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Old 07-23-2015, 03:54 PM
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Thumbs up Yellowstone area test drive

I decided to buy a WK2 (and started hanging around here) over a year ago. I've since talked myself out of a diesel in favor of the 3.6L, and now I'm just waiting for the 2016 order banks to open before I put my name on a loaded Max Steel 3.6L 4x4 Limited. (Why not an Overland? Because I hate the part-wood steering wheel and the stitching on the dash, and I like the black carpet on the Limited's frost interior. Different strokes.) In the meantime I found myself vacationing for two weeks in the Yellowstone area and thought hmmm, maybe I should drive one for a while and make sure. So I rented a 2015 3.6L 4x4 Limited (not loaded) from Avis in Bozeman.

After the first week, the good news is I like it even more than I thought I would. The bad news ... well, there really isn't any. Yes I hate the shifter, but my 2016 will have a different one. The sound system is just OK, not sure whether it's the Alpine or not, but I can live with it.

Now, my recent vehicles are a 2004 Yukon XL that's pushing 200k, my wife's 2013 Altima, the aged Mercedes wagon that preceded it and a 1987 911, so some of my glee is probably due to nothing more than a Rip van Winkle technology dislocation - but, on the other hand, my buddy here has a late model Acura MDX that I drive a fair amount, so I have something that's at least in the same universe for comparison.

The upshot - overall the Jeep is simply wonderful, both on and off road.

The main thing I want to tell you is that I find the much-maligned 8-speed transmission to be a delight, whether I have it in D (Econ? I don't know, how do you tell?), Sport or Manual modes. Smooth but reasonably crisp, and it pretty much seems to know which gear I want it to be in at any given moment. After dropping off one of my sons (who said, "nice Audi you rented") at the Bozeman Airport, coming back south through Gallatin Canyon I had nobody in front of me all the way (how often does that happen?), and I gave the paddle shifters a good workout. Good fun. I wished for just a little less body lean, but in general it was fine and I really enjoyed it (probably more than I should have).

The motor is lovely too. Hardly neck-snapping (I'm way over 30 and don't need that anymore) but plenty energetic coming out of the turns, and it sounds really nice. Decent, i.e., adequate, passing power, to the extent that if you can't safely pass with this setup, then you're probably not in a safe passing situation anyway. It hit 90 passing a big rig readily enough, and I don't need any more than that.

I'm not a big off-roader (see current vehicles above), but I've taken it on a couple of "Jeep roads" that my buddy who lives out here declines to take his MDX on, and it handled them with aplomb, even keeping the complaints from the back seat to a minimum.

All this - some highway miles, a little canyon carving, puttering among the bison in the park, and a wee bit of "off-roading" - and it's giving me an indicated 27+ mpg on regular gas.

Bottom line - I like it (even if some hacker will probably remotely seize control of it and run me into a ditch). I will update after the second week if there's anything more to report.

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  #2  
Old 07-23-2015, 03:57 PM
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Re: Yellowstone area test drive

Do you really think you can wait that many months for a JGC of your own??

Seriously, 'glad you had a great "test drive" and you certainly picked a nice place to do it, too.
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Old 07-28-2015, 12:25 AM
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Re: Yellowstone area test drive

I'm driving a 3.6L Limited with ORA-II and Luxury and I believe its the best vehicle I have ever owned. It does everything I have asked with no complaints or problems. Pulled my 4500lb trailer through the Big Horn basin, took me off roading in the Badlands that required hill descent and 4Low to get back to the highway, again no problems. Takes me to work 11 times without a fill (80km round trip). I think its perfect and I get a big giggle every time my co-worker fills his Hemi Escalade at the toon of $100+ dollars.

Enjoy the JGC
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Old 07-28-2015, 12:58 AM
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Re: Yellowstone area test drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by cherokee-gym View Post
I think its perfect and I get a big giggle every time my co-worker fills his Hemi Escalade at the toon of $100+ dollars.
Curious, typo? The escalade should have a vortec engine.


Back to the OP though, after 950 miles I am fine with the shifter, I am not sure why there are so many that dont like it. Oh well, is it the best shifter designed I have seen, no not really but I dont find it that bad now that I am used to it.

My only question with the 2016 v6 model will they introduce the engine start-stop feature. I couldnt wait for 2016 models so I went ahead anyways. The only reason I would have held out for 2016 would be the chance of a special 75th anniversary edition model. But it sounds like that possibility will be pretty much reserved for the Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited models.

And I understand the desire for a limited, I didnt want ventilated seats for kids to spill on and really didnt want QuadraLift at all.
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Old 07-29-2015, 04:18 PM
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Re: Yellowstone area test drive

Update: With some regret, I gave it back to Avis this morning. Two weeks and 1,001 miles, all in and around Yellowstone.

And the update is - well, not much. I still like it just as much as I did a week and 500 miles ago. My friends with the MDX were equally impressed with it (but aware of the recalls/reliability reputation, and highly risk-adverse in that regard - they'll be buying yet another MDX).

No bad news other than yeah, black really shows dirt, inside and out.

Additional good news:
  • By the time I dropped it off I was kinda sorta getting used to the shifter, but the fact remains it's simply clunky and unintuitive, and I'm glad they're changing it for 2016.
  • At the end of the trip it was indicating 28.8 mpg. Yeah, I know that's just the last 300 miles, but still ... pretty nice even if it's a couple of mpg off.
  • A few days ago we were pulling a boat out of a beautiful secluded lake and I waded out about thigh deep to wrestle it onto the trailer (not towed by the Jeep). Later that night I realized both the Jeep key and my cellphone were in a lower pocket that was completely submerged for at least several minutes. Both key and phone are still working fine. (The phone is an original 2013 Moto X which also suffered the indignities of being run over at a cattle gate and dropped on a rock on a trail along the Madison River. Still ticking, screen not even scratched.)
Can't wait for my 2016 - but I guess I'll have to.
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Old 07-30-2015, 10:32 AM
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Re: Yellowstone area test drive

I went from 14 Limited to 15 Overland. If you load up a Limited, Overland becomes a bargain.


I'm on the fence about the wood steering wheel. Sometimes I like it, sometimes I prefer all leather in the limited. But you will get used to it.


I don't care for the stitching on the dash either, nor the leather. It will look like hell many years down the road. I also see it reflect off windshield. I think I read on 2016 the stitching will be darker.


Keep in mind 2015 (and up probably) limited removed the dual exhaust. I love the dual exhaust. That is partly why I went with Overland.


I agree with the bulk of your comments.


Get the Technology Group package if it's in your budget.


Hopefully the Radio you had was the base version. I think the 9 Speaker radio is pretty darn good. If you had Nav then you had the 9 Speaker version.
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Old 07-30-2015, 12:58 PM
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Re: Yellowstone area test drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by mswlogo View Post
I went from 14 Limited to 15 Overland. If you load up a Limited, Overland becomes a bargain.
Are you sure about that? The couple of times I've plugged it in, I end up with pretty much everything the Overland has except for the puddle lamps and maybe one other thing that I can't remember, and the Limited is still cheaper. I'll be getting it with pretty much everything except the CD or DVD player – AT, LUX-II, ORA-II, 8.4AN, etc.

The stitching and wood wheel are strictly a matter of taste (well, except for the windshield reflection), and they're just not to my taste. ("Too many notes," as the Emperor said to Mozart.)

Quote:
Keep in mind 2015 (and up probably) limited removed the dual exhaust. I love the dual exhaust. That is partly why I went with Overland.
Yeah, everything else equal I do prefer the look of the dual exhaust, but it doesn't appear that there's any performance downside to the single, and I won't be looking at it much anyway because I'll be inside.

Quote:
Hopefully the Radio you had was the base version. I think the 9 Speaker radio is pretty darn good. If you had Nav then you had the 9 Speaker version.
It was pretty darn basic, definitely no Nav. it had the 5-inch screen, not the 8.4. Does the Alpine come with the 8.4?
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Old 07-30-2015, 04:03 PM
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Re: Yellowstone area test drive

p.s. I just priced it out again. The 3.6L 4x4 Limited with AT, ORAII, LUXII and 8.4AN comes out to MSRP $48,800. Similar Overland with AT and ORAII lists out at $49,980. So that's an additional 1200 bucks for stuff I don't want anyway (the stitching, steering wheel, light colored floor carpet, body colored panels) and all I lose is the puddle lamps, power folding mirrors and dual exhaust. Oh, I also lose the opportunity to cough up yet another $795 for the HK sound system, a temptation I am glad to avoid.
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