasion but I could click it right back. I think there may have been on OTA update for U-Connect and messed up my system. AGAIN.
2) Wi-Fi Hot Spot
. It worked decently well, there was a consistent signal but at some point it failed to provide internet anymore and the box could not be clicked any more. I had to use it as T-crappy-Mobile did not provide coverage. It happened right after I pulled over for a driver change and turned off the engine. Also every 30 min or so, the service would be interrupted ( I was streaming music by phone - so I just had to restart the App).
Now onto POSITIVE IMPRESSIONS
1) The fuel economy
: 25.5 MPG
...I am floored. The range on this thing is amazing. I could cruise at 28-29-30 mpg all day (on flat ground at 60 mph - say Chicagoland) and just me and wife in the truck but I didn't. I had 4 people and so much luggage, I went up to 10-12,000 feet,
I crossed semi-arid high altitude...emptiness at 75 and often put in in SPORT to blast by campers (my new hate). You can easily do 600 miles in the truck. In fact each leg, days 1-3 were done on one fuel tank.
2) The adaptive cruise control - phenomenal
. Now, I have driven Chicago-Montreal ...hmmm 14 times before, 850 miles one way, in other cars, including a 2011 JGC. But aside from the safety considerations (another set of "eyes" and "controls" that can slow down the car), it just made driving more relaxing. And that is the bottom line for me as far as the Adaptive Cruise Control goes: Added Safety and Driving Comfort
3) Vented Seats
much needed and worked well in the 90-100 deg. dry heat of Wyoming's high altitude faux deserts
in my light attempt at off-roading (I will tell you where on the map I was - or you can googloe it yourselves). There's no 4x4 trails in the National Parks but in Jackson, WY I went to the visitor's center and they pointed me to trails in the National Forest. The one trail I took (time constraints - 4th of July) went to a very...remote...bear is your neighbor type camping...and then it just went and went and went into the mountain, becoming rougher and rougher. I went all the way to a lake, I started in OR-1, 4-Hi and briefly dropped it into 4-LO and also used the Hill Descent feature briefly. I also..forgot about ECONOMY vs. NORMAL so I stayed in ECO Mode. Didn't have a problem. Now it wasn't much of an off-road adventure, I'll admit, but I was at 8500 ft at some point and the car did not struggle. At all. And no, I did not
play with the TERRAIN RESPONSE.
5) 8-speed tranny and the 3.6 L V6
. ENOUGH POWER-GEAR RATIOS combo to keep me satisfied
. YES, there were times when I needed more zest but nothing short of a turbo would have done it. Maybe the SRT would have provided equal amount of brute acceleration - maybe not - but in those moments I was contemplating how my Mitsubishi EVO turbo-driven STI-geared Subaru Legacy GT would fare, with its 282 whp and 350 wheel torques and weighing only 3300 lbs. Probably a lot better than even the mighty SRT since turbo engines suffer a lot less at altitude. I found the manual shift useful
as well, a bit better control and acceleration over the SPORT mode alone.
6) Enough Room for the Family
. Enough said. 2 parents and a wife. Enough luggage to last us for a round trip to the moon.
7) Error Codes
- NONE. NIL. ZILCH. ZERO.
8) Tire Traction
In the desert (and you know what I want to say), at speed, the tire pressures went up 7 psi. Cold 41 psi, Driven 48 psi. I got a little concerned with it but they did fine, including traction in the downpours along the way.
9) Hill Descent Control and 4WD LOW
- I did not know how to activate HDC - I kept pressing it, then it occurred to me that I have to be stopped. Fully stopped. The Jeep crept down hill so I had to cancel it - the slope was not that steep and in 4WD - LOW there was enough engine braking. The car is noticeably louder in 4WD LOW, you can actually hear the gears.
10) Automatic Wipers
- I am ambivalent on it, they worked well, but you have to put it in 3rd position before their automatic motion provides meaningful initial wipe.
11) Adaptive Cruise Control vs. Radar Detector
. There have been reports that ACC triggers the Radar Detector. Maybe it depends on the detector but my 2013 spec STI MAGNUM did not
get triggered by ACC.
More to come. But for now I am taking another break.
I will later add the obligatory pictures of wild life: the bison, the moose, the bear.
I like'em dirty but I will now go wash the Jeep. Laterzzz.