Yes, that's correct. An AWD CAN have an advantage (in limited situations) to 4x4 off road. However, that's against an open differential 4x4 system (which no serious off roader uses). Most serious off roader add at least one locking (or limited slip) differential.
Basically.. in stock trim, sure an AWD COULD have an edge (that's if the AWD system doesn't get over protective and clamp down on the brakes to save itself, since they are designed for light torque loads) over a bone stock base 4x4 system, but that buy a 4x4 for off road purposes usually also opt to add a limited slip or (better) lockers.
There is zero argument that an AWD excels (over a 4x4) ON road. On road (hard under surface), an AWD reigns supreme as moving power is advantageous for that (4x4's have a tendency to swap ends in snow, unless they have TC/ESC).
For the most part, though.. AWD suffers (off road) in that it doesn't keep the "slow and steady" mantra (it waits for slip, THEN has to figure things out), it uses the brakes to move power (this robs power, will entirely halt movement, and compounds the situation as now you have to power your way out of a self dug hole and the wheels that could possibly do it are now being "braked"), and the #1
issue.. the parts are not designed to handle high torque situations (thus the systems are over protective and will "brake" on all 4 corners to protect it's parts WAY to quickly/easily, thus you sit there).
Jeep is TRYING real hard to bridge that gap between AWD and part time 4x4... but this isn't it (they are opposing methods that I can't see EVER being combined).
What we'd all really like is a hard core (parts that can handle off road situations) 4x4 system that WE can control (rather than a fully automated AWD, or a simply locked 4x4 system). Jeep IS getting closer... there is a new "full time/part time" 4x4 system available on the Wrangler Sahara THIS year (merger of both systems). We'll see how that plays out. If it does well, maybe it will trickle down to other vehicles in their line up? One can hope!
I think that version of the wrangler is probably a similar system to the renegade, cherokee, grand cherokee, ect probably just a better gear to crawl in.
I think you kinda put the nails in the coffin for me, if a renegade performs just as well or has a slight edge over a bone stock wrangler, in almost everything besides massive rock crawling, that is a truly remarkable achievement.
Better on road, better fuel economy, slight edge non rock crawling off road, and much cheaper. You have to understand the market for serious off roaders is probably like literally 1%, even the lifted wranglers just go to the malls.
Even moderate off roaders don't get crazy with locking diffs unless they bought it like that from the factory say a rubicon, even then it's overkill for most.
If I can get the same performance as my bone stock lifted TJ with open diffs due to the smart electronics I'm a very very happy camper. It's also a matter of time before computers keep improving even more, where they can probably start outperforming mechanical locking diffs.
I took the Renegade the first time down a trail I did with my TJ, nothing crazy since it's not lifted yet, or has proper tires and I was surprised how well it performed, literally on Continental snow tires filled to 40 PSI!
I can eventually see the Wrangler being modernized where their current Selec-Trac systems become the norm, heck I mean they are starting to push it now, and than like a $50K Rubicon version will have solid axels, goodies ect, for "HARDCORE" people.
Technically the truly crazy hardcore off roaders, usually have insane Independent suspension systems. Anyway loving the Renegade so far and I think Jeep is nailing it on the head with these new systems, probably catching up to Land Rover if it hasn't already.