By on January 23, 2015

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When the Jeep Renegade made its official debut at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show, I initially described it as “… a Panda 4×4 dressed up in Carhartt jeans and Red Wing boots.”

With a Fiat platform, powertrain and assembly plant, the Renegade isn’t the first CUV to come from the Fiat Chrysler braintrust – but represents the most ambitious attempt to create a global crossover suitable for all markets. And it’s also FCA’s best effort yet.

The Alfa Romeo – excuse, Compact U.S. Wide – platform underpinning the Jeep Cherokee ended up providing the mid-size Jeep with some sub-optimal packaging characteristics, namely inadequate rear seat space and a dearth of cargo room. While I happened to like the controversial styling, the Cherokee’s look polarized many observers. For the Renegade, Jeep has played it safe, with a slab-sided exterior that looks like a “super-deformed” version of a Wrangler Unlimited.

Although the Renegade’s footprint is about the same size as a Nissan Juke or Kia Soul (which FCA had on hand as competitive vehicles), the Renegade is far heavier. While the Juke weighs in on either side of 3,000 lbs depending on spec, the Renegade starts at 3,300 lbs, and can approach 3,500 lbs at its heftiest. And you feel every additional pound behind the wheel.

In a vacuum, it’s not such a bad thing. The extra el-bees lend a substantial feel to the car, which makes it feel like a more solid vehicle than a B-segment crossover that shares a common ancestor with the less-than-stellar Fiat 500L. Half of the drive route consisted of winding, Northern California backroads, which we tackled in a fairly simple 1.4T equipped Latitude FWD model. While the 6-speed Renegade is no speed demon, it felt as lively and responsive as a Nissan Juke – which is a pretty fun vehicle in its own right. The long, EPA-optimized gearing of the 6-speed box means constant shifting between second and third to keep the buzzy little 1.4 motor on the boil, but it only adds to the fun of whipping the boxy little Jeep through switchbacks. The clutch is easy enough to modulate and the shifter is decidedly mid-pack in the “transverse shift quality” sweepstakes.

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Driving the Renegade was such a hoot that I completely forgot to take pictures of the interior. The photo above, borrowed from Auto Express, shows what a well-equipped Renegade looks like on the inside. You will get a smaller version of UConnect, and Cherokee-like HVAC knobs and an electronic parking brake. Lower trim models get a more stripped down version of UConnect, with a less intricate display unit. Both of our demos had light fabric interiors which were quite handsome, especially when paired with the earth tone exterior colors. Avoid the black and heavier hues, lest you be mistaken for a Patriot owner.

The other half of the drive route was set up on an off-road course at California’s Hollister Hills State Vehicle Recreation Area. In addition to the 2.4L/9-speed Renegade, we also took out a Soul, a Juke, (both of which had been tested not long ago) and a Buick Encore. And holy hell does the Jeep feel like a porker. Despite handling the twisty roads with aplomb, the weight penalty over the competition (including the 3200 lb Encore) was immediately noticeable when getting out of the AWD 2.4L Renegade. Between the need for a diesel engine, a stout, Trail Rated 4×4 system, five-star crash test ratings on multiple continents and the appropriate “macho” looks, FCA engineers had to juggle numerous competing requirements that conceivably led to the Renegade weighing as much as 200 lbs more than a brand new Honda CR-V. Still it’s hard to wrap your head around such a porky figure for a B-segment CUV.

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While Jeep laid out two different off-road courses for us to test the Renegade Trailhawk on, it’s difficult to evaluate its prowess, namely because I’m a city kid who thinks that a gravel driveway calls for switching into 4WD. With a five-mode selector switch and a first-gear low range (ala the Cherokee Trailhawk), the automatic only Trailhawk version of the Renegade easily handled the rocks and whoops on the Jeep designed course. A more qualified off-road driver is a better source of impartial information. On road, the 9-speed seems to have become a smoother, more civilized gearbox than the frenetic iterations found in other FCA vehicles.

Starting at $17,995 for a bare bones Sport (and we’re talking A/C as an option), the Renegade slots in between the $16,995 Patriot and the $18,995 Compass, which are vastly outdated, less visually appealing both inside and out, and likely unable to match the Renegade’s off-road abilities. But they represent a greater hurdle for the Renegade, even more so than the Juke, the Soul or any of the upcoming compact CUVs from Honda, Mazda and Chevrolet. Just as the qualitatively inferior Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger torpedoed sales of the Dart, it’s easy to imagine a scenario where heavy incentives and a dealer body eager to move the older CUVs could push prospective buyers into a Patriot or Compass – especially if they want an automatic vehicle but don’t want to pony up for the 2.4/9-Speed versions. Assuming the two older vehicles are phased out (or replaced by a single model), volumes in the USA should rise from our initial estimates of between 60,000-70,000 units. FCA didn’t mention a number during their briefings, but that’s our best guess.

In any case, North America is hardly the most important market for the Renegade. China, India, Brazil, Russia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East…these are the locales where the Renegade must really make it happen for Jeep. The B-Segment CUV is the hottest segment in the world market, and the combination of Fiat diesel engines, Jeep styling and brand image and a global manufacturing base will help the Renegade achieve FCA’s long desired push to turn Jeep into a global SUV brand – and a premium one at that. Don’t bet against it.

 

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208 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2015 Jeep Renegade...”


  • avatar
    frozenman

    Those porker comments are gonna incur Vulpine’s wrath! Subaru’s Outback is 3600-3800lbs so it’s not really that bad :)

    • 0 avatar
      Tim_Turbo

      And the Outback is a much larger vehicle. Bigger than a CRV, even (roughly 10″ longer, 1″ wider, 1″ taller).

      The Crosstrek is probably just a little bigger than the Renegade, but much smaller than an Outback, or CRV for that matter, and it is 3440 for non-hybrid.

      So I’d say the Outback weighing in at just 3600-3800lbs is actually quite good for its class.

      Hope the :) meant you were kidding around!

      • 0 avatar
        caldwa

        The Hybrid Crosstrek is 3440, but the non-hybrid is around 3150-3200lbs – at least a 100lbs less than the Renegade.

        • 0 avatar
          OldandSlow

          When priced with AWD – the Renegade doesn’t hold much of advantage over a Subie XV other than gas mileage.

          The base Subie XV Crosstrek has a manual 5 speed transmission, plus a good bit of ground clearance, AWD is standard and it may even have a bit more room inside width wise.

          I’ll take the Subie with the 5 speed manual and call it good – even though the XV could use a sixth gear.

        • 0 avatar
          Tim_Turbo

          Yup-you are right, got it backwards. Geez, I am supposed to have all that stuff memorized haha.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Why would it incur my wrath, froz? I used to own a Saturn Vue 4-cyl that weighed about the same with a 5-speed and it was pretty lively for its weight. (And reliable with the Opel drivetrain vs the Honda V6.) The real test for me will be personally driving one. And I won’t doubt for one minute that I could exceed 30mpg with the Renegade. I’d actually like to see what I could push it to without hyper-miling. That old Vue could just reach 31 back in ’02. I’m betting on 36-38 with the Renegade–even the Trailhawk version.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        Yeah, 3300lbs is far from being a “Porker” 7200lbs is a porker. Canadians, jeez.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        Wait…I thought the 4 was the same ecotec 4 available in all manner of GM products which was reliable (since you have the 5 speed…the CVT was another matter). I had an 02 V6 which was the Opel 3.0 used prior to the Honda one (Think the Cadilac Catera used it too). The best thing I can say about it was it turned me on to Hyundai. The Vue had electrical issues, ECU issues, transmission issues, interior falling apart issues and a failure prone thermostat which required removal of the intake manifold to replace which cost me a full weekend under the hood or 750 bucks at my friendly Saturn dealer the 3 times it happened. It always seemed to get around 15mpg even when the check engine light was off (3MPG better than my damed Land Cruiser for crying out loud). I was a Saturn Apostle prior to the Vue putting over 300k on two separate S series cars. I have owned some terrible cars but in the realm of non clapped 500 dollar beaters (It had 14,000 miles when I got it), the Vue is near the top of the list behind only an 03 S10 that left a coolant puddle in my driveway on the drive home from the dealer brand new and went downhill. The only true lemon I’ve owned.

        • 0 avatar
          wstarvingteacher

          @ Mkirk:

          Mine was a 4 cyl like his and it was the typical GM engine afaik. It ran great when it ran but kept breaking. IIRC the vue was the first Saturn Opel. I absolutely loved it for the first 50k, then all h*ll broke loose.I got the mileage he claims and thought it was great handling. Then I think I replaced three computers, a clutch, and a transmission. Everything engineered to be hard to fix.

          I also drove two S series for a long time and data from Steve Lang suggests that the L series were equally robust. I kept hearing that the 05 MY had all the bugs worked out but didn’t care to find out. The only thing that keeps that from being a clear cut winner of worst car ever was the 77 Olds Starfire (think tarted up vega) back in 78 and the Olds Bravada that I bought about 18 months ago. Notice any common ground here. I used to think Ford and GM were equally good. I really don’t want either now and concur with your opinion on the Opel Saturn Vue. Pretty happy today with a Toyota and a Nissan. Think likely all Toytoa next time.

          • 0 avatar
            mkirk

            Tarted up Vega…sounds wretched. I have a Hyundai and Nissan now. The Hyundai has been great. The Nissan is a Frontier and I think it will run a long time But the interior will be utterly trashed. You look at it wrong and it scratches but it is just a truck so I’ll live with it.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Whuf! I feel sorry for you; I thought only the Honda drivetrain was so bad. That Ecotec 4 in mine was damned reliable and the rest of it held up pretty good. My Father in Law has it now and I’ll admit the headliner’s starting to sag, but all in all it’s still pretty solid and still gets around 30mpg with his more rural driving.

    • 0 avatar

      That was a very good read. This is why TTAC keep me reading. I especially impressed you recused yourself from a judgement on the off-road aspects. I’ve never seen a motoring writer admit to limitations before. As a European I was also interested in how Americans viewed this European scaled car which is a Fiat underneath. Good work!

  • avatar
    jdash1972

    I like the interior of the 500 and 500L, creative and fun and I finitely higher quality than the crappy Compass or Patriot, which are miserable vehicles to drive. A 3500 lb vehicle the same length as a Juke, heavier than a CRV and not nearly as good (perceived) is not going to fly.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    Nice write up Derek. “el-bees.” Lol. It’s nice to hear FCA has figured out how to program its 9-speed. Too bad about the weight issue; what’s the MPG again?

    Obviously FCA needs to drop a diesel into it as well add a brown color option. Ditto to a 2.4L/manual combo. However, lets be honest B&B, the take rate for manuals is like .0001%. Maybe its time to move on…or hold out the mid-cycle refresh!?!

    I think Jeeps biggest challenge will be the Patriot and Compass sitting right next to the Renegade on dealer lots. Those two CUVs moved more than 150K units last year. Sure, the Renegade will siphon off some of those sales, but with heavy incentives on the Patriot/Compass it could easily go the other way. Either way, I think Jeep has a hit on its hands and should hit its target of 60-70K units.

    If it were up to me, I would go all GM and make the Patriot/Compass fleet only a la Chevy Caprice. Protect the profit margins on the Renegade but still keep volume.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Based on the lowering of American living standards for 92% of the nation, if FCA offers a stripper version of this with just A/C for around 15k real world transaction price of 15k, they’ll sell a gazillion.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I agree, a stripper FWD only version would suffice.

    • 0 avatar
      carve

      What are you referring to, Deadweight? America is the only country where even the poor people are fat and drive cars…often something reasonably comfortable with AC.

      Ask someone from 1985 or even 2000 whether a person who has a car with AC, is fat, has a 40″+ HDTV and a video player, constant connectivity to a global computer network, a pocket camcorder and high-resolution camera, access to practically limitless cheap entertainment etc etc whether the standard of living is going up or down.

      Ask someone in 1975 what they’d say about a country where everyone had a digital watch- he’d say everyone is rich!

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        Probably referring to the middle class. If your poor and have kids you have it made in this world. Ditto if your rich. Even the president said the middle class isn’t faring well. And understatement if I ever heard one.

  • avatar
    seanx37

    They will fly out the door…in late summer when they are offering $159 a month lease deals.

  • avatar

    So, since this is a vehicle that apparently fits into my ‘I want a stick-shift that revs low on the highway, for once’ criteria…can you tell me what its like on the highway? Presumably some of the weight goes to sound deadening and a stable ride, yes/no?

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      A European review that I saw called it the most stable highway SUV they’ve ever driven. They thought it was better than most sedans.

      Mind you, this was a diesel, and suspension tuning may be different in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      YES i want this knowledge too!!

      This car is the cool version of the Buick Encore, and I need to know how it stacks up against the Encore on the highway. I drive 7 hours every few months, and my Honda Fit is awful (though it is perfect for 90% of my trips).

      I’ll be test driving one ASAP but a thorough and detailed highway review would be icing on the cake.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Thanks for the write-up.

    The weight will improve the ride quality (maybe), but I can’t see how they’ll get any fuel economy out of it.

    As Speed3 said, it’s nice to see the 9-speed automatic may finally be tuned properly.

    What about interior roominess, front and rear?

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    If Cadillac could learn how to do an interior like the one pictured in terms of fit/finish, GAUGES, logical layout & KNOBS, BUTTONS & switchgear, they’d really improve their chances of selling vehicles, by the way.

  • avatar
    kovakp

    So, pony-up for the Trailhawk or get the plastic cow-catcher? Sounds like the answer is Kia Soul.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Style-wise, this is Jeep Compass Part Duh.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Looks a whole lot more like the Patriot to me. Which is a good thing. We need more boxiness in the world.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      Nothing but a reborn Suzuki.
      …it is a modern version of the Suzuki Sidekick.
      How about the Suzuki Vitara?

      The thing is it will sell because you can tell by the colors chosen they are going for the cool, younger hip buyers. All pleasant earth tones and even a sort of salmonish/toned down pinkish.
      This is a girl directed marketing color scheme.

      Not sure about the rollover as it seems/looks very unbalanced.

  • avatar
    another_pleb

    Hopefully it won’t end up being known as the Jeep Renault-Grade!

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    These are Jeeps, not Camrys. Their owners march to a different drummer. Bring over the damned diesel.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    On the surface this is an appealing little car. Stick, 4×4, low price, good looks etc.

    I’ve never driven the 1.4T. But if I can listen to others here, sounds like they might have goofed this up. Mediocre 9 speed auto with the much better engine and the stick gets the scraps. Too bad.

    Unfortunately I think this car is also going to get relegated to the “cheap jeep” pile, but which is similar to the new CLA or the front drive BMW 3 cylinder van…. A bad car that costs too much but will probably sell in droves due to the badge on the hood. The most blah model at the lowest price to get into the brand but really isn’t worthy of the badge.

    So yeah, I say huge sales success based on looks and badge but otherwise will probably be a junky little car, which is par for the course for Fiat.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Thanks for the review, Derek. I kind of wish you weren’t such a “city kid”, because it would have been nice to hear more about the Renegade’s off-road capabilities with the different driving modes etc. Sounds like you only got about 15 minutes with the car so I guess more detailed info will come in time.

    So it’s a bit hefty? Since the Wrangler STARTS at close to 4000lbs this doesn’t sound like much of an issue. Overall it seems like FCA may have found the “B” segment sweet spot with the Renegade

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I agree, Derek claiming ‘city kid’ status is a bit of a copout for neglecting to mention any details whatsoever for the offroad drive. What’s the articulation/wheel travel like? Any issues with approach angle or low hanging front valance? Doesn’t take an offroad expert to assess that. Did the other CUVs go on the offroad portion as well? How did they do?

      Also no mention of interior space or packaging. How does interior/cargo room compare to a Soul?

      • 0 avatar

        The problem is that Jeep could make the off road course suit the Renegade and mask any flaws. I’ve seen it done with road courses for sports cars. A chicane here, a slightly different configuration there and voila, the car seems amazing on track…until you drive it on a track on your own and find out that the brakes don’t last more than a few laps.

        I’d rather not offer up an opinion than offer up a misleading or ignorant one.

        • 0 avatar

          It does allright in videos. One thing that jumps out is that the articulation is very poor. The result is lifting the rear wheel and very sharp jolts side to side over any asymmetric obstacles. I hasten to note that RAV4 did exactly the same thing, but it didn’t have any crawling ability, and this thing does. I’m sure Renegade drivers will quickly learn to zig-zag a lot and align against any ledges, while maneuvering around stones, as possible.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Go visit toasterjeep.com and join up. They just posted a bunch of photos of the off-road tests which show it performing fairly well. Admittedly, if you’re a photog you can see that several of the shots were ‘posed’.

        • 0 avatar
          caltemus

          I tried out toasterjeep. You have to register to see attached pictures, so I registered. Still cant see any pictures

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Try this link: http://toasterjeep.com/index.php?threads/jeep-renegade-photos-from-california.266/

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Hmm, a bunch of press photos of it sitting in the dirt?

            I watched TFL’s run through the course Derek must be referring to, as expected they have some offset whoops that purposely leave two wheels hanging. The traction control kicks in and allows the Renegade to come through somewhat easily. But what really sticks out is, as expected, the amount of suspension travel is laughably small.

            Again I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, no these thing aren’t actually made for serious offroad, it just grinds my gears that they try to market it as such.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      I drive a Jeep Wrangler, Just Kidding

  • avatar
    JD321

    The perfect global Prole mobile…Infantile and Runty.

  • avatar
    Timtoolman

    When I first saw this, I was disappointed with the design. I suppose it’s grown on me a bit, and everything I’ve read lauds its capabilities, BUT…

    It’s hardly a Renegade. Growing up with Golden Eagles, Renegades, and Laredos, I would have preferred a reprise of the old CJ, but using the Renegade name. Too late to change it now.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    I envision a great many of these being driven around by college girls.

    • 0 avatar
      jdash1972

      I think college girls are the target demographic whether they know it or not. 90% of these things will be FWD automatics purchased by people who buy it for looks (college girls, by the daddy’s) or older people who need easy access and appreciate the upright driving position and what is likely to be good visibility. 0.1% with have a stick. 0.001% will be taken off-road when someone follows their GPS to oblivion.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        Disagree. Waaaaay to dorky for college girls. These will be bought by old people and cranky cheapskates. College girls will drive Cherokees and Grand Cherokees.

        Source: my wife was a Cherokee and Grand Cherokee driving sorority girl and HATES this thing.

        • 0 avatar
          crtfour

          Ok then maybe high school girls. The bottome line is I don’t see many males driving this vehicle.

          • 0 avatar

            That’s what they said about RAV4, too. Result: all the practical males bought it, and all the women bought giant CUVs like Lexus RX.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I see the potential for more guys driving this than gals–supposedly the Cherokee is the girly version. BTW, the wife loves the look of the Renegade as much as I do, but she likes the 500x even more (go figure).

            All that considered, there are many reasons to want the Renegade, not least of which is its size alone. Having a 5-star safety rating doesn’t hurt either. Adding the 4×4 system that really stops parasitic drag from shafts and axles when not engaged will definitely help improve its economy on the road, too. Yes, I do have questions about it, but from everything I’ve seen, it’s nowhere near as bad as some would make it out.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            CRT, insecure males will keep buying F150s, that’s a given, so what’s your point? Are you saying it won’t sell to people who wouldn’t buy it? FCA has plenty to offer those people -in the very same showroom- so it’s not even lost sales.

            The small CUV segment is growing fast. There’s no lack of potential buyers for the Renegade.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Isn’t it getting a little old that “real men” only drive full size pick-ups and muscle cars north of 600hp? I don’t want to drive either of those.

            Starting today new rule, “real men” can drive whatever suits their needs/wants/likes, “real insecure men” can drive what other people think they should drive

          • 0 avatar
            wstarvingteacher

            Great being old. Drive what I want and couldn’t care less who likes it.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Hey Lies! I agree with you for once. Real men drive what they want, no matter what. They don’t need a truck to define them.

          • 0 avatar
            nickoo

            Lie2me, it doesn’t have anything to do with masculinity, however, I am also a believer this will be bought by or for young women in a much higher proportion than is typical of the cross over market. This is the Geo tracker part deaux, which was overwhelmingly bought by young women.

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            Good rule…. Wow I can get my “man card ” reinstated now! Of course, I’d be the guy that dumped his 425 HP, 6 speed, fire breathing Camaro, in favour of an anemic 6 cyl auto, Mustang.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Nickoo, I have a feeling you simply haven’t driven a ‘new’ Fiat. Have you even driven the current Cherokee? Have you driven a 500 or Abarth? Sure, it’s going to be smaller than maybe you like, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a dog like the 40-year-past models were.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            nickoo,

            Judging by rush hour traffic, the crossover market is already 2/3rds female.

            Women like the practicality. Plus they aren’t constantly keeping track of the location of their “man card.”

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Mikey, I had a 6-cyl automatic Camaro back in ’96 and people thought it had a V8 under the hood from the way I drove it. You’ve really got to clear your mind of old stereotypes and discover the vehicular world around you. You’re missing out on a lot of fun.

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            color schemes scream young girls!
            Um…but I like the colors as well…but then again, the Miata was supposedly a girl car and I like that car as well.

        • 0 avatar
          forzablu

          Seconded; doubt any high school or college girls will be driving this thing unless they’re forced into it. Almost every girl I dated or knew in college drove either a Grand Cherokee, X5, or RRS/RR.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      When I saw the picture I immediate thought “this is cute, chicks are going to love it”. The interior looks great but those seats are a little too light colored and thus going to get dirty.

  • avatar

    The strange part is, my current-generation Wrangler is 3800 lbs. It’s within striking distance of the Derek’s figures, with all the BOF, v6, and solid axles.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    “While Jeep laid out two different off-road courses for us to test the Renegade Trailhawk on, it’s difficult to evaluate its prowess, namely because I’m a city kid who thinks that a gravel driveway calls for switching into 4WD.”

    — Maybe they should have flown me out there for the test, since I drive both a Jeep Wrangler and a Fiat 500 (and they know it). I would have been able to analyze the off-road chops (and probably wanted to challenge it a bit) while giving a legitimate comparo to the Juke/Soul/Encore (I turned down all three to get the 500. Yes, I did consider them). This doesn’t mean I’m a Fiat fan in that I belong to fan clubs or anything like that, but the 500 was just more fun to drive and truly qualifies as a “Hot Hatch”.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    Comes with a 6MT? Joy! Though I’m not much of a fan of the 1.4L. Sorry, FCA.

    I can only imagine just how low that first gear really is. Once you hit 5mph, is that the ideal time to do the 1-2 shuffle?

    Personally I hate hunkering down into 1st. Three cheers for rolling stops thus keepin’ it in 2nd.

    Great price on these little guys. And of course, I echo the pleas from a few others from the B&B: bring forth the diesel. Pretty please.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    This is a handsome little car. The one thing I am not to fond of is the large looking front lip. That’s going to get scuffed off road if you are doing it right. I Guess the tough black plastic will do OK though and be inexpensive to replace.
    I expect the extra weight is there for a) safety and b) to help the cars off road ability, i.e. smaller chance of wheels snapping off and undercarriage damage.
    That will separate this vehicle from Juke’s and Soul’s and make comparisons very hard.
    If I was in the market for such a vehicle, the 4X4 manual would be the model I would go for. As always, it’s a shame the manual is not there for the top of the range but then, I normally aim for mid spec so what ever…
    Also +1 to lets get a diesel!

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      You’d be surprised how easy it is to drive the automatic in ‘manual’ mode. Essentially the 9-speed is the same as Fiat’s existing 6-speed with an easily selectable ‘manual’ mode letting you shift up and down on the fly just like a Formula car.

      • 0 avatar
        Beerboy12

        I have driven those manual mode autos before and I just hate it… I have no need to pretend to be an F1 driver. While my left leg still works I’ll shift it meself ;-)

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        No the 9 speed is not the same as the 6 speed. It’s a completely new transmission…..I’ve driven the 9 speed in the 200 and Cherokee and they are just a lazy shifting as every other slush box. “Manual” mode is just a suggestion.

  • avatar
    jimbo1126

    This thing does look like a Jeep product… from the AMC years.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    I’m guessing DK walked up to this thing expecting the feel of a 1st gen Sportage, Tracker, perhaps even Samurai. That’s how wistful I get looking at it. Too bad about the heavy feels, but most people don’t care, and some might even think of it as a plus subconsciously in this segment.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I have a feeling in 10-15 years this will be the vehicle we talk about as being “underrated” and “fun little off-roader” and “I wish I still had mine”

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I really doubt that. The no-travel sedan-based FWD/unibody roots doom it. Just like there have been very few people that have messed with old CRVs and Rav4s, you reach the limits very quickly. Now something like an old Tracker has some very legit offroad chops, even stock. Let alone one of the old Samurais. Even the first gen Sportages can make neat little wheelers with a lift and some tires. Again, they are based on a separate ladder frame with a solid rear axle on coil springs and an independent front suspension. The weight is a separate issue altogether. For something so small to weigh so much is absurd, especially in regards to offroad capability. One of the Samurai’s biggest advantages is diminutive size and a tiny curb weight. Heck one of these Trailhawk Renegades is within 250lb of my (relatively speaking) huge 4Runner!

        I’d like to see a Freedom Drive II Patriot go head to head with one of these new Renegades, I almost suspect that the Patriot might come out on top.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          We’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we? I can guarantee people will be testing the limits of this thing really soon.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          gtemnykh, I think you are talking about a different type of “offroading.” That kind of offroading is better suited to a Wrangler. Nobody will buy a Renegade to do rock crawling.

          The Renegade will appeal to those who go off road on the way to another destination (cottage, camping, kayaking, hunting, fishing, etc). It looks to be better suited off-road than a CR-V, and it won’t beat you up as much as a Wrangler does on-road.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            You’re right, I was merely responding to the supposition that the Renegade will one day become one of the go to platforms for offroad fun on the cheap.

            If I was looking at a Renegade, I’d probably end up with a Forester. More room, equally capable, and (probably) MUCH better resale.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            What makes you think the Forester is equally capable? I can’t find any match up testing done on the two and I’d really like to, because the Forester and Renegade are on my short list for next vehicle

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Subaru’s AWD has always been one of the best systems on the market, in the stick shift variants the torque split is 50/50 by default rather than the ‘on demand’ of most crossovers. Secondly the ground clearance on Subarus is typically right around 8-8.5 inches, again top of the CUV class and equal to this Renegade. Lastly, Subarus have fantastic long travel suspension, a legacy (no pun intended) from their rally cars perhaps? In any case Subarus are almost unmatched at blasting across unimproved roads and maintaining composure, as well as going well beyond the limits of most other “AWD” competitors in slick conditions.

            Now, I’m not a fan of their headgasket munching flat-four engines, prematurely failing wheel bearings, or prematurely tearing CV boots, but they are the sweet spot of utility, capability, and efficiency in my book.

            The new CVT equipped cars seem to be a bit dodgier offroad, seems that they can only transmit so much torque from a standstill before the electronics kick in to prevent damage to the transmission. Maybe they’ve improved this, but for a while there was a lot of talk on forums about how an Outback can’t back up over a 4 inch curb in reverse due to the CVT’s gearing and self-limiting feature.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “Subaru’s AWD has always been one of the best systems on the market”

            Jeep’s and Rover’s 4×4/AWD systems ARE the best on the market

            So, 3rd place? Oops, Toyota’s pretty good, so 4th?

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “Subaru’s AWD has always been one of the best systems on the market”

            Jeep’s and Rover’s 4×4/AWD systems ARE the best on the market

            So, 3rd place? Oops, Toyota’s pretty good, so 4th?

            We’re comparing the Forester to the Renegade, not the Grand Cherokee with Quadradrive. Within their (limited) envelope, the Forester and Renegade are equals in capability. The Forester walks away with superior utility in terms of passenger/cargo space, as well as long term value and yes probably reliability, despite the trademark issues I’ve described above.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            A friend bough a cheap SX4, and he claims that it has the best AWD system, short of a real Torsen center diff. There’s never any wait for grip, and it doesn’t shimmy around like my old Impreza did in the snow. The Renegade is a distant cousin (the 500x is the replacement for the Fiat Sedici which was the SX4’s Italian twin), so maybe this AWD will be just as good.

            I don’t think any of these part-time AWD systems would be any good for rock crawling. I know the Impreza raised a stink (literally) when I got plowed into snow banks. There’s only so much slip it can take without overheating.

          • 0 avatar
            mkirk

            Can you get a low range in a Forrester? The Jeep has this (albeit not a traditional transfer case it is still has a low range capability).

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            The Forester does not have a low range and lockers like the Renegade

            gtemnykh has not done his research

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Pray tell me under what realistic circumstances where that crawler gear on the Renegade will get you that the torque multiplication of a traditional torque convertor would not? The point of my argument is that neither car has the clearance or the hardware to really get into anything nasty (like a boulder field or climbing some crazy embankment). So having that insane crawl ratio is basically irrelevant.

            Now, in the conditions that these cars will see use (rough gravel roads to get to a trail head, snowy trail to a cabin) both are on the same level, and I will actually preemptively give the nod to the Subie going off their reputation for well tuned long travel suspensions.

            The Renegade done NOT have a rear locker like the Cherokee TrailHawk does. Lie2me has not done his research.

            Consider more important factors for the outdoorsy set, like cargo capacity. The renegade has a measly 18.5 cu ft behind the rear seats, or 50.8 with seats folded. Subaru: 34.4/74.7. That’s huge.

          • 0 avatar

            I’m going to take gtemnyikh’s query at face value this one time and explain that TQ does not replace the low gear, and not even close. Of course I had to learn it first hand, because I was an ignorant Russian emigrant one time, and there weren’t any automatic gearboxes in Russia (except the LiAZ 677 bus).

            The fact is, although TQ converts the said torque, it only does it in very small amounts. There isn’t much of that torque left when the exit rpms are low or at standstill. The result is, a car with no low gets stuck at any noticeable incline if there’s a resistance. There’s a certain balance: there more resistance there is, the less incline you can take.

            Note that this is noticeable if you stop. If you roll at high enough speed, TQ delivers more torque and may let you surmount more incline.

            Here are California examples. In a certain model of car with conventional TQ you may be able to stop and proceed at Stop sign at Divisadero near Russian consulate at Green. The incline there is ferrocious 30 degrees. However, if you visit Panoche rec. area, the limit is 20 degrees, because you are at a dirt road. Dirt has enough resistance _to make a 20 degree incline impassable_. Finally, if you go down to Oceano Dunes, then your limit is only 11 degrees. You may only go up some dunes from a run. If you stop, it’s over. You must back down to the foot of the dune.

            If you continue pressing on the gas in this situation, the TQ “stalls”: there’s a shudder and surging sounds, but the wheels do not turn. If you continue this, the transmission will overheat, but you will not advance even one centimeter.

            A sturdier TQ can take you quite a bit, mind (e.g. beyond the 11 degree in sand that a basic CUV can do). However, it will inevitably fail you. I once saw a guy who tried to cross Ophir pass west to east in a truck without a low gear. He managed to get almost to the last stretch before overheating. The reason being, since the torque output is so small, all of the engine power goes into heat right inside the transmission. If you let the TQ to do its job for too long, it’s going to happen even if you do not let it stall by maintaining a higher speed.

            The low gear fixes all these issues easily.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            4X4 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk

            “Active Drive Low includes all of the features of Active Drive I but denotes a greater possible crawl ratio. When in “4-Low” mode the >front and rear axles are *locked* together and power is sent to all four-wheels through the power transfer unit although no low range gear reduction occurs. Active Drive low relies on shorter axle gear ratios while holding first gear in the ZF9HP transmission to achieve a crawl ratio of 20:1″-FCA

          • 0 avatar
            mkirk

            So it has the equivalent of a locking center differential but the axles don’t themselves lock. This is incidentally the set up my FJ80 had albeit with a real transfer case.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            4X4 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk

            “Active Drive Low includes all of the features of Active Drive I but denotes a greater possible crawl ratio. When in “4-Low” mode the >front and rear axles are *locked* together and power is sent to all four-wheels through the power transfer unit although no low range gear reduction occurs. Active Drive low relies on shorter axle gear ratios while holding first gear in the ZF9HP transmission to achieve a crawl ratio of 20:1″-FCA

            Front and rear axles are locked together means that the torque is being split front to rear 50/50, as in any part time 4wd transfer case. It is NOT a locked rear differential where power sent to the rear axle is split between the two rear wheels in a locked 50/50 fashion like in the Cherokee Trailhawk.

            Did you order one of these things or something? Because you sure are cheerleading pretty hard for them.

            Pete I appreciate the breakdown, but my point was in their softroader operating environment, a crawler gear will never be relevant, nothing an automatic with a torque converter couldn’t accommodate.

          • 0 avatar
            nickoo

            That’s not true, the forester does have a low range, and even offers a diesel, just not in the USA. Look up Subaru Australia. Not only that it was voted best 4×4 by two Australian magazines in the last couple of years.

            “The Forester 2.5i-L has recently rated first in two major comparison tests, one published in 4×4 Australia magazine and the other in Wheels magazine. Read more about the Forester 2.5i-L.”

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            gtemnykh,
            FYI, the Renegade’s automatic has a torque converter, plus the extra-short first ratio in the Trailhawk package. It’s not like you have to choose one or the other, you can get both.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Heavy handle,

            Yes of course the renegade has a TC in the transmission. What I was saying is that any automatic with a decently set up torque converter (stall speed) will be adequate for the sort of terrain these sort of sedan-based utility vehicles will realistically come across. The extra low ratio of the Renegade is a neat extra, but given the other limiting factors (clearance, wheel articulation) for such vehicles, it is almost superfluous.

            The scenario you described is something that both the Subaru and Renegade would excel at, infact a Rav4 would probably do a passable job of it as well with some decent tires on it. The most extreme offroading I’ve done ironically enough was in a rwd Lada 2107, driving across the steppes of Altai in Siberia(near Mongolia). River crossings, boulder strewn paths, steep climbs, you name it. With some smart line selection and a DGAF attitude towards underbody damage we made it through.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      1st gen Sportages, Trackers, and Samurais were unsafe tin cans. FCA knows better than to replicate those products. If they did, they’d be purchased by 12 guys on the internet.

      Today, we demand 6-10 airbags, sound deadening, killer audio, and comfortable seats, which all come with a weight penalty.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    You want off-road prowess, you get weight, especially if you want a low price. The unibody can be two of three: stiff, cheap, light. And the locking differential, heavier driveline components, and big tires all add weight too.

    That said, it seems like FCA is not doing a good job of keeping weight down on many of its on-road products. What competitive issues the Dart, 200, Charger/300, and Challenger have all stem from excess poundage.

  • avatar
    jimble

    It’s interesting to compare this thing to the XJ Cherokee. A lot of the dimensions, inside and out, are very close, but the XJ weighed considerably less, it had way more torque and cargo space, and it was genuinely capable off-road. Of course the XJ also got terrible gas mileage and had pretty crude ride and handling characteristics (I say this as someone who owned and loved a ’97), so I guess the Renegade does represent some sort of progress.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I’ll agree that the old XJ was lighter, but then, almost all cars were lighter than their modern counterparts; that’s what comes of all the safety regulations demanding these things be practically armored. Can you imagine dropping a new, lighter, more powerful engine into that old body?

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      I drive a ’96 XJ and can get up to 20 mpg in the summer and 16-17 mpg in the winter commuting about 50 miles a day on mostly 2-lane highway. I paid $3k for it, which means I can buy a lot of gas for this compared to what’s available on the used market with better fuel efficiency.

      The XJ also has awesome visibility and a high seat height. My guess is that even in the Renegade, you will certainly sit closer to the ground and the visibility will be worse. The first comment most people make when they get in the XJ is, “Wow! You can really see out of this thing!”

      Given that most vehicles will never be involved in an accident and that those that are will probably be travelling slowly and decelerating prior to an accident and that regardless of personal vehicle crash standards, our roads are still shared with tractor trailers, large busses, and service vehicles that will obliterate a passenger vehicle given the chance, it is wasteful stupidity to make new vehicles heavy in the name of safety.

      You want safety? Spend the money on driver education, training, and make it more difficult to obtain a license. But that’s not an inclusive, or profitable solution. Making vehicles heavier in the name of safety also allows them to be less efficient which is good for oil and steel. Business wins again.

      I wish someone made something like the XJ Cherokee today. Mine isn’t much longer for this world. I’m going to go yell at some kids about my lawn now.

      Initially, I was going to just say that although my XJ rides like a truck, it corners exceptionally flat and fast. It’s actually a pretty entertaining drive.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “I drive a ’96 XJ and can get up to 20 mpg in the summer and 16-17 mpg in the winter…”
        — I do as well with an ’08 Wrangler. True, I didn’t pay $3K for it, but I’m not complaining, either.

        “The XJ also has awesome visibility and a high seat height. My guess is that even in the Renegade, you will certainly sit closer to the ground and the visibility will be worse.”
        — Visibility out of most of the older models was a lot better. The high beltlines on today’s cars are mostly due to safety regulations–trying to keep the metal from a colliding car from coming into the cabin of the car being hit. That said, a video review posted earlier today had the reviewer especially commenting on how good the visibility was out of the Renegade as compared to most crossovers. The glass doesn’t squeeze down the way most others do today. I suggest sitting in one and trying it out for yourself before you make any judgements.

        “… it is wasteful stupidity to make new vehicles heavy in the name of safety.”
        — That goes counter to established fact that modern safety technologies are saving lives. One of the safest cars in the world by MVC (motor vehicle collision) analysis is the Fiat 500 and many other ultra-small cars while the most deadly is the full-sized pickup. Not all that long ago a potential 5 people were killed in a single-vehicle (unless you count a riding lawnmower in somebody’s yard) collision. The reason I say ‘potential’ is that three of the four passengers of the truck died on site or within hours while the guy on the mower was killed instantly. I had to leave the area before I could learn the fate of the truck’s right-seat passenger, wearing her seat belt. Oh, the truck’s driver was wearing his seat belt too and he still was one of those killed in the collision.

        “You want safety? Spend the money on driver education, training, and make it more difficult to obtain a license.”
        — A very good idea, but it seems most drivers ignore everything they learn in such classes as soon as they walk out the door.
        “But that’s not an inclusive, or profitable solution.”
        — Inclusive? Maybe not. Profitable? Definitely–for the schools.
        “Making vehicles heavier in the name of safety also allows them to be less efficient which is good for oil and steel.”
        — True. but it DOES make them safer and good design has made them significantly more economical.

        • 0 avatar
          319583076

          Heavier does not equal safer, but we’re all free to choose what we believe, right?

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “Heavier does not equal safer,”
            — I’ll accept that statement as it stands. However, what makes it heavier can make a significant difference. Just because you added some lead bricks under the floorboards won’t make it safer, but if you make it stronger, then it will naturally get heavier.

            On the other hand, I’m not a fan of all these air bags. Stuffing more airbags in a car add unnecessary weight when other technologies could do a better job. Problem is, people aren’t using the technologies that are already available, forcing the inclusion of the air bags.

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            I hate to put it this way, but it’s the most concise way I *can* put it: I’m a licensed structural engineer and while I don’t design cars, I design mobile machinery, buildings, bridges, and all sorts of miscellaneous structures.

            I work in strength (rather than stress) design which is based on a probabilistic framework and I’ve pushed some things beyond codified strength design and done my own probabilistic analysis of strength, loads, and risk.

            Again, I’ve never designed a car, but I understand steel as an engineering material as well as the mechanics of rigid and elastic bodies as well as static and dynamic loads as well as the probabilistic nature of our perceived reality.

            There are some very fundamental reasons why “modern” “safety” features in cars aren’t. There are also some very subtle reasons. There are points and arguments to be made supporting the modern approach to passenger vehicle design.

            When push comes to shove – the majority are accepting or demanding heavier cars and calling them safer.

            I drive an old, lightweight Jeep and a new, lightweight Mazda. They haven’t taken away all of my choices, but almost…

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            No, no, I must not be reading you right. As a structural engineer you’re not suggesting that modern cars are some how inferior to older cars, more specifically these particular Jeeps? No, you wouldn’t do that, right?

            “There are some very fundamental reasons why “modern” “safety” features in cars aren’t”

            Oh, I guess you did, but like you said you know some specifics, but nothing as how they work together as a whole.

            Whew, that was close, almost thought you knew something that all the auto engineers didn’t

          • 0 avatar
            superchan7

            No, all those advanced CAD designs and simulations can’t possibly be making cars safer. We should all go back to buying 1990s cars.

            Optimised structural reinforcement aided by CAD has made cars vastly sturdier than 20-30 years ago. Take a 1992 car with no airbags. A head-on collision at 30 mph could be fatal, with the steering column through your chest (primitive crush zone engineering) or a steering wheel implanted halfway through your head (no airbag).

            Today’s cars can let drivers walk away from those kinds of accidents. Weight is up, but the “mass” is brought about by engineering for strength PLUS active safety features.

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            You’re making some big assumptions about engineering control in the design and manufacturing process.

            Imagine the kind of performance we could enjoy if compact vehicles didn’t weigh 3500 lbs in the name of safety? Most cars will *never* be involved in any sort of accident. This is sub-optimal resource allocation.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “You’re making some big assumptions about engineering control in the design and manufacturing process. ”

            I thought you were by taking your knowledge of the bits and applying them to the total unit, not a sound practice when you have no knowledge on how that’s done

            “I drive an old, lightweight Jeep”

            No, you don’t. You drive a 3500lb Jeep the SAME weight as the safer, newer better built Renegade

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            We can choose what we believe. You and I have obviously chosen differently. C’est la vie!

      • 0 avatar
        superchan7

        “Imagine the kind of performance we could enjoy if compact vehicles didn’t weigh 3500 lbs in the name of safety? Most cars will *never* be involved in any sort of accident. This is sub-optimal resource allocation.”

        Human lives are not a “resource” to be “allocated” in cost optimisation. Why don’t you take one for the team and drive a Caterham to work every day? Your odds of not being in an accident are, uh, “pretty good.”

        • 0 avatar
          319583076

          Oddly enough, I’m considering buying a 7. I fail to see how that’s taking one for the team, but I’m happy to do so.

          As for whether or not human lives are resources, one of us is wrong.

          • 0 avatar
            superchan7

            If you’re a military strategist, you are allowed to allocate “human lives” when planning an invasion.

            If you’re a parent, would you volunteer your child to be “resource optimised”? Have him walk to pre-school alone; I heard the vast majority of kids don’t get kidnapped.

            Car safety engineers are tasked with saving every additional life they can.

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            If you’re the CEO of GM, you have a legal obligation to shareholders to maximize profit. Lives are resources whether you want to believe this or not. Maximizing profit and safety often have conflicting agendas, how do you suppose those conflicts get resolved?

            Who do those “safety engineers” work for? How do you suppose they evaluate competing safety technologies? Is GM in business to save lives, or to sell cars?

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “Who do those “safety engineers” work for? ”

            GM

            Who does GM answer to?

            EVERYBODY!

            Do you not think they’ll do whatever it takes not to face the liability issues they’ve faced in the past?

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          I don’t want compact vehicles to weigh 3500 pounds in the name of safety either. That’s why I’m a major proponent of new safety technologies and mainstream use of lighter materials (including composite materials) being a part of auto manufacture.

        • 0 avatar
          bikegoesbaa

          “Human lives are not a “resource” to be “allocated” in cost optimisation.”

          “Car safety engineers are tasked with saving every additional life they can.”

          Know how I know you’ve never worked in safety-critical product design?

          Yes, absolutely, lives/safety are weighted against other tradeoffs including but not limited to cost; in every vehicle design by anybody ever.

          Engineering is an exercise in making intelligent compromises. At some point diminishing returns sets in, and the compromises required to obtain additional safety are not worthwhile.

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      Depends on your needs, as to if this is progress, if you need a capable offroader the Cherokee was it. Now there’s only the wrangler and wrangler unlimited. This is a nice ute, but isn’t meant for serious enthusiasts.

  • avatar
    Kato

    If they get around to offering the Trailhawk with the 2.4 and a 6MT I’ll take it for a test drive, otherwise meh. Saying “the 9AT has a really great manual mode” is not selling me. It’s still a slush-box, and the 1.4 belongs in a Vespa.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I’ll agree that the old XJ was lighter, but then, almost all cars were lighter than their modern counterparts; that’s what comes of all the safety regulations demanding these things be practically armored. Can you imagine dropping a new, lighter, more powerful engine into that old body?

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I understand you don’t like automatics, but have you actually TRIED one of these Dry Clutch automatics? You might just be surprised. I was.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        This isnt a dual clutch auto, its the zf 9 speed with the dog clutches.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          I don’t see that it is significantly different. You simply won’t see any slip when they lock in. Better economy and likely better performance. Not like the old “slush boxes” where the torque converter ‘might’ lock at a certain speed.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            A Grand Cherokee does not use the same transmission/AWD technology the Cherokee or the Renegade use. I recommended giving the newer technology a try before blowing it off. I understand you don’t like automatics but I also point out that I normally don’t either; at their best they seem mis-programmed for best efficiency by trying to stay at the highest gear possible for the demand. With the manual option in Fiat’s automatic in a base 500, I achieved nearly 10% improvement in economy by unloading the engine by one gear and shifting before the engine could load up on grades.
            In other words, I’m using it like a manual without bringing the left foot into play.

            Another thing to note is that there’s a reason Formula 1 racers and others have gone to this new technology; they simply shift more quickly than any clutch-lever-declutch motion can achieve, even with short-throw sticks. There’s almost no chance of ever missing a shift, too; you flick the stick and you’ve changed gears. I might note that you’ll never grind gears again either (I’ve had synchro issues in my Daimler transmission since I bought my Jeep, but fortunately they only crop up on the road where it doesn’t matter so much.)

      • 0 avatar
        Kato

        My understanding is that this thing has a torque converter. I test drove a Grand Cherokee with the Pentastar and the 8AT recently, in such a big vehicle the AT makes sense, and combined with the Pentastar it’s a pretty decent drivetrain. At least I can downshift when I want to with the paddles. The GC is a bigger vehicle than I want however. In a trucklet the size of the Renegade I want three things:

        1) Enough power
        2) Some offroad capability (low-range, clearance, skid-plates)
        3) A manual transmission

        So far they are only offering two out of three.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          I still think you should give the “paddle shifter” a try before you decide, Kato. If you still don’t like it after that, well, fine. Just don’t make a blanket decision just because of old prejudices.

          • 0 avatar
            frozenman

            Vulpine, some of us want the manual and will not compromise, you of all people should understand that. Not having a stick in the top trim, in the way that this vehicle is being marketed is unforgivable.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Hey froze… At least I TRIED a full-sized truck. Had one for three years. Only put 4000 miles on it in three years. I’ve driven full size before and I can appreciate their advantages; it’s just that those advantages don’t work for me. I don’t need them and the disadvantages grossly outweigh the advantages.

            And in case you’re interested, I prefer a stick too–my JKU Wrangler is stick. But I have to admit that the Formula-style shifting in the Fiat 500 is close enough as far as I’m concerned and a darn sight faster than three-pedaling it in the process.

          • 0 avatar
            Kato

            It’s not an old prejudice Vulpine, it’s a present preference. I just finished telling you I test-drove the GC with the 8AT. It’s probably the best AT I’ve sampled so far, but I still prefer a manual. Manuals are more involving, visceral, and fun. I want to have a conversation with the machine I’m piloting.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          Kato,

          Maybe you should test drive the manual before writing it off. The 1.4T has more torque than the 2.4 that’s offered with the automatic. It will be really interesting to see how Jeep has tuned the turbo. I’ve tried it in the Abarth where it pops like a firecracker at 3500 rpm, but I would expect Jeep to favor the low end more in this car. Unfortunately the review doesn’t tell us much about this.

          • 0 avatar
            Kato

            Heavy, I want the extra off-road capabilities of the Trailhawk as well. It’s only offered with the auto.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            In my case, I would still prefer the stick in much the same way as Kato (despite my arguments to him) but to make it simple, my wife can’t and won’t drive stick, so whatever I replace the Wrangler with will have to be an automatic. In buying her the 500, I’ve discovered that I can get the best of both worlds without having to sacrifice anything but the clutch.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        I think I’d like it, but then again I liked the Ford Powershift.

    • 0 avatar
      frozenman

      ^THIS^ If I want a manual I will have to restore an old Grand-Vitara or Cherokee and call it a day, this will not cut it.

      • 0 avatar
        Wheeljack

        Even manual transmission Cherokees are comparatively rare – especially towards the end of the model run. The majority of them had the AW4 automatic, which was and still is an excellent transmission. Only the Wrangler had a decent take-rate on the manual transmission.

  • avatar
    oldowl

    Today, TFLCar with Nathan driving has posted a video of the TrailHawk version negotiating some rough terrain: steep grades, water trough, logs, rocks, etc. It can do more than jump curbs at the mall.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Jeep styling and brand image and a global manufacturing base will help the Renegade achieve FCA’s long desired push to turn Jeep into a global SUV brand – and a premium one at that. Don’t bet against it”

    This will work until the Fiat roots and/or traditional Chrysler hit or miss “kwality” start showing. We’re still in the first wave of Fiat platforms since all of the sales success prior to mid 2013 were the Daimler sourced models with the exception of the Mitsu shared Compass/Patriot. They might be winning the battle but I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest they will win the war.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Fiat has grown away from those 40-year-old “roots”; they have quite a reputation for reliability now in Europe and other regions. In fact, Fiats are extremely popular in South America because they’re so reliable. And Chrysler has suffered more from perceptual issues than real ones. While you don’t want my opinion, I believe Daimler did more harm than good with their “merger of equals” that drove Chrysler towards bankruptcy. Fiat is going out of their way to correct Daimler’s sabotage.

      • 0 avatar
        sirwired

        VW has a reputation for reliability in Europe. Unless they purposefully sabotage the factories that send cars to North America, I’m guessing that the lack of a decent amount of marketshare by Asian makes in Europe simply makes the standard of comparison easier.

        • 0 avatar
          superchan7

          The only reliable VW is a base model diesel Golf. VW’s petrol engines are a reliability disaster (except the 2.5L 5-cylinder), and their feature-laden North American models are seemingly held together with plastic clips.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            For some oddball reason, that’s only true in the US. In Canada, VW has a pretty good reliability rep, as evidenced by their much greater market share (compared to the US). The Canadian and American lineups are essentially identical.

            I greatly suspect that VW of America is to blame. They seem to make small, manageable, reliability issues into customer nightmares.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Chrysler suffered serious issues with many of the products in the 90s and through the mid 2000s, and still does today as evidenced by Thomas K’s transaxle issues on his MY10 or 12 van (I can’t remember which). I don’t disagree the Daimler merger caused great harm to both companies, but the reality is the Daimler sourced (JGC) or Daimler influenced products (LX cars) have nearly all been successful from a sales standpoint. Chrysler/Mitusbishi GS platform vehicles has largely been duds with the exception of Jeep Patriot/Compass, Fiat 500 and the Dodge Dart have largely been underwhelming since its launch. The only successful Fiat derived product thus far has been the Jeep Cherokee, and it only remains to be seen how well it will fair as it ages, which is kind of my point. Chrysler’s incredible rebound was largely the result of successful Fiat and Auburn Hills cooperation while selling non Fiat product. This is now changing and it is not guaranteed to be a long term success.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          “Fiat 500 and the Dodge Dart have largely been underwhelming since its launch.”
          — A good part of this issue is a combination of a 40-year-old reputation impinging on newer, better products and from what I understand, a requirement from the Federal Government that they produce a 40mpg car within a year of the takeover. Having one year to completely design and produce a car really doesn’t give you much leeway towards producing the best car they can in the segment. As I’ve read it, the newer model is much better and still gets decent fuel mileage.

          “The only successful Fiat derived product thus far has been the Jeep Cherokee,” True, because the people buying them aren’t thinking Fiat when they test drive them. (By the way, ‘fare’, not ‘fair’.)

          Honestly, I was somewhat concerned about the Fiat brand myself. But my wife wanted a small automatic and she specifically wanted the Fiat 500. I test drove it with her along and I have to admit I was surprised at how peppy and solid it felt for its size; far, FAR different from the old models.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m too young to remember the older models outside of dated jokes so what happened to Fiat in 1980, in this case, would not be applicable to me. I’d be more concerned about resale and the fact the 500 seems to do little well: too small, too feminine, poor mileage for mass. Why does a “city” car only get 31 city (manual) and 27 city (auto) when Honda’s more spacious Civic gets 28 city (manual) and 30 city (cvt)?

            1.4L, 4 cylinder Manual 5-speed 31 city, 40 highway+ 31 city, 40 highway+ 31 city, 40 highway+ –
            1.4L, 4 cylinder Automatic
            6-speed 27 city, 34 highway+ 27 city, 34 highway+ 27 city, 34 highway+ –

            http://www.fiatusa.com/en/performance/2014/

            Regarding the Dart, I’m not sure what happened but it seems like a half decent product which simply dropped the ball somewhere along the line.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            28,

            Are you talking MPG or reliability?

            So far the reliability of the 500 has been near-perfect. A friend who is a senior Jeep/Ram/Fiat tech tells me that it is mechanically overbuilt, and they’ve never had an engine or transmission apart (despite being the biggest Fiat dealer in town).

            As for MPG, you can get slightly better numbers elsewhere. So what? You also get more food at the buffet than you do at a fine restaurant, and some people still choose to eat at the later. The Fiat is decent. A Civic wouldn’t save you enough in a week to get a cup of coffee. You wouldn’t enjoy the coffee, because you’d be staring out at the parking lot where you boring Civic is parked!

      • 0 avatar
        Crabspirits

        “Chrysler has suffered more from perceptual issues than real ones.”

        Mmmmnyes, like the perception that the transmission in Thomas Kruetzer’s van might ‘splode, and that resale values of non-Wrangler Jeeps/Most MOPARS are measured in pubes.

        • 0 avatar
          mkirk

          “Chrysler has suffered more from perceptual issues than real ones.”

          I had the perception that I watched an awful lot of Judge Judy sitting in the waiting room of the Jeep dealer the last time I owned a Chrysler product and that it was cold when my rental 200 left me stranded on I81 in upstate NY…the only rental to ever strand me.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    What’s the fender badge on the orange one? I like fender and C-pillar badging. Notcied it on an Enclave yesterday, with the Buick shield pressed into the C-pillar plastic. So tasteful.

    Also, Jeep PR people, don’t put the old gauze colored one up in the front. It’s the ugliest.

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      That’s the “Trail Rated” badge, which goes on Jeep models that are Rubicon Trail certified. Not all get this badge, they have to be equipped in a specific manner in order to be capable for said.

  • avatar
    bill h.

    My son (a young FCA engineer) will be getting a Latitude model with the 6MT quite soon as part of the employees’ early feedback program (looking for bugs and problems). Looking forward to trying it out myself.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    Needs a baby Hellcat model. Supercharge that 2.4L.

  • avatar
    kovakp

    I sure hope some of you guys are right about this being a woman’s ride because each one of these will need an overprotective mom to fend off any ass-hat who might actually try to take it out and break its bones on a rock trail. It’s just a puppy, for crissakes.

    Not its fault it’s ugly. Mom will still love it.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    Is it bad that I actually like the Patriot better?

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Count me in this camp as well. More clean, purposeful styling IMO. A restyled “Latitude” on 5 spoke alloys and the factory 1 inch lift is a genuinely sharp looking little trucklet.

      Plus there’s this:

      linkhttp://www.expeditionswest.com/equipment/reviews/patriot/

    • 0 avatar
      frozenman

      No, no it is not bad to feel this way, you are not alone.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    What kind of review offers no pics or specs?
    How in hell can we compare it to the Forester of any other if we have nothing more than this?

    No clue as to cargo capacities or rear seat room…all of which make me think the Forester is a way better option.

    • 0 avatar
      frozenman

      Yes the Forester makes much more sense, but making sense is not what this vehicle is about, welcome to FCA marketing “bunkum”.

    • 0 avatar

      I kinda liked Forester from afar too, but when I started looking closer, a few things popped
      – no low range
      – enormous nose (masterfuly hidden by the design, but you cannot trick a ditch)
      – the car is getting quite big by dow, pushing way past RAV4/CR-V size
      – way overpriced (although apparently they make some strippers that come under 30k)

      If you want Forester’s carrying capacity, you might want to look at Explorer.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        Explorer??? Please…the Escape fits in better than the explorer.
        and come to think…the escape is a far better buy than this new jeep,
        if off road is what makes this special, very few of the buyers will ever take off road. instead we are gonna get the cool wannabees…younger boys and hot high school and college girls choosing the cool colors. but never going of road to more than a picnic.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Ponder this a bit: it has a Jeep designed drive train. As one in you can SHIFT/turn a knob to go into AWD/4WD. No “electronic sensors sensors detecting wheel slippage”, no oil-filled transfer case turning oil into a semi-solid to go in to AWD/4WD. AWD/4WD that you control your very ownself. Not many other cute utes have this feature. However, in the end an Xterra and a Trailhawk will probably cost about the same. Good times in the shire.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, there most definitely are these ‘electronic sensors’ and the rear end IS connected via a viscous wet clutch with variable torque distribution. However you are correct in that Shifting into the low range does lock the front and rear driveshafts in a rigid 50/50 split. No word on whether this a ‘hard’ mechanical lock or simply locking that aforementioned wet clutch, as is the case with the relatively pedestrian RAV-4.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        What you call ‘electronic sensors’ are the only way most CUVs go into AWD. Being able to turn a knob and go into 4WD high on all models and 4wd low on some models is a feature that sets the Renegade apart from other CUVs. For some this will be a wanted feature; others know their engine has an oil filter somewhere.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Reading through the allpar site, sounds like their Selec-Terrain system allows the driver to pick a ‘setting’ in which certain power split biases are ‘preferred.’ Only the Trailhawk has an option to actually lock in that 50-50 split.

          In other words, it is the very thing you’re railing against, electronically controlled center differentials deciding for you, various frippery using the ABS wheel speed sensors to simulate differential locks. You want hardcore 4wd hardware buy a wrangler with an honest to god lever for 4wd. 4Runner Trails have them too. It’s very reassuring to put the truck in neutral, then physically shift gears around via a lever into 4Hi or 4Lo. No worries about overheated viscous couplings or electronics deciding torque distributions for you. But I’m not arguing the electronic offroad traction aids are bad, Toyota’s A-TRAC is all most people will ever need off road. Very few will use the system to such a capacity that they’ll overheat brakes, that’s where true mechanical locking axle differentials come in.

  • avatar

    I’m privately wondering 20:1 is going to be enough.

    Here are ratios of some older SUVs with which I have some experience, however slight:

    2010 Ridgeline ….. 12.217
    2006 RAV 4 4sp ….. 12.129
    2006 RAV 4 5sp ….. 13.043
    2010 Suzuki GV ….. 12.612 high, 24.845 low
    2010 Wrangler Rb … 11.64 high, 46.56 low

    I’d say ratio of 30 would be desirable, 25 about passable. The 20 may be sufficient, may be not, depending on road conditions.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Comparing this thing to a Rav4, CRV, Juke, or Kia Soul is kinda weak, especially the Soul. It should go up against the Xterra or the Forester/XV crosstrek. I’m pretty confident it couldn’t hang with the Xterra, one of the last “real” SUVs.

  • avatar
    wmba

    I predict that these will sell well to the old and wizened demographic who don an Arctic-rated parka and fleece-lined snow boots to travel half a mile to the community mail box in 2 inches of snow, while exhibiting zippy style.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    The Forester comparisons are… interesting, but invalid. The Forester is 2x’s the size. Ground clearance might be similar but break over angle will be poorer in the forester due to it’s longer wheelbase.
    I would say there is nothing on the market that can be equated to the Renegade.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Forester has a 3 inch longer wheelbase, nothing crazy. Overall length is a different story, the Renegade (in $27k Trailhawk trim) has better approach and departure angles.

      But more relevantly, I think they target a similar audience and are in the same price bracket for the more common trims.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Did you order a Forester? Why don’t we give the Renegade a chance to prove itself before deciding it’s “not as good as” something else. I welcome new competition to this segment because it gives me more and better choices

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Most definitely not, in fact I’m one of this site’s most strident Subaru critics for their uncomfortable seats and repeated failures to address known engineering flaws.

          The Renegade to me is everything wrong with cars today wrapped in a single unit: Maximum style over substance. Incredibly high weight in a small car with poor interior packaging. A fundamentally inefficient design (high weight and poor aerodynamics) which they’ve thrown every new technology at order to save some semblance of fuel economy (9spd automatic transmission and tiny turbo motor). Finally the queasy marketing with highly doctored shots of it rolling over some rocks to play off the Jeep name as a capable 4×4 when it simply cannot be owing to its platform.

          I like honest, simple, thorough engineering and smart packaging. The Renegade lacks all of these things.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Personally, I think you’re dismissing this vehicle without even giving it a chance to prove itself. I’ve looked at the Subaru Forester and it has too many things wrong with it for my taste–and price is one of them. The top-end Trailhawk Renegade comes in close to the base-model Forester where I live, which means it’s really difficult to see them competing unless you just want to believe the Subie is better.

            However, I am also willing to wait and see how the Renegade does in the real world. I follow a number of Jeep sites (owning a Jeep myself, of course) and I’m aware of several current Wrangler owners looking to add a Renegade to their stables–mostly for that exact purpose. I will be waiting and watching as these guys put the Renegade through its paces.

          • 0 avatar
            frozenman

            +1 gtemnykh very well said.

    • 0 avatar

      Renegade, in Trailhawk trim. beats Forester for off-road use. But the key observation is, non-Trailhawk Renegade is nothing special. It’s only a CUV like RAV4 or Forester (granted, Forester was getting very bloated recently, everything grows). The situation is somewhat reminiscent of Lancer and Evo.

  • avatar
    CaliCarGuy

    18k is alot for what im sure is a bare bones stripper model. Good luck finding them for that though.

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    I really like this thing, at least from the specs and what I read.

    It looks like they got a lot right:

    Available manual transmission, even on higher level trims

    4wd/awd

    Removable roofs – very cool

    Fold flat passenger seat for cargo carrying – or if you’re like me and sometimes like to camp in your vehicle, extra legroom

    A really nice color palette, not just grey, gray, silver, black, white, and a form of red

    And it looks good

    If it’s as good in person, and drives as well, I’ll buy one. I can’t wait to check it out.


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