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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
It's coming up on one year with my Renegade (trailhawk) and thought I'd give a little sum up review. I probably bought one of the first ones to arrive in the US and I clearly knew more about it than the dealer. I have 13k miles on it and do a mix of city, highway and offroad. I live in LA but don't actually do a ton of driving, I work from home and just mostly just drive a few miles day. Most of these miles are from roadtrips and weekend adventuring.

LIKES
  • Overall exterior design. Still like it and looks cool to me.
  • Overall interior design with a few total miscues (see below). It looks cool and is pretty comfortable. It's held up well. I do think the trailhawk should include rubber mats for the price (i bought my own).
  • Interior functionality. Holds all my crap which includes musical gear and outdoors stuff (snowboards, camping crap, whatever).
  • Rides nice and is comfortable in all circumstances
  • Driving functionality. It does exactly what I thought it would. It gets me around town but then can let us do some light offroading to get to hikes, campsites, etc. I've taken it to some OHV areas a few times and have had fun with that too although I've gotten a little nervous about abusing it since it's our only car.
  • Mileage. It gets decent enough mileage for its size. I average around 25mpg.

DISLIKES
  • The transmission. I really disliked it at 100 miles and I don't like it much more now. It's fine around town I guess, but it makes some very strange decisions especially on hills. If you live in California you know there are epic mountain passes to climb and descend and the Renegade just doesn't seem to know how to handle it. It can be a little unpredictable. Sometimes at highway speeds it's oddly difficult to get this thing to go over ~65 and stay there. It's kind of annoying. It's the thing I like least about the car.
  • Head unit. A total mixed bag. Slow, has lots of trouble connecting with an iPhone 6s, inconsistently can't find devices, slow to boot up sometimes. When turning on sometimes the volume control isn't responsive. I really dislike it. I have the one with the bigger screen, btw.
  • Interior storage issues. The storage in the doors is a complete joke and a total waste of space. The rear cup holder situation is also pretty bad. Seems like rookie mistakes to me.
  • Position of the emergency 911 button. Way too prominent. There have been a number of times that me or a passenger have pushed this accidentally.
  • A nagging sense that thing isn't reliable.
  • Dealer experience. I know this isn't exactly Renegade related, but I haven't had a great dealer experience. Just last week they forgot to put the oil cap back on after a change.

Overall I like the car. Some people might remember that the car on me 300 miles and left me stranded. The transmission line had basically disconnected and fell off. It's been fine since then but there has been some random weirdness. For a few days it felt like it was about stall, the transmission occasionally clunks very loudly, once in a while it doesn't start with the first press of the button. A few other things like that that I can't recall. While I drive this thing out to the middle of the desert here, I often have a bit of a worry about if I'm going to get back out. Seems irrational since it's been fine since 300 miles, but still, I just can't shake that feeling.

But I do like and enjoy the car and I think the concept is validated. It's awesome for the offroad driving we need it to do, the extra clearance with the Trailhawk version is welcome. It fords streams, goes through sand, all kinds of stuff. I love it in those moments. I've had crazy fun (and some scary moments) at OHV areas where I put it through its paces. It has more capability than I do skill. It's comfortable to drive yet is easy to parallel park and is small enough for the city (I strongly dislike large SUVs). Jeep has somehow made a car that works in all landscapes.

I guess the big question is would I buy it again? Yes and no. If I could do this over again I would have leased instead of bought, then traded it in for a 2017 or whenever hoping that any kinks would be worked out. That would have been the smart thing. But I do like it and enjoy the car and encourage anyone who is considering it to go check it out.

And lastly, a shot from a trip to the Valley of Fire state park in Nevada (on the way back from Zion National Park in Utah).
 

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Pretty cool review. Thanks for posting it.

TS
 
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Great honest review. You managed to sum up pretty much my feel for the Renegade, how the concept is virtually spot on but they've left some areas as work in progress in case the design department needs something to do in the future. Also, in a way the Renegade mechanics and tech feel as though they could have done with more development time. Mine feels rock solid bodily, as though the time was spent to make sure that the shell justifed the Jeep badge, but one or two transmission and technology gremlins have raised their heads over the past five months then disappeared and that gives me a slight longer term nervousness. That said, every time I drive it it puts a smile on my face and I love it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Great honest review. You managed to sum up pretty much my feel for the Renegade, how the concept is virtually spot on but they've left some areas as work in progress in case the design department needs something to do in the future. Also, in a way the Renegade mechanics and tech feel as though they could have done with more development time. Mine feels rock solid bodily, as though the time was spent to make sure that the shell justifed the Jeep badge, but one or two transmission and technology gremlins have raised their heads over the past five months then disappeared and that gives me a slight longer term nervousness. That said, every time I drive it it puts a smile on my face and I love it.
Yep, there are enough oddities and one-off happenings that always leave me a little leery. I did forget to mention that I too had the Service 4WD warning too. But like you said, every time I drive it I still like it, despite the issues. I think I could also feel better if I felt like the dealer was at all any good. I'm probably going to try another dealer, which is a shame since this one is so close. Somehow the dealer experience drags down my thoughts on the car.
 

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Nice review. I have a couple (hopefully helpful) suggestions. Maybe you've already done or had done. And I say these things with the best intentions, and hopefully don't offend you or anyone...

Radio - Have you updated the software? I noticed a difference in connection speed when I upgraded from 7. something to the 10. something. granted I have the 5.0 system, and it sounds like you have the 6.5 system. But still, there's probably an update available for your ride. I did mine myself through a link I found on this forum. Or you can have the dealer do it for you.
lease/buy - You might be able to trade in your current Renegade, get out of the payment hopefully without paying anything, and get into a lease. My dealership was very helpful with getting me a great deal. It seems if they want to make a sale, they will help you in any way they can. That way you could get at least a 2016.
Transmission - learn to drive a stick, learn to love to drive a stick, and ditch the 9 speed auto trans. I hate to say this, but the auto trans is plagued with issues. Granted, I'm hearing second hand, but I know a guy who used to work at Chrysler who was pretty high up (now is at GM) and another that does testing/troubleshooting for Chrysler at a third party company (not going to mention the company).. Both have told me the auto trans is something to avoid to put it nicely.

I hope you get some of those issues ironed out! My 1.4t manual 4x4 Latitude has been awesome so far!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Nice review. I have a couple (hopefully helpful) suggestions. Maybe you've already done or had done. And I say these things with the best intentions, and hopefully don't offend you or anyone...

Radio - Have you updated the software? I noticed a difference in connection speed when I upgraded from 7. something to the 10. something. granted I have the 5.0 system, and it sounds like you have the 6.5 system. But still, there's probably an update available for your ride. I did mine myself through a link I found on this forum. Or you can have the dealer do it for you.
lease/buy - You might be able to trade in your current Renegade, get out of the payment hopefully without paying anything, and get into a lease. My dealership was very helpful with getting me a great deal. It seems if they want to make a sale, they will help you in any way they can. That way you could get at least a 2016.
Transmission - learn to drive a stick, learn to love to drive a stick, and ditch the 9 speed auto trans. I hate to say this, but the auto trans is plagued with issues. Granted, I'm hearing second hand, but I know a guy who used to work at Chrysler who was pretty high up (now is at GM) and another that does testing/troubleshooting for Chrysler at a third party company (not going to mention the company).. Both have told me the auto trans is something to avoid to put it nicely.

I hope you get some of those issues ironed out! My 1.4t manual 4x4 Latitude has been awesome so far!
All good ideas, thanks. I can drive stick, but my wife cannot (and doesn't want to learn). I'll have to see updating the head unit. I do have the 6.5.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Nice review. I hope I don't have to deal with any of these issues.

I miss California. I want to go visit and go into joshua tree and even go hiking up in san gorgonio again.
Yeah, it's an amazing place to live in terms of nature, especially when you're from the east coast. We were out in Anza-Borrego yesterday, and the jeep works great on some of those desert sandy roads. I actually had to stop and push a honda civic out of the sand at one point.
 
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