is the Renegade Trailhawk a good replacement for my 2007 Liberty KJ? - Jeep Renegade Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-05-2017, 03:54 AM Thread Starter
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is the Renegade Trailhawk a good replacement for my 2007 Liberty KJ?

Hi,


This is my first post.

Short version
I had a 2007 Liberty KJ and now it's gone. I need to get another vehicle for off-road and it seems to come down to a new Renegade Trailhawk or a high-mileage 12+ year-old Liberty KJ/KK. I like the Renegade, but will I be disappointed?

Long version
I had a 2007 Jeep Liberty KJ with a 2" lift on it. It was great. Then I crashed it and now I need a replacement, primarily for off-road.

Most of my driving is in Yuma, Arizona and Utah. Nothing wet, no mud or slippery tree roots. Just desert gravel, rocks and some sandstone. On some rough gravel roads, with high centres, my stock Liberty was scraping gravel and hitting some rocks. I put a 2" lift on it, and I never heard another sound.
Now I find myself in shopping mode. I go on outings several times/week with 3-4 people and a lot of the roads are washboard with rough rocky areas. Nothing really serious, but it needs good clearance. Most of the time, we're not specifically going out to drive off-road - we're just driving to trailheads for hiking. If the road is "fun" along the way, that's just a bonus. There is also one narrow slot canyon (The Squeeze) that I love to go through and I'd hate to get a new vehicle and subsequently find out I couldn't make it. On my Liberty, I had about 1 cm clearance on either side.

I have considered the following:


(a) Wrangler 2-door
This has reasonable space for 4 people, but it's a pain to get in and out of the back seat.


(b) Wrangler 4-door
This is just too big for small roads and narrow canyons. Parking at my house for a large-ish 2nd vehicle is limited too.


(c) another Liberty KJ (2002-2007), or KK (2008-2012)
I would prefer a newer vehicle (for reliability) like the KK, but I don't think it will fit through The Squeeze - its a bit longer and wider than my old KJ. I asked about the KJ vs KK in a Liberty forum, and several people are of the opinion that the 2002-2005 Liberty is considered the best. But that means I'd be buying a 12-17 year old vehicle with 130k+ miles.


(d) Renegade Trailhawk
So that brings me to the Renegade Trailhawk. It has 4 doors and it's small enough to go through The Squeeze. It's newer so hopefully I wouldn't be spending a lot of money fixing broken things. On paper, the engine/transmission/suspension all sounds great. I've watched all kinds of test drive videos and technically it seems to have good off-road capability.

Questions:

1. is the Renegade tough enough?
How long will it last? Is it built like a tank or is it prone to damage? My Liberty was heavy - lots of iron in it. I always thought that it was tough enough to take all of that washboard, crawling over rocks, rocks in the road, etc. Can the Trailhawk do as well? Am I going to bend/fracture things that shouldn't bend/fracture? A fancy 4WD transmission that does cool tricks isn't going to help much if the chassis isn't strong enough to last.

2. ground clearance
My stock Liberty had 9.4" clearance and P235/65R17 tires (tire diameter=0.65*235*2/25.4 + 17 = 29.03") I put a 2" lift on it and larger tires - P245/70R17 (30.5" diameter?). So that gave me about another 0.7", making the clearance 10.1". It made all the difference in the world - much quieter, since I wasn't dragging on the gravel or hitting rocks (I also had full skid plates on it).


The Renegade Trailhawk has 8.7" clearance with P215/65R17 (diameter=28"?) and that doesn't sound very good compared to my old Liberty. But it's a smaller vehicle, so maybe that makes it ok? It doesn't sound like there are many lift options for the Renegade (have only done preliminary reading on this) so perhaps I can get another inch making it 9.7? If so, that's pretty close to my lifted Liberty.

Summary
So I'm stuck. I really like the Renegade Trailhawk, but I just don't know if it will have the same capability and durability as my Liberty. On the other hand, if I got another Liberty, it would be high-mileage and 12+ years old.

Last edited by jagyuma; 11-05-2017 at 04:03 AM.
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-05-2017, 09:01 AM
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There are some here who would say the Renegade TH is extremely competent off road and there are some say it's rubbish. And a lot say it's in the middle. There are a few other threads around the forum discussing this, some closed due to the high emotions
However, you've got some clear specs in mind, so hopefully you'll get some useful answers.

My answer to some of what you've said is that the Renegade is basically a comfortable road car (it's the same platform as the Fiat 500X with a different cabin) with respectable ability off the pavement. It's not a hard-core ATV. As such it won't be especially rugged - it's a normal car bodyshell construction, no massive chassis. And like most new cars it's got a lot of clever electronics, so I wouldn't bank on it being more reliable than a reasonably maintained 12 year old. (Bear in mind it is a fairly new model (2015) and a lot of the faults you'll find being reported here will be with early versions. A new one (2018) should be a lot better, but it's still a complex car.)

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Last edited by mikeindp; 11-05-2017 at 09:06 AM.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-05-2017, 10:35 AM
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Sorry Durability and renegade aren't in the same sentence. If your into serious off roading don't look at a renegade, better options. If your not and more about comfort and soft nice features, get the renegade.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-05-2017, 10:46 AM
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[QUOTE=Doublemind;811962]Sorry Durability and renegade aren't in the same sentence. If your into serious off roading don't look at a renegade, better options. If your not and more about comfort and soft nice features, get the renegade.[/QUOTE


Seriously can?t you find another forum to troll?? You are beginning to become very annoying to say the least. Leave this forum sell your Jeep Renegade if you still have it. You are becoming repetitive like your
Buddy Trump. Have a great day
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-05-2017, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jagyuma View Post
Hi,


This is my first post.

Short version
I had a 2007 Liberty KJ and now it's gone. I need to get another vehicle for off-road and it seems to come down to a new Renegade Trailhawk or a high-mileage 12+ year-old Liberty KJ/KK. I like the Renegade, but will I be disappointed?

Long version
I had a 2007 Jeep Liberty KJ with a 2" lift on it. It was great. Then I crashed it and now I need a replacement, primarily for off-road.

Most of my driving is in Yuma, Arizona and Utah. Nothing wet, no mud or slippery tree roots. Just desert gravel, rocks and some sandstone. On some rough gravel roads, with high centres, my stock Liberty was scraping gravel and hitting some rocks. I put a 2" lift on it, and I never heard another sound.
Now I find myself in shopping mode. I go on outings several times/week with 3-4 people and a lot of the roads are washboard with rough rocky areas. Nothing really serious, but it needs good clearance. Most of the time, we're not specifically going out to drive off-road - we're just driving to trailheads for hiking. If the road is "fun" along the way, that's just a bonus. There is also one narrow slot canyon (The Squeeze) that I love to go through and I'd hate to get a new vehicle and subsequently find out I couldn't make it. On my Liberty, I had about 1 cm clearance on either side.

I have considered the following:


(a) Wrangler 2-door
This has reasonable space for 4 people, but it's a pain to get in and out of the back seat.


(b) Wrangler 4-door
This is just too big for small roads and narrow canyons. Parking at my house for a large-ish 2nd vehicle is limited too.


(c) another Liberty KJ (2002-2007), or KK (2008-2012)
I would prefer a newer vehicle (for reliability) like the KK, but I don't think it will fit through The Squeeze - its a bit longer and wider than my old KJ. I asked about the KJ vs KK in a Liberty forum, and several people are of the opinion that the 2002-2005 Liberty is considered the best. But that means I'd be buying a 12-17 year old vehicle with 130k+ miles.


(d) Renegade Trailhawk
So that brings me to the Renegade Trailhawk. It has 4 doors and it's small enough to go through The Squeeze. It's newer so hopefully I wouldn't be spending a lot of money fixing broken things. On paper, the engine/transmission/suspension all sounds great. I've watched all kinds of test drive videos and technically it seems to have good off-road capability.

Questions:

1. is the Renegade tough enough?
How long will it last? Is it built like a tank or is it prone to damage? My Liberty was heavy - lots of iron in it. I always thought that it was tough enough to take all of that washboard, crawling over rocks, rocks in the road, etc. Can the Trailhawk do as well? Am I going to bend/fracture things that shouldn't bend/fracture? A fancy 4WD transmission that does cool tricks isn't going to help much if the chassis isn't strong enough to last.

2. ground clearance
My stock Liberty had 9.4" clearance and P235/65R17 tires (tire diameter=0.65*235*2/25.4 + 17 = 29.03") I put a 2" lift on it and larger tires - P245/70R17 (30.5" diameter?). So that gave me about another 0.7", making the clearance 10.1". It made all the difference in the world - much quieter, since I wasn't dragging on the gravel or hitting rocks (I also had full skid plates on it).


The Renegade Trailhawk has 8.7" clearance with P215/65R17 (diameter=28"?) and that doesn't sound very good compared to my old Liberty. But it's a smaller vehicle, so maybe that makes it ok? It doesn't sound like there are many lift options for the Renegade (have only done preliminary reading on this) so perhaps I can get another inch making it 9.7? If so, that's pretty close to my lifted Liberty.

Summary
So I'm stuck. I really like the Renegade Trailhawk, but I just don't know if it will have the same capability and durability as my Liberty. On the other hand, if I got another Liberty, it would be high-mileage and 12+ years old.

I love the Renegade! Huge exception though... I've had my 2015 Trailhawk for only a year, and in that year it presented with minor 4WD service light flashing here and there and now has progressed where I'll be driving it down the freeway and it will out of the blue flash every service light it has while instantly loosing power. This happened while a semi-truck was behind me and it almost took me out. This has happened 3 times now and is still showing signs of it not being resolved. The dealer resets the computer and sends me on my way each time. Now the lights are flickering even more and if you turn the wheel to the left it will turn the running light off and on. Once your Jeep presents with this progression of becoming more problematic, jeep will give you support at first and then slowly will retract till they say ... there is nothing we can do for you. It is truly an nightmare!!!! Since then I've been looking everywhere in trying to find a resolution and in doing so I've been reading more and more issues with this vehicle and in particular it seems the year of 2015, although I've seen a few with 2017, where others are having the same issues and other issues in which I haven't experienced (at least not yet). I would be VERY careful if not just consider something else. Happy hunting.

Last edited by ebrookshaw; 11-05-2017 at 11:54 AM.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-06-2017, 02:25 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the comments. Like most people, I have owned several vehicles. I treat them like I do computer systems - I appreciate their strengths and I tolerate their weaknesses. I try not to get emotional about things like that. I don't really care whether the Renegade is considered a 'real' or 'faux' Jeep. I'm looking for the right tool for the job.


Yes, if I was buying something for serious off-roading, I would get a Wrangler or similar. I'm looking for a nice vehicle that can get me to the trailhead over moderately rough roads. It's not the boulders or ledges that concern me, since that only comes up occasionally - it's the scraping of the gravel and loose rocks on the underside that would make a difference. It was annoying on my stock Liberty and I was relieved when I put in the 2" lift and slightly bigger tires and all of that noise went away.


What about engines? My 2007 Liberty had a 3.7L V6 (210 HP, 235 lb-ft). The Trailhawk is a 2.4 L I4 (180 HP, 175 lb-ft). That's quite a step down in terms of engine size, power and torque. Perhaps the different chassis and lighter weight makes up for most of that difference?


I'm assuming the Fiat 500X chassis was never designed for off-road. If Jeep didn't modify it to make it stronger, perhaps it's just not rugged enough to take a beating on rough washboard.


Sorry to hear about the problems in that 2015. That echoes the other comment about the Renegade's modern complexity and its effect on reliability.

I was extremely impressed with this YouTube video: "FIRST TIME : Lifted Jeep Renegade Trailhawk & Stock JK Wrangler Rubicon on the Rocks" by Wayalife (sorry, I can't post links yet). I only do rocks like that on occasion. Most of the time it's washboard and rough gravel. Referring to the ideo, typical driving would be as shown in 2:20 - 03:00, with some sections like 03:00 - 03:30. I don't do 04:40 - 05:30 very often. Perhaps the Renegade is just fine for that?

I was a bit alarmed at the rocker impact at 4:48, 6:20 & 9:20. Sliders would be a good idea.

I do realize that video shows a nicely-modified Renegade TH - wheel spacer, 1.5" lift and aggressive tires. And he disconnected the sway bar, which probably made a big difference. As long as that setup is Jeep-approved and doesn't mess with the warranty or have downsides (handling? increased/uneven wear/stresses on components?), I would go with that kit right out of the box.


Finally, does the Renegade sit significantly lower with 4 normal-sized adults on board? If 4 people are going to drastically increase the probability of bottoming out, that may be a problem.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-06-2017, 04:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jagyuma View Post
I'm assuming the Fiat 500X chassis was never designed for off-road. If Jeep didn't modify it to make it stronger, perhaps it's just not rugged enough to take a beating on rough washboard.
It's not quite like that. Take 5 mins to look at this Wikipedia article.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car_platform?wprov=sfla1
Although the Renegade probably shares a lot of the lower part of the bodyshell, along with engines, suspension, etc, it is still a different body shape. It's certainly taller and may well be 'more rugged' than the 500X. Bear in mind that the 500X also comes in 4x4 option, though possibly not to TH standard, so the platform may have included some off-road design points.

The matter of taking a beating from your use falls into two categories. First is a yes/no ... Does it have the ground clearance, etc, (with some mods) to physically fit down your routes? The other aspects really are a question of how long parts will last, like shock absorbers. That's hard to say until the model has racked up years of experience, which with only 2 years in production so far is a little way off.

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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-06-2017, 02:02 PM
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https://www.jeeprenegadeforum.com/for...-off-road.html

2nd post, I’ve got a couple links. Both Renegade friends of mine, that have done ample off-roading with stock - modified THs. I’m the Anvil in the videos, and ‘Snoopy’ is lifted. ‘Chimichanga’ and my ‘Sharkbait’ weren’t lifted in these videos ... we should have some new drone/handheld vids from our trip out at Hidden Falls from 10/28 on those pages soon as well.

My 5th trip out there (10/28) in my 2 years of owning, I was finally able to see what I was able to do lifted. Rockrails and tires were my 1st mods, then @Sgt_Strife ’s skid. 4 trips at stock height (1with only wranglers) and I can attest this little Jeep will do almost anything you throw at it. Lifted, I was obviously trying harder lines, and it never gave out. A couple of the steeper climbs, you’ll feel the 2.4 strain, but the Jeep keeps going.

Just like anything, a good driver, and tires are the obvious 1st step, but having skids everywhere doesn’t hurt 😉
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-07-2017, 01:30 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mikeindp View Post
It's not quite like that. Take 5 mins to look at this Wikipedia article.


(I had to remove the link to quote this post - jagyuma)


Although the Renegade probably shares a lot of the lower part of the bodyshell, along with engines, suspension, etc, it is still a different body shape. It's certainly taller and may well be 'more rugged' than the 500X. Bear in mind that the 500X also comes in 4x4 option, though possibly not to TH standard, so the platform may have included some off-road design points.

The matter of taking a beating from your use falls into two categories. First is a yes/no ... Does it have the ground clearance, etc, (with some mods) to physically fit down your routes? The other aspects really are a question of how long parts will last, like shock absorbers. That's hard to say until the model has racked up years of experience, which with only 2 years in production so far is a little way off.
Ok, that was an interesting read about platforms. I followed some links and ended up at the BU platform "GM Fiat small platform" description. I still can't post links so go to Wikipedia and search for "GM_Fiat_Small_platform".


Yes it's hard to predict if it can take a beating or not. Not until enough people have driven it hard for another couple of years. If most people don't drive it hard, you'll never know how it holds up in the rough stuff.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-07-2017, 04:19 AM
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Originally Posted by jagyuma View Post
Ok, that was an interesting read about platforms. I followed some links and ended up at the BU platform "GM Fiat small platform" description. I still can't post links so go to Wikipedia and search for "GM_Fiat_Small_platform".
Linky: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GM_Fia...rm?wprov=sfla1

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