C&R - How We’d Spec It: The Wrangler-est 2015 Jeep Renegade
A new article from Car and Driver: How We’d Spec It: The Wrangler-est 2015 Jeep Renegade
When the 2015 Renegade hit the scene, Jeep die-hards immediately decried its front-drive bones, the fact that it’s built in Italy, and, well, basically everything about the little crossover that made it not a Wrangler. The Renegade doesn’t have solid axles, massive suspension articulation, or a ladder frame, but it does offer a stiff, well-isolated unibody; fuel-efficient engines; adorable styling; and a high level of capability. (It’s also magnitudes better than the tragic Jeep Compass/Patriot siblings.) And now that the little Renegade’s online configurator is up and running, we can show you how we’d build one out.
Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4×4 (base price: $26,990)
Of course, just as we’re dogging those Jeep maniacs for assailing the little Renegade, we go and pick the most Wrangler-like version for our build, the $26,990 Trailhawk. The only Trail Rated member of the Renegade family, the Trailhawk sports bright-red tow hooks, knobby all-terrain tires, a raised ride height, slimmer front and rear bumpers, and a standard four-wheel-drive system with low-range gearing. But we didn’t choose it because we dislike other Renegades—the bare-bones Sport model is actually quite fun, especially with its standard 1.4-liter turbo four and six-speed manual—we chose the Trailhawk because it looks about as bad-ass as a car-based, B-segment SUV can look.
The Renegade Trailhawk also happens to come standard with a Wrangler’s worth of standard equipment, as befits its position near the top of the Renegade hierarchy. For starters, the 2.4-liter “Tigershark” four-cylinder engine and nine-speed-automatic combo that’s optional on the base Renegade Sport and midlevel Latitude is included; we’d love to mix the 180-hp Tigershark with the lower-spec Renegades’ standard stick shift, but we’ve found the automatic to be smooth and unobtrusive in operation. Also included are dark-finished 17-inch wheels, fog lights, a backup camera, heated door mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and Chrysler’s excellent Uconnect touch screen with six audio speakers. The Trailhawk also gets a full complement of underbody skidplates, as well as a black-painted roof.
Anvil paint ($0)
Trailer Tow Group ($395)
Passive Entry / Keyless Go ($295)
Remote engine starting ($200)
Cold Weather Group ($495)
Hood Decal ($150)
Even though the Renegade Trailhawk is pretty much good to go the way it sits, we thought of a few enhancements and went to work on Jeep’s order sheet. Because all of the Renegade’s 10 available colors are free, and we like free stuff, let’s begin our option crusade with our chosen paint color: Anvil. The dark gray-ish-blue hue is aptly named, and it also looks fantastic over the Trailhawk’s black-plastic body cladding. To complement the black-painted roof and because decals are just the best, we dropped $150 on a matte-black hood sticker that covers the cute “power dome” on the Renegade’s hood. The $395 Trailer Tow Group is a steal and brings a hitch and 4- and 7-pin wiring—the better to take full advantage of the Trailhawk’s 2000-pound tow rating.
Finally, our existence in Michigan is gray, brutal, and cold for roughly half the year. It gets slightly less so when our rides have heated seats, so we opted for the Renegade’s $495 Cold Weather group. In addition to heated front seats, the package also brings a heated steering wheel and windshield wiper de-icers. Jeep requires that the Cold Weather group come bundled with the $200 remote-engine-starting feature (also handy in Michigan-beria) and the $295 proximity key with push-button ignition. We skipped the Renegade’s marquee option, the removable MySky roof panels, largely because we wanted to keep our Trailhawk’s MSRP semi-reasonable. If open-air motoring is your thing, Jeep will sell you two versions of MySky, one with a power-opening front section ($1395), and another that’s fully manual ($1095).
Our perfect Renegade slides in just under $30,000 ($29,770, to be exact), which is deep into Wrangler and even Cherokee territory. Still, it’s less expensive than the Cherokee Trailhawk—yep, the Trailhawk is our favorite version of that Jeep, too—and far better-equipped than any four-door Wrangler Unlimited you could buy for less than thirty grand. Isn’t it just the cutest? Sorry, Jeep dudes, we couldn’t help ourselves.