We bought a 2007 Caliber for the wife, a few years back. I wasn't too keen on the CVT trans at first, it drives weird, and I prefer to shift gears myself. After I got used to it I thought it was ok, and found it to be a reasonable way to go in a small engined car if you wanted an auto.
Then we took a road trip from our home in Minnesota to Colorado, and my opinion changed completely. The CVT could quite possibly be the best thing to happen to small cars since turbos. In the mountains it was ALWAYS in the right "gear" to move along and keep up with the majority of traffic. Only once did I notice a lack of power from the 2.0L 4cylinder, going up Mt Evans, from about 13,500 to the top was decidely sluggish. But then so was I. Going down was a real treat too! Put the trans in low and hit the brakes to the speed you want to go. The CVT kept the engine at the right RPM to hold that speed. Averaged about 30 mpg in Colorado, and about 25 mpg coming across Nebraska at 80+
I was also surprised at the ground clearance that car had. I would consider another or one of the Jeep variants. The wife has a Commander now though.
98 Amigo, dented, rusty, musty daily driver - camping rig/retired trail truck
2012 Nissan Versa daily driver fuel sipper for going, seeing and doing
We just got back from our first genuine road trip in the new Patriot. We drove from Prescott, AZ to Fort Collins, CO and then on to Linclon, Nebraska and back the same route. We did roughly 2600 miles in total.
Because this is the Trail Rated Patriot with lower gearing, we expected lower MPG between 20-23 MPG, as the sticker suggested. I used the Gas Cubby app on my iPhone to confirm the readings the car's computer was giving us. We averaged 22.1 MPG for the duration of the trip. I think that's amazing considering we had a cargo box and bike on the roof and drove over the Rockies twice. We also cruised across the windy plains of Nebraska at 75mph on I-80. So, our gas mileage objectives have been met. The only bummer, the gas tank is pitifully small. Woefully small at only 13 gallons. Twice I found myself wishing I had stopped at the previous exit to top off. A full tank and light foot at 60mph will only get you a 240ish mile range before you're on fumes.
Every other aspect of the ride was perfect. Comfy, quiet and easy to drive. In my opinion, this little rig totally aced the tarmac test. As a simple road tripper, it's awesome. Plug the iPod into the Sat/Nat radio and away you go. We left Fort Collins today at four AM and 14 hours later rolled into Prescott happy as could be. It was a very comfortable ride.
Hard to believe, but this was just a quick snap with my iPhone. Great little camera.
Last edited by Flounder; 12-27-2011 at 04:01 AM.
We took the little Patriot out today on some local backroads. My first impressions are - wow. This little car is limited only by clearance. It simply crawled over everything we put in front of it. Pretty amazing.
The last tank of gas scored 24.8 mpg with a bit of city driving thrown in.
I'm pretty stoked with this highly under appreciated car.
What a fantastic little rig. We just returned from five days in Southern Colorado. On board we had a 47qt ARB fridge, full camping kit including table, chairs, and all the comforts we've come to love. And, lumbering around the back was our 90 pound black lab.
Average miles per gallon: 24.4 That includes all offroad mileage. That's start to finish from Prescott to all points Southern Colorado and back.
Toughest romp: Ophir Pass. Might have been nice to have 1" more clearance but all in all, pretty awesome.
Highest romp: Rd 845 outside Ouray at 12,347 feet.
We also did Yanky Boy Basin and other pretty mild roads like Cinnamon Pass. All bone stock. Yea. To make things more enjoyable, we averaged about 75mph all the way there and back in leather seats, listening to sweet jams, blasting the AC as needed. Pretty comfy.
I'm not saying there's no place for a proper fully lifted offroader like a Jeep Rubicon or D90, but these smaller crossovers are pretty damn fun for some applications. We just tipped 8,400 miles on our Patriot. To date, the one repair (under warranty) was a clock spring connector in the steering wheel that shut off our stereo controls. Everything else? Perfect.
Last edited by Flounder; 08-29-2012 at 04:17 AM.
Nice update, how is the road noise?
'06 Toyota 4runner Sport v6
Icon Coilovers & Total Chaos UCAs, Icon Piggybacks, 265/70/17 BFG ATs, Shrockworks sliders, Garmin NUVI
My only nit-pick remains, the lack of power. It really is a gutless wonder. Passing on two lane roads is high adventure, although my Rover wasn't much better. In its stock configuration it is too low. Not that I worry about approach or departure angles, but the break over is pretty lame.
On the plus side, because it's so small and maneuverable, many of the more challenging obstacles we encountered we could simply slip around. It's crazy how easy it is to just wiggle between those things other vehicles have to confront head on. I also can't believe how proficient the traction control is. Even with pretty uninspired tires, you have to make an honest effort to get a wheel to slip, and even then the TC is working quickly to mitigate that slippage. Far better than my Discovery's woeful "traction" control. The Freedomdrive II system is pretty awesome.
If I could enter one more minor nitpick that would be with the descent control feature. It's way too reserved. It produces a walking speed descent which limits it's usefulness in my mind.
All in all, a great little car.
12,000 miles in!
Highway MPG continues to clock in at an average of 24.2 mpg. In town, usually around 18-19 mpg. We have a Rocky Road Outfitters lift kit ready to be installed as well as some other mild improvements.
Loved the Patriot we test drove last year. Ended up with a Suzuki Grand Vitara (0% financing), but I did get my in-laws into a new Patriot FD-I and they are loving it so far this winter!
Flounder, what roof box do you have? I should probably get one for the skis and I've been looking at the smaller silver Thules. Any words of wisdom?