Took it offroad today, dirt roads and some rougher roads and washed out spots up near Prairie Idaho. We're both REALLY impressed with how well it rides on dirt roads, gravel, loose stuff on hills and washboard. Also, the little 1.3 has zero problems climbing, and just isn't a busy motor at all going up hills. It just doesn't feel like it's working very hard at all, and is hard to hear running. Did try manual mode and low gears on some of the 8%+ grades and found out something that I didn't read about in the owners manual. With no cruise control on, rolling down a hill in 2nd gear around 30-35MPH using the engine to hold the car, between 3500-4000 RPM it feels like it engages the brake on it's own around 4K RPM and starts to pull the speed down to hold the car back. It will slow down to 30 or so on a steep grade and hold itself there with no throttle or brake input. Wasn't expecting that. Nothing to indicate any kind of activation is going on, it just stops the car from accelerating down hill. I don't think there's anything in the engine controls that will do that, and it feels like a small bit of brake activation going on by itself. Did have 4WD lock on since we were on dirt with loose gravel on it and it feels more confident with the 4WD engaged (still AUTO mode on the selector). Did play with rock mode and low gear over some washed out areas with big lips and exposed larger rocks. No issues whatsoever.
For our offroad excurion, it still averaged about 26MPG the whole time including up and down hills. Was back up to 28 by the time we got back to town. We seem to be getting close to 30MPG on the highway at 65 MPH, but it's down to 26.5 average commuting with a mix of 75MPH freeway and city driving. If it will continue to get 25-26MPG offroad, we'll be happy as heck.