By on October 12, 2016

Jeep Renegade by Pablo David González of KM77

Jeep may have an issue with the Renegade and is either unaware of it or in denial.

A video shot by Spanish reviewer Pablo González shows a Renegade’s rear end catching serious air during a routine braking test. The video, posted on 77km.com and first noticed by Jalopnik, is alarming — the test vehicle’s front end nosedives, while the rear wheels leave the pavement entirely. 

González claims that in March 2015 he noted dramatic nosedive on a Renegade under hard braking, and suspected the rear tires may have left the ground. He set up a camera on the ground to document whatever was happening and found that the little Jeep did indeed spend part of the test on two wheels.

Fiat Group Spain explained to him that vehicle had suffered a failure involving the ABS system and he was unable to repeat the problem after the company fixed it. They also explained that this was a pre-production vehicle — Pablo later found out that this wasn’t the case — and not intended for sale to consumers. Satisfied for the time being, González decided against publishing the problem. The incident was seemingly isolated and had been handled properly.

However, in September of this year, he managed to recreate the problem in a completely different Renegade. During a 62 mile per hour braking test, González said the Jeep’s rear wheels left the ground under heavy braking. Pablo claims he called the same PR representative at Fiat and was told that the company had run the appropriate tests after the first incident. Nothing to worry about, he was told. During the call, he discovered the original Renegade he tested was, in fact, a production model. The vehicle was eventually sold to a buyer.

Fourwheeler.com also noticed rear wheel lift when testing the Renegade last year, but was assured it was a result of the front springs being out of spec from what would be used on a production vehicle. Italian reviewers at HDmotori got a Renegade to do what looks like a full-on stoppie in a 2015 first-drive test. However, consumer complaints on the matter have yet to crop up.

As dramatic as this all looks, how isolated or serious these incidents may be is up for debate. Let’s hope someone at FCA is looking into this anyway.

[Image capture: Paul David González/km77.com]

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65 Comments on “Jeep Renegade May Possess Flamboyant Braking Issue...”


  • avatar
    NoID

    It’s called the Renegade for a reason, folks.

    You can’t hold Renegade down!

  • avatar
    mason

    I do that on my dirt bike all the time.

    This has twice the number of tires in the front, with a roof and a seatbelt just in case. I see no problem here.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Braking issue? That’s a selling point for the hold-my-beer-and-watch-this crowd that Jeep caters to. /sarcasm

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    :Jack Baruth walks toward a BMW S1000RR in his riding leathers, pausing for a moment to take off his helmet and place it atop the seat. Taking a few more paces, the orange Renegade comes into shot.:

    “Only one CUV in America can do a stoppie. The Jeep Renegade.”

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Is this a case of very uneven weight distribution? Or a very soft front suspension?

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I did a translate on the CC on the video. He suggested there was some big problem with the brake distribution controller.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      With obese Americans in the car, this problem disappears.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      I think this happens because of a combination of:

      A high center of gravity with a front weight bias

      Stiff front springs and/or stiff compression damping in front with stiff rebound damping in the rear.

      It’s probably relying completely on ABS/ESC to stay as straight as it does in the video. Nobody holds the wheel sufficiently straight to not notice a disturbance in the yaw upon lifting both rear wheels.

    • 0 avatar
      Guitar man

      Any car will do this if the ABS is not working (NEWSFLASH : Car is dangerous when driven like a complete lunatic SHOCK !)

      Given the number of $10k cars with ABS and other electronic gimmicks like ESC and the fact that manufacturers have no incentive to buy any but from the cheapest bidder (since their is no way to test or measure most of this electronic rubbish), I wouldn’t be surprised that many cars are sold with this stuff that doesn’t work.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        This may surprise you, but although ABS is great (ESC is debatable), people do manage to live without it. A great many of my vehicles have not had it, as with my current one. Miraculously, I’m still alive to tell about it. :) And yes, I have been in situations where the brakes have locked up. The key is not to panic and do something stupid. I’m far from perfect, but I do okay and I don’t expect ABS to save my ass so I am used to the way the car behaves. I had ABS to save me in my Chevy Lumina one time, it was wet and this BMW swerved in front of me (what I get for not kissing someone’s bumper in front of me) to a lane I guess he thought was moving (was stop-n-go traffic, max 30 mph), I don’t know, but he was suddenly in front of me and then panic stopped. I was able to steer around him while applying maximum brakes on a slick highway. I was hardly moving but I figure I’d have hit him without ABS. I always believed he did it on purpose but who knows.

        The way I see a lot of people drive, I have no doubt they need ESC and all the other help they can get, but there are those of us who learned (or simply haven’t forgotten) how to handle a car without such systems.

        God knows what these people who use the gas and brake like an full-on/panic stop switch would do in an old truck with four wheel manual drum brakes. Lol probably a lot of damage. That would assume they could get the manual-shift truck going fast enough to do damage. I drove a 1965 F-100 (among other oldies from time to time) for a while, I learned quickly that you give yourself plenty of space.

        I’m not saying I’m a better driver than some wuss who needs ABS, quite the contrary. My point is millions of people everyday drive cars without it and other modern safety equipment. Most of us manage to make it home without killing anyone or ourselves. :D

        The next vehicle I’m looking at (as a 2nd Sunday driver kinda car) doesn’t even have airbags! Oh, the humanity!

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        No any car will not do this if the ABS is not working and ABS working will not fix this problem. The front brakes are not locking up so they won’t release.

      • 0 avatar
        JuniperBug

        Do you really believe that cars lift wheels off the ground when ABS isn’t active?

        Can you explain how the decreased friction of a locked wheel will increase forward weight transfer?

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          Go easy on him. He’s a guitar man, not a brake man, or even a physics man.

        • 0 avatar
          redmondjp

          JuniperBug,

          Absolutely yes it can do this when ABS is active! Modern ABS systems control each wheel individually – they don’t modulate the front brakes when the rears are locked up.

          Having ABS actually makes it easier to do exactly what this vehicle is shown doing, because ABS allows maximum braking on the front without any lockup. Without ABS, the vehicle would have locked the front brakes and all four wheels would have stayed on the ground as the vehicle skidded.

          So they need to add some sort of weight-transfer management integrated with the ABS system to back off the front braking a bit in order to keep the rear wheels touching the ground.

        • 0 avatar
          Guitar man

          >>Can you explain how the decreased friction of a locked wheel will increase forward weight transfer?<<

          A locked wheel has more friction than one which is moving. What an odd thing to say !

          If the back wheels locked the car would swing around. That clearly didn't happen.

          The video clearly shows the front wheel locking. It certainly will cause the back to rise up, I've done this heaps of times on non-ABS cars, depending on the type of suspension and the weight balance. This car has most of the weight on the front wheels.

          The ABS system regulates both front and rear wheels precisely to prevent this from occurring. Once one or more rear wheels are off the ground it goes into oversteer and is easy to flip.

          • 0 avatar
            JuniperBug

            Your first sentence shows that you weren’t paying attention in high school physics. (Google the difference between static and dynamic coefficients of friction, if interested).

            Further debate on this topic isn’t going to lead anywhere positive, but I wish you much joy in doing stoppies in cars – a feat I haven’t accomplished, nor ever witnessed, when driving on the track. Maybe my, and others’, non-ABS track cars just don’t have powerful enough brakes.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      I think it’s a case of too many easter eggs.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’d like to see the Renegade try the Swedish ‘moose avoidance’ test.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    Just put some smaller, weaker front brakes on that bad boy. Problem solved.

  • avatar
    chris724

    “However, consumer complaints on the matter have yet to crop up.”

    That’s because the consumers all think it’s awesome!

  • avatar
    Paul Alexander

    Someone needs to teach those Italians the difference between ‘braking’ and ‘breaking’. Advanced English lesson: A homophone isn’t what Liberace used to order a pizza.

  • avatar
    Chan

    A short wheelbase means it’s tricky to tune powerful braking and compliant suspension at the same time.

    One thing I want to know is, what about the Fiat 500X which is structurally identical?

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      I’m curious as to what they want FCA to do about the problem. Weaken the brakes? Everything is a balancing act (pun intended) and the balance on this vehicle is toward allowing aggressive braking. I’m not sure it’s a “problem”.

      Also, is this an issue only on European spec vehicles? Why don’t we Americans get powerful brakes too. :)

    • 0 avatar
      Guitar man

      The ABS is supposed to pulse the brakes to stop the wheel locking like that.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        The front brakes are obviously not locked. They wouldn’t generate enough torque to lift the back end if they were locked.

        The rear brakes might be locked, is that what you meant? The rear bumper shot makes it look like they release after the axle lifts off the ground, but it’s hard to tell.

        • 0 avatar
          SSJeep

          Agreed, the front brakes most assuredly arent locked in that video. If they were locked, the rear wheels would be on the ground and the front would be skidding.

          ABS is performing at its maximum grip, and with very strong front brakes (and sticky tires), this could happen. Just put two bags of sand in the back and be assured the rear wont lift, but braking distances would increase.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “One thing I want to know is, what about the Fiat 500X which is structurally identical?”

      What makes you think it’s ‘structurally identical’? Just because they ride the same platform doesn’t mean they’re identical, structurally.

  • avatar

    Of course it’s a foreign auto outlet that reports this… It was also a foreign outlet that reported the Moose test… Maybe it’s because they actually test vehicles over their instead of just driving from the hotel to the bar and back at the automaker’s expense.

    I remember seeing one European outlet put Crossovers on uneven ramps to test body flex… They couldn’t shut the Nissan Qashqai’s hatch while it was up on the ramps… You would NEVER see that in an American auto rag.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Likely very true. My guess is the braking level required to do this is beyond what people do even in accidents. Didn’t Mercedes a few years ago come out with a system that detects a crash and actually SLAMS the brakes because they determined that people were not using the full potential of the brakes because they weren’t pushing down hard enough? Even with ABS I’ve noticed people seem afraid to really hammer their brakes fearing they will “lock up” or just don’t understand how much force you can push thru that pedal. Its the hardest part of track driving… I’m still trying to teach myself just how well the car will stop IF you put your foot down seriously.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I echo this sentiment. Aside from more thorough testing, the focus on DIY repair and used car reviews (in gritty mechanical detail) is something that’s sorely missing from any US mag IMO (then again they know their audience better than I do). My favorite Russian magazine has a whole DIY section where every month they pick a popular car to service and run the gamut from bulb changes to brakes to timing belts. On the used cars they go over weak spots in the suspension and under the hood, areas prone to rust, cost of replacement parts and sheetmetal.

      Offroad tests get pretty darn extreme, with long expeditions into fairly remote areas, often with a few impromptu repairs involved (when Russian makes are in the mix). They also do a yearly 60 hour endurance test where the long term test cars are run flat out for 60 hours over a test track, with sections of cobblestone to simulate accelerated wear testing.

      60 hour endurance run with a Fiesta, Lada, and Datsun:
      http://www.zr.ru/content/articles/795134-marafon-60-chasov-za-rulem-melkie-nepriyatnosti-i-pervye-itogi/

      Lada “Xray” maintenance test:
      http://www.zr.ru/content/articles/779193-test-remont-lada-xray/

      Expedition up North in a Lada 4×4, Renault Duster, SsangYong Actyon Sports:
      http://www.zr.ru/content/articles/576201-severnyj_probeg_na_rybalku_na_rybachij/

      Picking the right Land Cruiser Prado 90:
      http://www.zr.ru/content/articles/14049-ah_belyj_teplohod/

      • 0 avatar
        Coopdeville

        Марафон «60 часов „За рулем“: мелкие неприятности и первые итоги

        That site’s html script or GUI interface or something must be off, all I got were these weird characters. Probably cuz the programmers were Russian LOLZ amirite?

  • avatar
    FalconRTV

    I’d like to see this braking test performed while travelling down a steep descent.

  • avatar
    Prado

    Tesla has ludicrous mode. Jeep has Ludacris mode!

  • avatar
    Jimal

    I’m going to try this with my mother’s Renegade the next time I drive it when she’s not on board.

  • avatar
    Click REPLY to reload page

    FCA wanted it to look like a Bronco…

  • avatar

    It’s kind of impressive that it can do that. I don’t think my samurai I had could do that lifting one tire in an avoidance sure but lifting the whole rear in a straight line is hard.

    Looking online it seems tests have 60-0 braking at 115-120′ which seems to be best in class and into sporty car territory. I assume they could bias more to the rear under hard braking (software change I’d guess) to keep it down but given the rear unloading I assume it would add a couple feet to a panic stop.

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    Looks like it has good tires.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    I don’t know what this guy said but there is a problem if the rear wheels are off the ground and still spinning at full brake pedal. Like sabotaged, a staged stunt or completely defective.

    The issue here is probably that the inline 4 engine block CG looks to be about 1.5 ft in from the front bumper (possibly in front of the wheel center-line) and the short wheel base.

    Anyway it is clear that the CG is high and forward in this thing. Put some summer slicks on it and you could probably do a front flip.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    What this shows me is that those are some STRONG brakes! As long as the anti-lock prevents it from going over, it should be fine.

    • 0 avatar
      michal1980

      No this shows a bad car design, or a bad part.

      And this isnt fine. Think of what would happen if someone turned the wheel while the rear end was off the ground?

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        re: “what would happen if someone turned the wheel”?

        It really depends on how the stability program handles this situation. It should lower the braking torque on one or both front wheels to stabilize the vehicle.

        I’m not willing to test this, but I’m sure someone at FCA has, just as any other big automaker would.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      “Fine” until panic braking causes a car behind the Jeep to impact the helpfully exposed fuel tank.

  • avatar
    andyinatl

    It seems lately that whenever i see Renegade, there’s inadvertently some trim piece peeling off, particularly around the window, or the beltline trimwork is uneven between the doors, etc. I can’t believe in this day and age Jeep is putting out something built this shoddily (or at least looking like it’s shoddily built). Admittedly, i have no interest in Renegade, but i do like Grand Cherokee. With QC issues like that on Renagade though, that would give me a pause on larger purchase. It is not trivial, because if such little attention is paid to something so visible, imagine the lack of attention to everything else.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Honestly I am impressed. What are the 60-0 distances on this thing? Gotta be under 100 feet if it’s doing stoppies. Are these things available with collision avoidance tech? So many questions.

  • avatar
    HiFlite999

    It clearly needs a big rear wing!

  • avatar
    Click REPLY to reload page

    Front engine/front transmission vehicles have too much weight up front, and not enough at the rear. The original Chrysler K cars were very front-heavy. Did Chrysler forget that lesson?
    The Renegade’s weight is also carried too high. Designing off-road style vehicles requires careful engineering, compensating for road clearance by moving heavier components lower and lighter components higher. The engine needs to go backwards a few inches, and maybe the battery needs to go in the back, instead of behind the headlight (assuming it’s there).

  • avatar
    pragmatist

    I wonder how many vehicles occasionally do something like this but it’s not been documented. With new digital cameras (Sony introduced one capable of 960 fps ) we may find all sorts of anomlies

  • avatar
    cbrworm

    I had a toyota van in the 80’s that would do this. It had no ABS or ESC, I was pretty sure I knew what would happen if I turned the wheel in this state.

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