is the Renegade Trailhawk a good replacement for my 2007 Liberty KJ?
This is my first post.
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?
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.
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.
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.