One of the best tests of a car’s off-road prowess is the Cliffhanger, a section of the Switzerland Trail in Colorado that combines a steep incline with deep ruts and tree roots. Only the best off-road vehicles can make it up the hill.
TFLcar has taken a variety of vehicles up to the Cliffhanger, with mixed results. The Ford Raptor made it up with no problems, as did the 1995 Jeep Wrangler and the 1968 Ford Bronco. However, the CVT-equipped 2015 Subaru Outback couldn’t hack it, foiled by a tree root and its on-road tires.
TFLcar fan Joel Ewan and his wife sent in a video of their attempt in a first generation Jeep Patriot that, by the concerned comments during the video, was the wife’s car. The “trail rated” Patriots are equipped with a CVT that uses ultra-low gearing to emulate a low-range four-wheel-drive system. The system was good enough to pass Jeep’s criteria and earn the Trail Rated badge, but how does it do against the dreaded Cliffhanger?
For the full account of Joel’s attempt – or attempts – to conquer the Cliffhanger in a Jeep Patriot, watch the video below, which also gives a retrospective of some of the other vehicles that attempted to conquer the Cliffhanger over the years.