4527 mile trip in 2012 Overland
My wife and I just returned from three weeks and just over 4500 miles from our home near Philadelphia to the flatland of the High Plains, to the scrub of south Texas, then on to Asheville NC and the nearby Appalachian mountains. Final overall EVIC mileage: 23.5 with the V6, cruise control and hundreds of pounds of gear.
However, beware the EVIC for long distance mileage readings. It swung back and forth between just over 18 to just under 24 mpg during fairly modest stretches even after thousands of miles had been racked up. This makes no sense unless it was periodically recomputing. And, no, I didn't accidentally reset the mileage, which is easy to do. So, real world, I have no credible idea of our final gas mileage and wish I had computed it the old-fashioned way.
I changed to Mobil1 EP shortly before leaving to minimize stops. After 5000 miles not one drop of oil was burned. This is encouraging, because the Audi Q5 we'd also considered reportedly goes through a quart every 800 miles or so -- Audi states this is "normal." Normal for a vintage clunker, perhaps, but in comparison the Jeep's V6 is tighter than Jesse Ventura's choke hold.
We had no real problems even though I ran over a workman's ladder at 70 mph. The MIL (engine warning) light came on after 1,400 miles. Beloit Auto & Truck Plaza, a Kansas Jeep dealer, immediately scanned, diagnosed and reset it even though they were backed up with service appointments for one week. Fortunately, nothing was wrong except possibly a tank of grungy gas. This was our only service stop and lasted maybe 15 minutes.
Indeed, one problem area at home failed to rear its head during our trip: RHR's losing satellite presets and other memory settings. But as soon as we returned the memory elfins resurfaced when we resumed changing between driver 1/2 settings.
I have a moderately heavy foot, so along a vacant prairie expanse I yielded to adrenaline. At 110 mph our red baby was as smooth as Bernie Madoff and as quiet as Death Valley. More significantly, it felt almost as "planted" on the road as our Mercedes sedan, which really comes to life above 90 mph.
However, Pentastar's steering with hydro-electric servo has quick lock-to-lock and is not the best for staying on center. So at high speed you need to really keep your eye on the road or you're likely to drift off the straight and narrow faster than Lindsay Lohan at midnight. It would be interesting to see how the all-hydro and heavier Hemi compares.
Power is more than adequate so long as you forget you could have had an SRT. Even on long, steep mountain slopes there was no strain or fuss. Shifts were predictable and smooth, never hunting -- almost ideal, although the 2013's 8-speed XF box will narrow the operating band. Still, except for WOT the tach rarely strayed outside the 2k range, with 3,600 RPM being tops.
Wind noise was audible only in vigorous prairie crosswinds, and even then only barely. No other noise except occasional tire buzzing on certain types of pavement and some engine roar at WOT. Nary a rattle or a squeak.
The cruise control with benefits option turned out to be the best feature of the Overland. Before long the pedal all but went into hibernation, while instead I poked at the distance and +/- keys to keep things in trim. Even at the closest (single bar) distance setting, it's not tight enough to keep some aggressive drivers from cutting in. However, the cruise setting remains active if you step on the gas, so you can close the gap briefly to keep Charlie Cutoff from butting in, then release the pedal to resume the preset speed.
The cruise control faltered once, for several seconds, in rain so intense we, and apparently the control's radar, could hardly see beyond the front bumper. Another time, when following behind a friend along a whiteout-dusty Kansas dirt road, the cruise control got choked up. (There's a reason this used to be called the Dust Bowl.) In both cases the vehicle simply began slowing down.
Too, we discovered that it's better to downshift than to rely on the cruise control to keep speed in check when descending long, steep mountain stretches. Using the cruise control, we smelled something like rubber, which presumably were brake pads protesting abuse. The Hemi's larger brakes might fare better.
Our Valentine radar detector worked just fine atop the dash. The cruise control's radar signature never once caused problems.
The side mirror warning lights and chime worked splendidly to help ensure safe lane changes. However, three times on the trip the EVIC flashed a yellow triangle (as I recall) and screeched loudly for about one second to warn that I urgently needed to brake. Curiously, in all instances we were on open highway with no cars, animals, debris or foliage anywhere in front. No big deal except now we ignore it, which negates its potential as a safety aid.
Our former Grand Cherokee had comfy optional seats worthy of La-Z Boy. The WK2 seats aren't in that league, but given how thin they are they performed well. Neither of us got a sore butt, coccyx, back or sensitive organ. However, as with nearly all cars in recent years the transmission bell housing has been pushed back into the cabin to shorten the hood. The result is that my right leg -- I'm a tall guy -- started aching after eight hours or less. Thanks to the cruise control I could twist my body around here and there during breaks in traffic to get relief, allowing for some 12-14 hour days with only minor stops. However, the console was not in the way and its armrest was used throughout to good effect.
With eight days of nothing but thee and me in a steel cabin, the media center assumed the role of electronic marriage enhancer. Sirius may be a dismally managed company, but its offerings were a godsend. We also had a bunch of stuff on hard disk and thumb drives, including Radio Reader (book) shows we enjoyed for hours on end. My wife's un-smart phone worked as usual through the RHR, although right after we got back it lost pairing and had to be reset. UConnect is a wallflower next to Siri, but like the WK2's audio quality it's adequate.
The automatic wipers, lights and dimmer worked flawlessly, even during a daylong torrential downpour in north Texas. You just have to remember to turn the wiper stalk switch off when going into a carwash. We had plenty of cold weather along the way, even deep in the heart of Texas, so enjoyed the heated seats. The heated steering wheel also was appreciated, but it needs a two-level setting, like the seats. The lone setting is perfect for making skinny waffles.
QL worked great. Like refugees fleeing Mongol hordes, we carried hundreds of pounds of life's essentials, including a 50-pound espresso machine, and QL kept the headlights perfectly aimed. Also, wife is short and always uses the Park level when getting in and out. So the QL gets a workout, yet hasn't acted up once.
The nav was greatly appreciated, but now and then its instructions were late or confusing. Hardly surprising, as in our area the database is a craps shoot, even sending folks the wrong way down a nearby one-way street. Give it a "B", but it's mighty handy to have the nav built in with a manly display.
The Sirius Traffic option was just as creative throughout our journey as it has been around here. It overlooked every blockage and insisted on problems where they didn't exist. We eventually put it down, like a blind mule.
Finally, when we pulled into the Biltmore Inn near Asheville, the vehicle unloading in front of us was a 2011 inferno red Overland (ours is a cherry red 2012). One of the most enjoyable sights on the trip.
Overall, we were hugely impressed with how well even the smallest details of the WK2 work out in real life. Aside from the RHR memory bug that Jeep seems determined not to remedy before the national debt is erased, our Overland has been as good as it gets in an SUV.
2012 Cherry Overland V6, ADG