By on September 10, 2015

2015 Jeep Renedate Trailhawk (15 of 20)

2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4×4

2.4-liter Tigershark SOHC I-4, MultiAir 2 variable valve and lift timing (180 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm; 175 lbs-ft of torque @ 3,900 rpm)

Nine-speed ZF 948TE automatic transmission w/ Jeep Active Drive Low 4×4

21 city/29 highway/24 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

20.5 mpg on the 50/50 city/hwy, 100-percent frustrated driver cycle (Observed, MPG)

Tested Options: Trailer Tow Group, Premium Leather Group, Premium Navigation Group, Safety and Security Group, My Sky Open Air Roof System – Power/Removable Panels, Keyless Enter ‘n Go w/ Push Button Start, Black Hood Decal, 9 Amplified Speakers w/ Subwoofer, ParkView Rear Back-up Camera, Remote Start System.

Base Price (Trailhawk):
$26,990* (U.S.)/$32,795* (Canada)
As Tested Price:
$33,255* (U.S.)/$39,525* (Canada)

* All prices include $995 destination fee (U.S.) or $1,795 destination fee and A/C tax (Canada).

There’s a reason why legions of buyers deplete their expendable income to welcome thousands upon thousands of Wranglers to their paved driveways in planned subdivisions every single year. Even if you never use all the capability offered by Jeep’s mainstay, you have the appearance of being able to tackle anything that comes your way, whether it be a blizzard in Southern Texas or spontaneous volcanic eruption in Manhattan. It also helps that you can take the top off, adopt the persona of one of those lightly bearded, unachievably cool college dropouts in the Jeep commercials, and see yourself living the perfect life that’s somewhere between Bear Grylls and Socality Barbie. (Though, pee-drinking endorser Grylls also endorses Land Rover over the much-romanticized Wrangler.)

So, what if you could have all that freedom in a more economical, slightly less brutish, equally colourful package? And what if it was “crafted” in Italy just like that Dolce and Gabbana bag that totally isn’t a Chinese knockoff?

Enter the Renegade. What used to be a special edition version of CJs and Wranglers is now a redressed Italian with more lifestyle gimmicks and kitch than one can fit in an artisanal Instagram feed.

2015 Jeep Renedate Trailhawk (16 of 20)

Exterior
Easter eggs are fun. I like fun. You like fun. We all like fun.

What I don’t like are easter eggs that show how much more fun I could be having in a real Jeep.

For starters, there are about eighty zillion seven-slot Jeep grilles on the Renegade. They’re in the headlamps, taillamps, rearview mirror, speaker grille frames (grilles on grilles!), center console and the interior plastic panel of the rear hatch. There’s also a virtual army of Willys MAs standing sentry on the rooflatches, floormats and windshield. There’s the map of Moab — where less than one percent of Renegade owners will actually go, so why do we need a permanent map of the place? — and World War II gas can X stamp upon World War II gas can X stamp.

2015 Jeep Renedate Trailhawk (13 of 20)

But, the thing that bugs me the most about the Renegade is the color. Not this particular shade of Sierra Blue, but its pairing with the burn-your-retinas red that adorns the inside trim pieces, exterior badges and front tow hooks.

Jeep: just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

2015 Jeep Renedate Trailhawk (19 of 20)

Our tester was fitted with the powered version of the Renegade’s “My Sky” open-air roof system, giving you the option of opening the front panel like a sunroof that you can’t see through when closed, or removing both front and rear panels and storing them in the trunk. Those panels require a special tool to remove them that’s so small that you’ll likely lose it. Also, the ease of removal isn’t a walk in the park. I’ve seen a 5-foot-nothing, 22-year-old female exert less effort taking the roof off a Del Sol than it took me to remove the roof panels from the Renegade. It’s not that the panels are heavy; they’re just awkward. Thankfully, the panels aren’t so clunky that they take up a huge amount of cargo space.

2015 Jeep Renedate Trailhawk (20 of 20)

As for the Renegade being a “small SUV,” well, see for yourself. The stretched version of the iconic Jeep Wrangler is nearly 15-feet-4-inches long. The Renegade? Nearly 13-feet-11-inches long.

The Renegade is longer than a Wranglerbut just a little over a foot shorter than the Unlimited. The Wrangler, regardless of length, is only 2 inches wider.

As for offroading, the Renegade’s short overhangs and ground clearance (6.7 to 8.7 inches depending on drivetrain and trim) will likely handle anything a future Renegade owner will throw at it. For those opting for the Trailhawk, you can even attack 19 inches of water for those flash floods in Houston when you’re really jonesing for some Marlboros and have to go to the store.

Regardless of its offroad capability, it looks cute. And I don’t think a Jeep should ever look cute.

2015 Jeep Renedate Trailhawk (8 of 20)

Interior
Whoever has been cracking out the handsomely penned interior designs at Chrysler lately obviously went on a long sabbatical when the Renegade project came around.

The steering wheel is standard Chrysler fare, so I will give that a pass. Same with UConnect, which works flawlessly except when it doesn’t.

Meanwhile, everything else looks and feels decidedly cheap. The seats aren’t much to look at, even though our tester was trimmed with the upgraded option. The red surrounds with their slight metallic shimmer are about one step away from being 99 cent clip-on earrings for your nearly-tween daughter. Also, the gimmicks continue in the instrument panel with a paintball splatter to totally denote the redline, bro.

2015 Jeep Renedate Trailhawk (5 of 20)

The return of button blanks continues the cheapness. Even on this top trim Trailhawk, loaded up with extras, the center stack featured five button blanks in a row of eight possible placements. I thought we were done with this. Same goes for the awkwardly placed 4×4 selector and USB port that are way out of reach of the driver which causes he/she/xe to take their eyes off the road.

There was also never a time when I felt comfortable in the Renegade. The driving position was a bit off no matter how much I adjusted.

2015 Jeep Renedate Trailhawk (17 of 20)

Without the roof panels stowed, and assuming you left the panel bag at home, the cargo area will take on 18.5 cubes with seats up and 50.8 cubes with seats folded. The Patriot, which costs less, will swallow more. The Wrangler can’t take as much stuff as the Renegade when seats are up (12.8 cubic feet) but maximum cargo yields an extra 4.2 cubic feet of volume.

2015 Jeep Renedate Trailhawk (2 of 20)

Infotainment
I really like Uconnect when it isn’t trying to kill us. I liked it in the Charger and I’ll continue liking it even if security is engineered by the Jin Xu Hi Sieve Manufacturing Co. It might not be as nice to look at as some of the next-generation systems coming online over the next year or two, but it sure does everything I want.

That said, with the 9-speaker audio upgrade, the Renegade only sounds OK. The car feels a bit tinny, and the audio makes that more apparent. It’s as if the sound waves have an endless number of empty spaces behind the door panels in which to reverberate. Also, this UConnect system sports the 6.5-inch touchscreen, but looking at the molding around the screen tells me the Renegade could have been easily fitted with the 8.4-inch screen and Jeep simply decided not to offer it.

2015 Jeep Renedate Trailhawk (7 of 20)

Powertrain
In the engine and transmission department, the Renegade offers two choices. Unfortunately, neither of those choices are, well, good.

For starters, a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is offered as standard. It makes do with 160 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. Our Trailhawk tester comes standard with the 2.4-liter “World Engine” four cylinder with 180 horsepower and 175 lbs-ft of torque. The turbo can only be had with a six-speed manual. The larger, naturally aspirated 2.4 gets the nine-speed ZF automatic as the sole transmission.

Before I even looked at the spec sheet, I took the Renegade for a drive. The 2.4-liter Tigershark isn’t what you would call smooth or refined, and neither is the nine-speed autobox. It felt like I was driving a small turbo mill with a bad DCT. It’s a dreadful pairing, like inviting Kanye West to any awards show. Whatever you are trying to accomplish will be interrupted at least once, maybe multiple times.

There was one moment during my drive that helped me decide the 2.4-liter and automatic should die a painful, horrific death. As I was merging onto the highway, I saw a vehicle approaching from behind that had been hidden at first glance behind a barricade. To try to get out of the way, I floored it.

One second. The revs are rising but I am not going any faster.

Two seconds. Revs are basically at redline but still no change in the rate of acceleration.

Three seconds. The transmission finally decides what gear it wants to select, grabs it and my rate of acceleration is only marginally better.

Around town or just cruising is a friendlier story, but that moment on the highway as much faster traffic was barrelling down on me was not just concerning, but also sincerely scary.

The cherry on top: Fuel economy clocked in at 3.5 mpg lower than the combined rating — and the rating of 24 mpg isn’t all that brilliant to begin with. If you are looking for a usable powertrain with decent fuel economy, you are better off with a Patriot with the six-speed automatic.

2015 Jeep Renedate Trailhawk (12 of 20)

Drive
Despite what I said about the Wrangler, I like it a lot. I like it so much, in fact, that if the Charger thing doesn’t work out and Ford doesn’t build a Bronco, a Wrangler might be the next vehicle to grace my paved driveway in our hastily planned 1980s subdivision.

The Renegade, on the other hand, tries to leverage all the cool of the Wrangler, but is nothing more than a gimmick wrapped in nostalgia. Even worse, the gimmicks try to hide a bad powertrain and numerous other flaws. While the MultiAir 2 valve system and ZF nine speed might be engineering marvels, they don’t make for an enjoyable drive.

And it doesn’t stop there. The Trailhawk offers up ride quality that would make the Lada Niva blush. For a faux-roader with no destination other than a local, artisanal butcher only selling chickens that have been stroked in a motherly fashion at least 10 times every week, the Renegade Trailhawk isn’t going to be taking on the Rubicon Trail anytime soon.

For all this, our tester rang in at $33,255. In Canada, it costs an even more dear $39,525. Before taxes.

*jaw drop*

For that money, you can get the Wrangler and enjoy a real drop top. You can even spend a little more and get into a Land Rover LR2 if you fancy yourself a urine-drinking adventuristHell, if you don’t need the off road capability, the choices are as vast as the open prairie.

I really wanted to like the Renegade because I hate the idea of it. I really wanted it to prove me wrong and show me Jeep can build an SUV with this level of off road capability without losing all the pleasantries that makes the competition so damn good. I like being surprised, even if it means being proved wrong. Yet, I think this is an answer to a question that was asked but shouldn’t have been. Or maybe simply a wrong answer. We all do that now and then, so I’ll forgive you, Jeep.

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129 Comments on “2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4×4 Review – A Gimmick Wrapped in Nostalgia...”


  • avatar

    It’s a very stylish vehicle. I was just in a dealership and saw one for $27000. I’d take it over an i3.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Mark,
    A almost well written piece, using the assessment criteria laid down by some of our brilliant commenters/armchair journos. I’ll give you a A-.

    What I do like was your ability to give an accurate account of what you deemed as technical and design shortcomings.

    This “Jeep” is just an exercise in marketing and value adding using a brand name. Companies should be careful on how they exploit a good brand name for sales purposes. It could come back and bite them in the ass.

    A simple formula should be used to assess a Jeep.
    1. If it is not a SUV (as opposed to a CUV) it isn’t a Jeep and the Jeep brand is not to be used.

    Maybe FCA should of used Dodge or Chrysler as a name instead of Jeep. It’s a pity to see the deficiencies in the engine/powertrain. What should of been an acceptable performer with the 2.4 ended up being a downer as you described.

    A good and honest write up. I’ll up my assessment of your article to a “A”.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      Aaaand SHOVE IT!!!!

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Big Al from Lebanon,
        Thank you for your fantastic input. Have you ever experienced your recommendation?

        Lucky this isn’t affected by the chicken tax.

        If it was you could easily fill this thread with hundreds of useful and intelligent comments like your advice you have just given me above.

        Thank you, again.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      The problem with your argument, Big Al, is that the Renegade CAN perform as a “real Jeep” even in rock climbing–certainly no worse than a bone-stock 80s vintage Cherokee. There are already plenty of videos by Jeeping and Off-Road magazines showing that this is the Little Renegade That Can.

      I would also suggest the tester try using some of the tools he was given in that rig… like the sport-stick to downshift manually one or two gears to get that acceleration he so panned. You’d be surprised at how much difference that can make.

      On top of that, the tester flat ignored or forgot that the car is built to learn the driver’s habits. Quite obviously that one had been driven rather mellow and simply wasn’t ‘tuned’ for sportier performance. It seems the reviewer needed some more education before driving it–and maybe a reset from the dealership or wherever or whomever assigned it to him to review.

      Is it gimmicky? Yes. But then, so is the Wrangler itself; there are a lot of ‘Easter Eggs’ in it since the ’12 model came out. The Cherokee, too, has a lot of the same ‘gimmicks’. Unfortunately, that’s part of what a Jeep is today, just as the Land Rover is nothing like its ancestors–for anything. Rovers used to be common expedition vehicles, but not any more. The Toyota Hilux has taken on that task. The Wrangler, at least, can do more than the most trail-worthy stock Rover, albeit maybe not as quickly as some would like.

      So despite being a unibody box on wheels, the Renegade is still an SUV. It is designed for sport and utility that’s just a little more refined than the Wrangler itself while getting about 50% better fuel mileage when you’re not driving it like an idiot.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Vulpine,
        I have not driven one or have seen one off road.

        I have read that a 2WD version will be the most popular.

        I do know it has some off road creed, but I would call this a soft roader.

        I have read some reviews and some of the comments made by Mark are reflected.

        One review stated it is at home and does best on a dirt or gravel road.

        • 0 avatar
          dolorean

          Big Al, technically Jeep cannot issue a “TrailRated” badge unless the vehicle has actually been proven to do some Moab or similar trail (you know, right near where they faked the Moon landing) in Utah. With 19″ of water clearance and multiple selections of road environments on the 4×4 selector, I would imagine this would do better than your average CUV and SUV.

          For me, I like this beastie ‘cepting those awful tail lamps! Looks like a cartoon drunk man with the two x’s over his eyes.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          * I have not driven one or have seen one off road. — I won’t argue that. However, Off-Road magazine at least has a youTube video of one doing rock climbing. Granted, the video makes you think the Renegade will fail to make a certain climb, but part of that is the street tires it’s wearing. Still, without any outside help, it does manage to get a good grip and make that climb. And it’s surprising when it does.

          * I have read that a 2WD version will be the most popular. — I expect that’s true. The 2WD Compass and Patriot are far more popular than their AWD versions.

          * I do know it has some off road creed, but I would call this a soft roader. — I agree. While it CAN do more, 99.9% of its owners will not push its limits. The problem is, most other AWD cars are pushed to their limits regularly and fail when when their capabilities are most needed.

          * I have read some reviews and some of the comments made by Mark are reflected. — I would question some of those reviews (like Mark’s specifically) as either unintentionally or perhaps purposely ignoring the purpose behind the vehicle. Jeep itself is a gimmick today in many ways; it has become an icon of independence when everything else has become cookie-cutter conservative. But when it comes down to real capability, those Trail-Rated Jeeps tend to perform no worse than vehicles two- to four times as expensive and in the case of the Wrangler, much easier to upgrade than any of those other SUVs.

          * One review stated it is at home and does best on a dirt or gravel road. — And this is going to be the worst road most users will take it on. I recommend a site called toasterjeep dot com to see how “real jeepers” are using it. And yes, one of the very first Renegades sold in the US already has its “Badge of Honor” for driving off-pavement.

        • 0 avatar
          caltemus

          www youtube com/watch?v=XFgFDDXD2C4

          I’d say that the renegade is definitely the best in class offroad.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        “even in rock climbing–certainly no worse than a bone-stock 80s vintage Cherokee. There are already plenty of videos by Jeeping and Off-Road magazines showing that this is the Little Renegade That Can.”

        Sorry, but no. While I can certainly see some situations where modern ABS-derived low speed traction control could get a Renegade through a particular diagonally oriented raised obstacle that could leave a Cherokee with open differentials “crossed up” once it reaches the limits of articulation, on the whole, the XJ is much more suited to offroad situations in several key areas. The biggest one is durability and avoiding or minimizing trail damage. Manufacturer ground clearance numbers don’t tell anywhere close to the full story. I’m sure both vehicles are in the 8 inch range. For the Cherokee, that’s 8 inches at both differential pumpkins, and then a foot or more in most other places under the truck. The Renegade is moreso uniformly 8 inches under most of the truck. Now, if the XJ catches an axle on a boulder, it’s not the end of the world, and it will most likely come out unscathed. A Renegade is more likely to make contact with the underbody somewhere else. Drivetrain component, control arm, exhaust, etc.

        Secondly, on a rough trail with constant undulation or limited traction, where the zero-articulation Renegade will rely soley on its electronic wizardry, the Renegade’s brake-powered traction control system would sooner or later overheat. The systems shut themselves off when the brake fluid gets hot enough. Likewise the viscous coupling that drives the rear axle can overheat with constant ‘locked’ use, although perhaps Jeep’s is more resilient to overheating than some others. An old XJ has a traditional part time transfer case that locks up mechanically, nothing to overheat. The solid axles will articulate and conform to terrain under the vast majority of circumstances, maintaining grip. Again, a sturdy mechanical system not susceptible to “overuse = overheating.”

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          @gtemnykh: I’m not going to comment on your first paragraph. I will say the XJ was far easier to modify, but outside of that it wasn’t really that much better than the Renegade. It might have some advantages, but they’ll be almost strictly in areas the Renegade typically won’t be driven.

          On the other hand, I’ve got to argue one point as I believe you are mistaken about certain mechanicals.
          ” Likewise the viscous coupling that drives the rear axle can overheat with constant ‘locked’ use, although perhaps Jeep’s is more resilient to overheating than some others.”
          That’s not a viscous coupling; if you’ll recall one of the reasons the Renegade and the Cherokee before it was delayed was to fine-tune the timing of the “dog-tooth clutch”; it is a very mechanical connection linking the transaxle to the rear wheels. On the other hand, you could be right about the brake fluid. We’ll just have to wait and see what professional off-roaders make of it. Meanwhile, it IS proving itself off road so far.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            First you say this:

            “even in rock climbing–certainly no worse than a bone-stock 80s vintage Cherokee. There are already plenty of videos by Jeeping and Off-Road magazines showing that this is the Little Renegade That Can.”

            Now you’re backtracking to say this:

            “It might have some advantages, but they’ll be almost strictly in areas the Renegade typically won’t be driven.”

            So are you agreeing with me now or what? I was never discussing anything outside of offroad performance.

            In regards to the Trailhawk’s powertrain, you are correct, I was mistaken and the trailhawk does in fact use the same 2-speed power-takeoff unit from the Cherokee Trailhawk that locks axles front to rear, this is impressive. However that seems to be masked by the overly intrusive traction control system, which stopped it dead when climbing a sandy hill in FourWheeler’s test. Interestingly enough in that same test, a 4Runner TRD Pro dug itself in on the same climb (owing to its weight) and the Cherokee Trailhawk was the only vehicle in the trio that made it up the hill. Unfortunately that same Cherokee then locked itself irreversibly into 4-low with the rear differential locked and required Chrysler engineers to re-flash it before it started functioning normally again.

            I’d say there remain very serious limitations as to what sort of terrain the Renegade can tackle owing simply to a lack of “real” ground clearance and suspension travel. I was simply refuting your point about offroad capability, nothing more. I struggle to come up with what sort of demographic will buy the Renegade Trailhawk. Serious offroaders will buy a Wrangler. Outdoor lifestyle folks? The Renegade has a tiny trunk, and can’t haul much gear, a Subaru is a better fit. Someone in my old apartment complex bought one, I think just as a daily commuter and nothing more. So in that case, it is the aesthetics and proportions that must be appealing. A CRV (or Rav4, or Rogue, or Forester) absolutely trounces the Renegade in any sort of ‘everyday convenience’ sort of measure: fuel economy, powertrain refinement, interior room and versatility, long term reliability (probably).

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          I’m not backtracking. I’m pointing out that the Renegade is just as good in its way as the Cherokee itself was back in the 80s. Its only drawback as far as I can see is the four cylinder engine doesn’t necessarily have the same torque as the engine that the original Cherokee carried which MAY have an effect. I expect the Renegade might run out of torque on a long hill climb simply because the two-speed transfer case still allowed a lower crawl ratio at somewhere around 35:1 vs the Renegade’s 20:1.

          As for the rest, I refer you to Toasterjeep dot com, a spinoff of wayalife dot com covering the rest of the Jeep lineup.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “the Renegade is just as good in its way as the Cherokee itself was back in the 80s”

            I think I get what you’re saying, and that is that for most average users in the 80s, that used the Cherokee as a family hauler but maybe did some primitive camping or such, the Renegade is an equally capable successor (within that range of use)? I can mostly agree with that, albeit the Cherokee had significantly more cargo space for getting out into the wilderness for the weekend. the new KL Cherokee is closer to the XJ in that regard. Certainly the Renegade is a much more civilized vehicle to drive every day, and gets better mileage than the old XJ. Then again I’m biased: the last XJ I drove seriously needed the steering box and linkage rebuilt and some new shocks, I was all over the road even at 40 mph! I had a blast though, and would love to own a 5spd XJ Cherokee at some point.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            You’ve got it now, gtemnykh; too many people are putting too much into what it isn’t rather than what it is. This is too true of most auto reviews nowadays.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “too many people are putting too much into what it isn’t rather than what it is. This is too true of most auto reviews nowadays.”

            Well Jeep certainly implies that it is much more than what it really is IMO. And for marketing purposes to the Northface wearing suburbanites that want to buy something “cool” for their kid or as a second vehicle, that makes a heck of a lot of sense. I certainly see a ton of brand new base model Wranglers driven by highschoolers, and new JKUs driven by their trophy wife moms to see that Jeep has major brand cache in the wealthy ‘burbs. The Renegade would be a logical buy for parents looking to get their kid a “cool” car that is easy to live with and safe.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I agree with every single comment.

    My test drive of a Renegade in March was a terrible letdown. It was like finally scoring a date with that hot cheerleader you’ve always eyed, only to discover she has pervasive body odor and a singular interest in your wallet.

    The ride was rough, the passenger area was very small, the engine coarse at every speed including idle, the transmission shifts were abrupt and unevenly spaced, and quality/fit/finish was spotty at best. And then there is the price: the basic Renegade is very stripped, and decently-equipped versions are mid- to high-20s US. I don’t need the features of the Trailhawk, but it’s obviously (and cleverly) the best-looking one.

    The bored Jeep salesman couldn’t believe this was the first Jeep I’d ever driven, and tried to talk me into a different vehicle. He seemed embarrassed to have to sell Renegades. He also insulted me for even considering FWD, even though I explained that it would basically serve as a CUV on roads, not off-road. I’ve survived 36 years of driving without AWD, and I just wasn’t interested in paying more for the option and having lower fuel economy.

    Jeep actually promotes the overuse of the Moab/slots/gascan theme (turning it into a sort of “where’s Waldo” game to find them all), but I just found it annoying.

    At some point I will test drive a 500X (same platform) and see if it’s any better.

  • avatar
    darex

    Is the FIAT 500X a better overall package?

    • 0 avatar

      Not sure, but I will find out soon enough. There is one in our fleet but I haven’t driven it yet.

    • 0 avatar
      bfisch81

      It certainly has a nicer interior.

    • 0 avatar
      stevelovescars

      I’ve driven both. Even though I have a predisposition to liking the Fiat (I had an Abarth and loved it) I came away more impressed by the Jeep.

      First, for some reason, the Fiat with the 1.4L turbo is only available with FWD. Any AWD 500X has the larger engine/auto combination. I drove a fairly basic Renegade with the 1.4T/manual/AWD combination. The sticker was just above $22k, and (except for the crappy base radio) really offered everything I’d need. To get an AWD 500X I was looking at about 3 grand more, at least.

      I think the 1.4T is the better engine choice here. This article didn’t compare that engine, but many of the mechanical issues the author mentions were related to the bigger 4. The 1.4 is lighter, smoother, gets marginally better fuel economy, and the stick shift drove nicely. So, the Jeep is the only way to go if one wants this combination. If I get one, I’d like AWD since I live in Northern lower Michigan.

      While I like the styling of the Fiat (inside and out), the Jeep felt more comfortable and the “dorky” styling really pays dividends in interior space.

      I’m only 5’6″ and with the driver’s seat placed for me in the Fiat, there was very little rear leg room behind it. In comparison, there was plenty of space in the Jeep.

      I drove the Fiat in California and recently drove the Jeep here in Michigan. The roads here are far worse but the Jeep had a better ride. This may have been due to the combination of the lighter engine and smaller/taller tires on the base Renegade. Again, another reason to choose a “lesser” model.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Nice piece.

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    500X looks WAY BETTER! The Renegade styling is somewhat off…if not rather DORKY. It already needs a facelift. There are other players in the game, that aren’t so polarizing. VW Tiguan anyone? It’s probably cheaper, and since their sales are off, you can get a loaded example cheap.

  • avatar
    Wacko

    Funny that they have a since 1941 above the touch screen. Didn’t know Uconnect is that old

  • avatar
    jimble

    I am so glad I decided not to buy one of these things. Actually all it took to dissuade me from even taking a test drive was sitting in the dark, cheap, gimmicky interior that I could barely see out of in any direction. I wanted to like it but couldn’t. Not even a little.

  • avatar
    sckid213

    Everything about this vehicle, including Mark’s “gimmick wrapped in nostalgia” description, reminds me of the PT Cruiser.

    • 0 avatar

      PT Cruiser was awesome though. Its only fault was that Chrysler off-loaded it to Toluca and ordered Mexicans to build it on the cheap.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        The problem with the PT was the boat anchor 2.4L and 4 speed. The turbo was better, but didn’t solve the issues later on when Daimler slapped cheaper materials inside.

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        I am left to assume that you are incapable of seeing what passes for styling on the PT Cruiser, if you think its only fault is something else.

        It was supposed to be a segment buster that looked like a busted segment.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        The PT Cruiser was interesting to look at, horrifying to sit in. The interior was so cheap and tupperware but what really bothered me was the feeling of driving while sitting on a dining room chair. Atrocious vehicle and glad to see it gone.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    “The Patriot, which costs less, will swallow more.”

    Yes, but then you’re stuck owning (or at least driving) a Patriot.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      True, but whats the difference?

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Honestly, I’d take the Patriot over the Renegade on looks alone. I’ve driven a few with a CVT. Same harsh “world” engine, the CVT isn’t terrible but really highlights the thrashiness of the engine. Unfortunately, once you have the Freedom Drive II package with a good crawl ratio and 1 inch suspension lift, the fuel economy is actually not much better than a 4500lb BOF 4Runner with 4wd and legitimate capability.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        The difference between the Patriot and the Renegade is more apparent if one wants a manual trans. A proper six speed manual is offered on every model of Renegade (provided you get the 1.4L and forgo the TrailHawk edition) while the Patriot owns a lowly five speed like it was still 1985 on only two models. That’s important to me if I were to say, actually want a CUV.

        If I were trapped on a large dessert island and had to choose between the two, I’d first slap my spellcheck and always go for the six speed. And a spoon.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    I haven’t liked the look of this thing since day 1. I think the Patriot is an exceedingly handsome vehicle. (What can I say, I like boxy.)

    Slap the Cherokee’s baby PentaStar in the Patriot with a properly sorted conventional 6AT and a selectable AWD system and I’d be very interested.

    Also….39K CAD is IN-freaking-SANE. Right now, I could go down and buy a Sierra SLE Crew 4×4 V6 for that, with all the cash on the head.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      The Renegade makes no sense fully loaded. As Mark mentioned, a few bucks more will get you a Land Rover that’s infinitely better inside and out, off-road and on. As an added bonus, the Ecoboost LR2s have almost no depreciation.

      That being said, the entry-model Renegade with the manual at just over $20k is a great ride. The powertrain is fun and engaging, the ride is tight (way better than a Rav4), and there’s lots of room inside for 4 adults and their stuff. The head room in the back is as good as almost anything at any price.

      Sure, it’s no Wrangler off-road, but it’s also no Wrangler on-road, which is a very good thing.

      • 0 avatar

        And the best part is, the combined transmission ratio 1.4t+6sp in 1st gear is 1:18.435, with the optional 4.438 final drive. Not that an autojourno scating on OEM freebies would ever write about that. We need to wait patiently for Jack to rent one for a sensible review.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        “As an added bonus, the Ecoboost LR2s have almost no depreciation.”

        Are we sure about this? I’ve never seen an LR which did not have massive and immediate depreciation.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          You are thinking LR3 and LR4, which are known as Discovery in the rest of the world.

          I am talking about the LR2, specifically the post ’13 Ecoboost-powered version. I looked them up out of curiosity because I had cross-shopped them last time I bought a new car. Asking prices are very very close to the price I would have paid back then, within a couple thousand.

          In other words, I could have run that truck for $100/month depreciation, which is unheard-of. Almost anything else would have dropped thousands more immediately and kept going down.

          The LR2 replacement is called the Discovery Sport. Wonder if it will do as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      ^^^Seconded. The Patriot looks honest. I like it.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        The Patriot looks cheap, feels cheap and drives like a aerodynamic lego brick. Haven’t had an honest sit in the Renegade but have sat in the Fiat version here in Germany. Not a bad ride but then, I wasn’t driving.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      BTW, 90% of the Renegades and Cherokees I’ve seen around here have been TrailHawk versions!

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I think those are the only trims that make sense buying. They look appropriately proportioned with the higher stance, and have some real features (locking 2 speed transfer case) that set them apart from the other car based CUVs. The Cherokee Trailhawk even has an honest to god locking rear diff!

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          The price just seems silly for them – especially for THIS thing at $33,000. Get outta heeeeah.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Once can only hope that price is simply padded in anticipation of heavy discounts. Anyone that pays anything close to 30k for a Renegade or 35k for a Cherokee Trailhawk needs their head checked IMO. And here I was balking at the $37k quote I was given for a 4Runner Trail Premium by a local dealer.

  • avatar
    Big Wheel

    Coming soon to a sorority parking lot near you. That’s the target audience for this car.

    • 0 avatar
      cammark

      Yes, and I think that is part of the problem here. At that price point the fathers of sorority girls everywhere will be cross shopping CR-Vs. $33k is fully loaded CR-V touring money. Similar or better fuel consumption, more space, better drivetrain, just as well-suited off-road but actually better on-road… they may not be cross shopped by the traditional buyer, but i think in this instance, and because of the price point… not good for Jeep.

      I like the exterior of this thing as a design exercise. If i had to choose between this styling and some “windswept egg pod” all else equal of course, i would choose this.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        At $33k, Dad could foreseeably buy a new Mazda CX-3, corner the “cute” market, save on the MPGs (cause you know she’s gonna call you when she’s out of money and out of gas) and have enough leftover to take empty nest Mom out to the Carribean on a Carnival cruise.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I’d lease it *if* it came with the sorority girl, otherwise no dice.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Mark, could this have been early production or out of date software? I’m asking because my daughter’s Cherokee with the same powertrain always got better fuel economy than what you did. After getting a software update this spring the 9-speed was much more responsive and the mileage [which was always better than yours] went up as well. 20 MPG in something this small is inexcusable.

    FWIW, you can get a nicely equipped Cherokee Latitude for $33k. I don’t know how you put the 2 vehicles in the same showroom and expect to sell many of these.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      “20 MPG in something this small is inexcusable.”

      It’s a 25% improvement over the Liberty, the previous “little women’s” favorite, so there’s that :-)

      Cheerleaders need love, too (sweat and all).

  • avatar
    SC5door

    What exactly are we going to be doing with the USB port and AWD selection while the vehicle is moving? Usually we know that we’re in Snow or Sand before the vehicle is moving. Also doesn’t it show in the cluster what mode your’re selecting as well?

    As a whole, I like the design and even this color….but the power train and long term quality leaves me cold. The 2.4L has always been so-so in the Chrysler units and this one is no exception….multiair has done nothing for these nor has the 9 speed. They should have just bought the 2.4L and 6 speed from Hyundai.

  • avatar
    wmba

    In June last year, I experienced the ZF 9 speed in a new 200C AWD. Reported back here as to its utter uselessness. In early September, I drove the new TLX V6 FWD with the same useless transmission. Just like the Chrysler, it took a full two seconds to respond to full throttle on the highway. Around Halifax, which is very hilly, both cars exhibited constant hunting up and down the ratios. The paddle shifters are essentially useless because response is no quicker. Have since driven the Chrysler twice more and TLX SH-AWD to see if I had been hallucinating. Nope.

    This transmission is so dreadfully half-baked, it ruins every car into which it is inserted. Only Alex Dykes likes it.

    So, I’d say the transmission is the real reason the author hates this vehicle. It’s so bad, it colors the impression of the rest of the vehicle it’s bolted into. That said, I couldn’t even be bothered to actually find out by going to drive one, having been subjected to a rental Cherokee with the same powertrain as this Renegade. Breathless load of old rope.

    Nevertheless, 28,907 unfortunate people in the USA have already bought a Renegade up till the end of August (Tim Cain’s website), cementing my feeling that for the average person, if a vehicle moves when you put it in Drive, no more is required other than looking cool, which is in the eye of the beholder.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      The 2012 A6 3.0T we had with the 8-speed ZF automatic was as you described after the new wore off in about two months. I don’t understand the enthusiasm some express for that transmission. I’m not even sure I’ve driven a 6-speed automatic with any miles on it that worked worth a damn.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        The Hyundai 6-speed auto is very nice, IMO. We have two of them – one in a Sonata, another in an Optima Hybrid.

        That transmission just does its job without drawing any attention – smooth and efficient.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          The Mazda Skyactiv 6 speed automatic transmission has been well reviewed including by commentators on this site.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          I drove a 2015 Sonata in rental car trim for a week in August. It wasn’t bad, but we were the first people to rent it. I think it had less than 250 miles when we returned it. The Audi was sweet for a few thousand miles.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I had a 2015 Sonata rental back in August with something like 27k miles on it, a pretty basic GLS trim as I recall. My most direct comparison would be to my gf’s 2012 Camry SE since I have a lot of seat time in that. The Hyundai drove like a larger car in both good ways and bad: totally smothered bumps in the road and just felt very big and insulated. Actual road-holding and steering response I’d give to the Camry SE, which has a less compliant ride. Steering felt a bit funny on the highway, first there is little feel/weight on-center, then it loads up like crazy. Very comfortable front seats (more thigh support than camry), ours unfortunately came with some very gross “feminine” stains on the passenger seat :/ I actually was able to eke out a computer-displayed 36.7 mpg, that’s driving from Ithaca NY to JFK airport in NYC, using cruise control and holding about 72mph most of the way and using A/C, this is about on par with what my gf gets when she’s driving her Camry (not speeding a lot either). But way ahead of the 30mpg I saw in a rental Fusion 1.6EB driving similar speeds. The direct injected engine is definitely less refined than the Camry’s port injected 2.5, and I thought the throttle/transmission mapping was less crisp and intuitive, but it had good get up and go once everything ‘hooked up’ and shifts were super smooth. Hands down the biggest issue were the howling Hankook tires, which at 27k were worn down to maybe 25% tread remaining and were louder than many snow tires I’ve dealt with. I bet a set of Michelin tires would transform it into a border-luxury car ride. Rear seat room is awesome. Dash/interior quality and finish I’d rate as being almost on par with the 2012 Camry, and definitely worse than the 2015 refreshed Toyota. One thing that bugged me was how sloppy the key felt in the ignition cylinder. Small detail but when added to the silver dash trim and the annoying intro chime/screen display, it took away from a car that drives and feels like something a class higher.

            Color me impressed! However I’d have a hard time justifying one over one of the refreshed 2015 Camries, or even more so an Accord. Seems that they’ve all reached price parity now that Camry/Accord are as discounted as anything these days.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Seconded the praise for Mazda’s 6-speed. I’ve also had uniformly good experiences with the ZF (design) 8-speed in Chrysler LX cars and Ram trucks. The Toyota 8-speed in my LS (7 years old, 45k miles) is smooth if a bit slow-witted, and that’s also my recollection of the 6-speeds in current Camries.

        Ford and GM FWD 6-speeds… suck. All of them I’ve touched so far. I haven’t yet driven a vehicle with the ZF 9-speed but I’m not optimistic.

        My favorite “automatic” transmission in existence right now is the non-transmission (fixed planetary gear set) in Toyota hybrids. It’s better than any FWD economy automatic and a dream come true in the big RWD luxury applications (GS450h, LS600hL).

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    (Tidy dimensions + off road worthiness + sorority appeal) – (cramped + heavy + slow + thirsty + gimmicky + uncomfortable + bad bad transmission + sorority appeal)

    The equation doesn’t balance well.

  • avatar
    Ianw33

    This is one of those vehicles that is not intended for most of the people that read The Truth About Cars, Jalopnik, etc.

    And that is exactly why it will sell. A LOT.

    I am already seeing a lot of these around PHX. each month they are on sale, i am seeing more and more.

    My wife really wanted to look into them when we were replacing her cobalt. Unfortunately, the prices were just too high for our budget. She ended up going with a certified used Juke, and loves it.

    Cars like the Juke and Renegade are attractive to people like my wife because they look so much different than everything else out there. The CRv/sportage/CX3 might actually be a better car dynamically….but they look “normal”.

    Wife’s dont care about HP per Liter/weight distribution/independent rear suspension vs torsion beam. they want something that feels safe, can park easily, and makes a fashionable statement.

    What wife’s want is what wife’s get. Just hope that you can parlay that into something unpractical when its time to replace your ride

    • 0 avatar
      kmars2009

      I live in the PHX area and have seen very few. Maybe I’m not close enough to ASU…or the Institute for the Blind, for that matter.

      • 0 avatar
        Ianw33

        I live over in the mesa/chandler area and work in the scottsdale area.

        I see a pretty decent amount of these guys in the more affluent areas….you know….the people that actually buy new cars and don’t read car blogs all day ;)

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Can’t tell if the Lada Niva ride quality comparison is praise or scorn. Question: have you ever ridden in a Niva? They actually ride very well, thanks to the long travel suspension with decently soft springs. If there’s a single thing that Russian cars do well, it’s very absorbent and sturdy suspensions. This summer I went for a ride in a mid 90s GAZ 3110 Volga down the unpaved roads in my cousin’s village, holy cow! Town Cars have got NOTHING on a Volga in terms of a smooth, road smothering ride. Just the thing for a place where roads aren’t a paved homogenous surface so much as an intricate tapestry of potholes, or a total absence of pavement altogether.

    • 0 avatar

      Well he is a Canuk, so he might have had a chance. Nivas were sold up north.

      Back in the 90s I had a chance to compare Niva and UAZ-469 back to back on the same road. The maximum speed of UAZ was 25 mph before nobody could hold on anymore. Niva easily did 55 mph (90 km/h).

      So honestly I suspect it was a rhetorical device. Either that or Canadian Nivas were tuned differently thanks to safety regulations.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I suppose the 469’s nickname “Kozlik” (donkey/ass) may have direct correlation to how it goes down the road :)

        I’ve actually been scoping out Russian car classifieds in Biysk (city close to my g-ma’s village), looking at used Nivas. Seems I can get a decent non-rusty runner (that will inevitably need at least some tinkering) for about 60k-80k rubles, or about $1000. I can’t imagine a more fitting vehicle to take into the woods for mushroom hunting or out to the flooded ponds for pike fishing. Albeit most rural folks out there get by just fine with older rwd Lada and Moskvitch models, driving through muddy two-tracks and all. I’d love to see one of these manufacturer sponsored “off-road” press events take place near my grandma’s village, and have some locals unknowingly drive the course in their trusty old Moskvitch 412.

        • 0 avatar
          319583076

          Biysk? That’s a loooong trip!

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Yep. My route was as such: 10 hour drive from Indiana to meet up with my mom in Ithaca NY, then a 4.5 hour drive to JFK. 9.5 hour flight to Moscow, 2 hour layover and then a 4 hour flight to Novosibirsk. Spent a few days there with some relatives then took a 6 hour bus ride to Biysk, where we were met by my great uncle in his trusty ’82 Lada 21011 for the final 20 minute drive to my grandma’s village of Lesnoe.

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            I was most curious about the flying parts of the journey. I expected a few more legs, but driving to see family at either end eliminates a couple and makes sense. One day I’ll get to Russia…

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I highly recommend it. It is really a shame that the US and Russia have such bureaucratically-inhibited tourism, and that Russia does not promote tourism more into its central regions, not just Moscow (which I don’t care for AT ALL). Not to mention the current political atmosphere and what the mainstream media on both sides say about each other. The people out in the country are some of the most hospitable, friendly hosts one could every hope for. Language barriers be damned, they will give you the shirt off their back. I think there is a big misconception that Russians are cold and reserved, and perhaps upon first glance that may be so. But as soon as you enter their home or are introduced as a friend, all of that melts away. My 2 weeks at my grandma’s was filled with fishing, helping her with the potato harvest, quality guy time with my cousins drinking beer and sitting in the sauna, and eating amazingly fresh, natural food. My grandma’s neighbor across the street has a cow, and every morning he brings her fresh milk and sour cream in a glass jug. All vegetables are home-grown, every village has their own bakery with bread made from locally harvested grain, and meat and fish is likewise fresh and sourced from nearby (or caught yourself). The lack on good roads and infrastructure basically ensures this sort of food sourcing. Hell even the liquor is home-stilled by my grandma! I swear I’d love to organize some sort of Siberian B&B/tourism agency to help American friends get out there and enjoy some good Russian country living (and maybe find them some beautiful Russian brides that know how to tend a garden and how to keep a house in order).

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            I’ve seen many parts of western Europe, but I’ve been fascinated with rest of the northern hemisphere essentially inscribed by the former USSR since childhood. I’d love to visit the Russian interior and eastern Europe, it sounds like it’s worth the trip. I like reading your posts describing your experiences there, thanks for sharing!

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        They weren’t all that different. We got western tires, except for the spare.

        The Niva rode much better than a contemporary Wrangler or Suzuki, so maybe it’s a complement.

        I think that a big part of the problem here is that Mark drove the fully loaded Trailhawk with a raised suspension and bigger/heavier rims. As I stated earlier, the base Renegade has a great ride with a perfectly damped suspension and a very tight feel. Adding weight (both sprung and unsprung) and putting it on stilts can only make it worse.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          “We got western tires, except for the spare.”

          I’ve always been impressed with how serious and well engineered the wheel/tire package is on the stock Niva, the Russian ones anyways. 16 inch rims with narrow profile tires with a very aggressive tread pattern “БЛИ-5” (BLI-5). Combined with its low weight and good approach and departure angles, and smooth suspension, the Niva is a real mountain goat. You can almost think of it as this Renegade’s long lost Soviet forebearer. But no cutesy “easter eggs” on the Niva, just three levers between the seats to control the transmission, center differential lock, and hi/low range in the full-time transfer case.

        • 0 avatar

          Obviously jounce is smaller after a lift, even if it’s a factory lift in case of Trailhawk. But honestly it’s obvious that Mark came in to hate, hate, hate. The ride is probably not even objectively bad, he just had to write something.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      Maybe compare it to a Citroen 2CV?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UwZPtDqG8g

      Wheeler Dealers; so much better than most of those “macho men” bitchfests on Velocity… :-)

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        “Wheeler Dealers; so much better than most of those “macho men” bitchfests on Velocity… :-)”

        True that. The only car-tv show I watch, I vastly prefer it to Top Gear as well. I do kind of miss their earlier episodes with lower budget repairs on more pedestrian rides. They’re starting to do more wacky custom stuff to classic cars and I’m not a fan. But thankfully the format of showing in depth all of the mechanical/body/interior work with zero fake drama has remained the same.

        • 0 avatar
          shaker

          That —
          Edd China actually fixes the cars (body/paint to rear seal replacements), and gives one an idea of what they would be getting into by buying a used ‘classic’. Eye-opening and useful if you are a DIY-type.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        @ shaker & gtemnykh – Thirded. As per gtemnykh’s comment, my only criticism is when they stray too far into the wacky custom stuff or, if a car has too little wrong with it, make unnecessary changes to fill time. On the Lexus LS episode, there was next to nothing wrong with the car (a fogged LCD in the dashboard, if I recall), so they ended up doing dopey swaps of the wheels and headlights.

        One thing I love about the show is how it’s not beholden to sponsors the way many US shows are. There are no cutaways to talk about how great the latest product from Royal Purple, YearOne, or LMC is.

  • avatar
    zerofoo

    2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4×4 Review – A FIAT PANDA Wrapped in Nostalgia

    I fixed the title for you.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Ouch!
    Man, a great and brutal review!
    Thank you Mark for this beautiful job.
    This and Jack’s feature today made me feel like the old TTAC was back!

  • avatar
    Kato

    After driving the disappointingly ugly transverse-engined Cherokee and crossing it off the list, I was hoping the Renegade might be a reasonable alternative. After sitting in one I didn’t bother driving it. Cramped, terrible sight-lines, cheap interior, and stupidly expensive for what it is. I’ll take this and multiple other reviewer’s word for it that the drivetrain is also underwhelming. Next!

  • avatar
    oldyak

    I surmised that he didn`t like it.
    Another anti Fiat Chrysler reporter…
    Yawn….

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      You do know that he keeps on talking about wanting to buy a FCA product, right?

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      He was talking about specific aspects of the product. It might be worth investigating and driving the Renegade and some of the competing vehicles to see if he’s right.

      To chaulk it up to bias without entertaining the notion that the product could be the probrem would be to succumb to the kind of thinking that drove GM in to the ground…

      BTW, I heard an almost identical rant from a co-workers who rented a Chrysler 200 with what was probably the same 9-speed automatic that was in this Renegade. His rant was remarkably similar to the review, in both the content and the tone.

      Also, Derek Kriendler had a very similar rant about the 9-speed automatic in the Cherokee.it seems like maybe 9-speeds in FCA cars are to be avoided.

      It hard to chaulk this one up to bias. Given the nature of the problem, it’s likely that customers will be “biased” the same way after driving the car.

      (I want to love the Renegade. My mom’s driving a 2002 Ford Escape for grocery getting and expeditions on to the rez, and this strikes me as an ideal replacement for it. Except for the issues raised here, which I will be looking for if/when I test drive one.)

  • avatar
    Gene B

    It’s amazing what a different impression I have of this car. One of my friends just bought a Renegade Latitude with the 6 speed manual and the 1.4T. He got it in Silver, and with that color you get a very tasteful dark brown interior. I spent quite a lot of time in the car.

    For car enthusiasts, there is one reason to consider this car. You can get a nicely trimmed version with 4WD and a stick. As a current Impreza owner, he finds the Renegade superior in every way – power, handling and fuel economy. With the stick (and an aggressive driving style) he is averaging 30 mpg. He paid $23k out the door, which is about right for this vehicle.

    I didn’t find the interior quality so poor. It has a substantial padded dashboard (rare in this class) and high quality HVAC controls. Fit was good, finish was OK as well although some plastics were a bit cheaper, but the dark brown color hid this well.

    I had a blast driving it and as someone who normally drives VWs and SAABs I was surprised. Because of the 16″ wheels and larger sidewalls the ride / handling combo is the best with this version. We blasted up Interstate 70 from Denver up into the mountains at 80 mph in 6th, so there is more than enough power here. The engine was never loud or buzzy and paired well with the trans in this application.

    For 23k, you get a fun to drive 4WD vehicle with some style and fun thrown in for manual transmission lovers. The good news is that dealers are stocking them with the manual, so they are easy to test drive and easy to get. And that is worth something these days!

    Mark, review the right version of this car!

    • 0 avatar
      TonyJZX

      People can drive manual?

      I think the above car is out of place. Why would you buy something this small, with this much money?

      Buy something bigger. In most western countries we arent bound by car sizes or capacity laws so why would I subject myself to this for $33k? Or $39k?

      For $23k with a manual and real 4×4 and the turbo 1.4? That makes a more cogent argument.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      This version sounds much better, but a 1.4T just seems (to me) like a grenade with the pin pulled – but a 3-year lease would be a decent choice.

      There’s a very attractive, petite blonde down the street who bought a white one; I saw her at the local watering hole, and told her “That’s a nice little Jeep!”

      She’s 25 years my junior :-(

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Other reviews have said the 1.4T-6M is a very fun package to drive. Importantly, the engine in the Renegade/500X has supposedly been recammed/retuned to move the torque peak much lower than it used to be in the Dart.

      When I test-drove a Dart 1.4T-6M in 2013, it was AWFUL. Its torque peaked at ~4000 rpm, and consequently it was very difficult to drive in traffic.

      If FCA has fixed this glaring problem, that could make the Renegade much more interesting.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    After looking at these things over and over, to me, it is by far the ugliest vehicle to wear the Jeep name.

    F = fix
    I = it
    A = again
    T = Tony – all the way.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    This thing is so on-trend-gimmick that it’ll age like an Aztek, SSR, or an 02 Thunderbird. Twenty years from now, Murilee will roll his wheelchair over to some random low miles one in a junkyard and tell us about it. And we’ll all be dead or quit coming here, but the new commenters will be shocked by it’s ridiculousness.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “This thing is so on-trend-gimmick that it’ll age like an Aztek,…”

      About that… Have you heard about how the Aztek is suddenly extremely popular with millenials?
      TTAC itself is covering that fact.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Yep, I did see that. I think it’s a product of age of car + poor credit of millennials + use on Breaking Bad.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Honestly, I liked the concept. I was looking for a car of that type when they came out and it had what I thought were some great ideas. BUT… the execution was abysmal. As an AWD car, the wheels and tires were simply too small for the size of the vehicle itself. It was grossly underpowered and it didn’t offer a manual transmission option. I just got the feeling it wouldn’t hold up to being an everyday driver. I ended up buying a Saturn Vue instead and put well over 130,000 miles on it with one battery change and one repair under warranty. It lasted 12 years on the original clutch plates. A surprisingly strong and roomy little beast.

          That’s why the Renegade today interests me. It offers a lot of what that Vue gave me along with a fun factor likely to be unmatched by any other brand. With the switchable road condition programmer, I can feel more secure in mud and snow than I ever did in that Vue while very probably giving me better fuel mileage than even the Vue could give me (32mpg on the highway.) It’s a tough package to ignore.

  • avatar
    Brumus

    Thanks to the Crosstrek’s deficiencies (read: gutless engine found therein) I’ve surpirised myself and am looking at one of these in 6-speed MT form.

  • avatar
    carve

    Kind of disappointing. Jeep needs more serious off-roaders. I was hoping to a modern version of a Willy’s Jeep or Suzuki sidekick, or even XJ Cherokee. Something simple, modifiable, and in base form, with minimum options and interior and preferably 3000 pounds. The Wrangler is just getting too big and expensive. Instead we get a jacked up Fiat.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      The Renegade is a serious off-roader. Any of its AWD versions are quite capable, and the Trailhawk version has the Jeep ‘trail-rated’ qualification. Check out some videos of it.

      http://www.jeep.com/en/renegade/capability/

      Fiat has plenty of experience building AWD vehicles, just not in your neighborhood.

      What are you looking for that the Renegade doesn’t have?

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        See my posts above. It comes down to the fwd-car based platform being doomed to about 8-9 inches of ground clearance everywhere, not just under the rear differential like on a “serious” 4wd vehicle, and the inherent unsuitability of poorly articulating, short-arm independent suspension inherited from the road car platform it is based on. Note: I’m not damning all independent suspensions to unsuitability off road, you want to see IFS/IRS with good travel take a look at a third generation Mitsubishi Montero, or Toyota’s 4Runner or Tacoma double wishbone front ends.

        I was at my friend’s cabin, he has an old Suzuki Samurai there that he runs around the woods with. Totally stock, but with some narrow tractor tires put on it. THAT is a serious offroader. I may be proved wrong, but I don’t think we’ll see beater Renegade Trailhawks roaming the woods 20 years from now. It’s just an unsuitable platform, not to mention I seriously doubt the 9 speed transmission will live that long.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I’d also love to see someone try to enter this vacant space, but I’m afraid there simply isn’t a large enough market for it. Seems like everything these days is required to handle highway duty and be as insulated as possible. Not to mention safety standards, jeesh I’m not sure it’d even be possible to engineer a lightweight compact offroader that satisfies all the regulations: CAFE, safety, pedestrian safety, etc.

      It’d be cool to see Suzuki come back swinging with the Jimny for sale here in the States, but again, there would simply never be any demand. The Renegade is sort of proof that people want to cool/cute looks of a funky compact offroader, but they aren’t willing to put up with the noise, poor handling, etc of a truly capable little rig with a frame, longitudinal drivetrain layout, solid axle(s) and a real-deal manual transfer case. Nor are they actually interested in that capability, frankly. Or take the 4Runner, it’s gained damn near 1000lb since my relatively welter-weight 3750lb 3rd generation truck, but they’ve also become roomier with higher roofs and upright seating, and the windshield is no longer inches from your nose. Likewise they’re a lot smoother and more civilized on the highway. At least in the 4Runner’s case, it’s every bit as capable as the old trucks, and even more-so with the addition of A-TRAC and crawl control, electronic systems that work amazingly well (Jeep’s BLD works great in the GC and Wrangler as I understand it).

  • avatar
    legacygt

    Did somebody say “Patriot?” I don’t care how bad the Renegade is. The Patriot could be the worst vehicle sold in the US right now. It’s a very old vehicle that wasn’t good when it was new.

    I think the Renegade is fine for what it is. I wouldn’t drive one. I’m also not seeing many on the road. AFter just a couple months on the market, the Cherokee was all over the place. This car doesn’t seem to resonate the same way.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I don’t know where you live, LGT, but the Renegade is making itself quite visible where I live as supply improves. There’s also a good possibility people have been waiting for the ‘pop top’ versions which were delayed until supposedly Sept./Oct. timeframe. That said, there are clearly some on the roads now and I expect to see quite a few more as winter approaches.


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