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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
At the San Francisco International Auto Show I checked and compared several vehicles I consider candidates:

Jeep Renegade (Latitude to play with, Trailhawk only on display)
Mazda CX-5
Mazda CX-3
MB GLA
Subaru Forester
Subaru Crosstrek
Nissan Juke

Nissan Juke: too tight and cramped. Trouble getting in and out with right leg stuck under steering wheel column. No space for left arm. Made me claustrophobic. No-go!

Subaru Crosstrek: A bit hard to get in and out due to steering wheel column in the way, The dash resembles and 1980's plastic boom box. No thanks!

Subaru Forrester: Pretty much like Crosstrek, but roomier. Naw…

MB GLA: Easy in easy and out due to huge doors. Hands-down the best interior, very comfortable, but windshield very low. Like exterior. Definitely in the running.

Mazda CX-3: could get in and out okay. Hate the minimalist gauge with wings. Ack. Very small interior, cargo space pretty much non-existant. Looks nice on the outside, but just too small with hideous gauges. No-go!

Mazda CX-5: Easy in, easy out. Comfortable, roomy, decent gauges, interior okay but nowhere near GLA. In the running.

Jeep Renegade: Easy in, easy out. Nice interior. Not worse than Mazda, I think. I like the designs. Dash and gauges okay. Rear seat room okay for small adults - not important because I am the driver! Cargo room okay. Exterior nice and good fit and finish. The paint job on the Omaha Orange one I inspected was flawless. A;; in all the Renegade left the best impression. Of course, I'll have to drive one to see if I really like it.

One niggle: The dead pedal tapers and doesn't let me rest my whole shoe on it.

If I decide to get a Renny, I will need to find a bull bar and extra high beams. Not all the slats in the grille are all the way perforated, and thus external lights would not impede airflow to the radiator. Would also want a roof basket.

So yeah, I can see myself driving this thing happily for a long time. I feel comfortable inside.

Question about the 9-speed: How responsive is the electronic throttle? I am used to cable-operated throttle which has an immediate response. How are the shift delays when you shift manually?
 

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. . . Question about the 9-speed: How responsive is the electronic throttle? I am used to cable-operated throttle which has an immediate response. How are the shift delays when you shift manually?
The 9-speed reacts well and I have no issues with the electronic throttle. Some on here have reported downshifting delays while passing, but I haven't noticed that.

Manual shifting delays are minimal and the next gear bumps in quickly. Not Dodge Challenger 8-speed quickly, but quick enough for a little four cylinder engine.
 
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The throttle response has more to do with programming than it being cable or electronic.

Before the Renegade I had a Saturn L series V6 with a four speed auto. Compared to the Saturn, the Renegade 9 speed takes forever and a day to downshift. Manual shifts must first be approved by the PCM committee and only after the command is approved and all forms have been signed in triplicate and filed will the transmission respond.

Throttle response is good though.

Miss the Saturn. More room, better handling, much faster.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
A couple people here have mentioned hesitation especially when needing to speed up quickly, for example when merging onto a freeway. Someone mentioned it can take 3 seconds for power to come on. Some said it got better over time as the ECU learned the driver's habits.
 

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If your transmission has "learned" lazy shifts (a fuel economy thing), then when you want to pull onto a freeway or pass a car quickly, just bump the shifter over to manual and push forward once or twice (or more if necessary). You will then have all the power that the 2.4L engine can deliver.

Just practice from time to time downshifting and when you really need to do it, it will become second nature. Those of us that drive manual transmission cars need to do the same thing when we want to pass quickly. The downshift is second nature and nearly happens without any thinking.

In my Challenger, if I am in sixth gear and need to pass someone quickly, I'll downshift to 4th or even 3rd if I'm going slowly enough. Then I'll shift up through the gears as I speed up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, I really am an MT guy. I kinda swore to never get an auto unless I become handicapped or feeble, but many of the latest MTs suck, too. All in the name of saving a drop of gas here and there. The MT is available with the 1.4 T engine, but I don't want a tiny turbo, especially not one with a timing belt.

So you are saying that in Manual Mode the downshift occurs reliably and repeatably fast? If so, I have no problem with that solution.
 

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I am a manual transmission guy too. I selected the Trailhawk because I like its looks and I didn't want the 1.4T engine either (my motorcycle has a bigger engine!). If the Trailhawk came with the 2.4 and the manual transmission, I would have purchased one instead. I do have my Challenger to drive with its 6-speed manual.

The manual mode shifting in the Renegade is quite adequate. It's not lighting fast, but fast enough. You can manually shift the gears as long as you are in the engine power band allowed. Shifts are not allowed if the RPM will go too low.

One characteristic of the 9-speed in my car is the shift from 5th to 4th gear causes a slightly over-enthusiastic rev match that gives the feeling that the car wants to accelerate for a split second. Others have noticed this too although programming may have mitigated this somewhat in more recent cars. The 8th to 7th shift also exhibits this rev match behaviour to a lesser degree. This never bothered me and I am satisfied with the way the gearbox and computer(s) work.

I don't really use the manual mode unless I'm driving on roads I know the transmission will "select" a gear I'm not happy with. Like climbing the 1 mile, 9% grade to work every morning. The transmission likes to hold 4th or even 3rd for way too long. I just bump it over to manual and flick it into 5th and continue on. I suppose the computer is attempting to keep the engine in a good power band so If I need acceleration, it's there (I never need acceleration on this hill after I get to the 40 mph speed limit).

It will also downshift while going down this same hill when I don't want it to. When it does that, you can't go to a higher gear until you step on the gas (not needed going down a steep hill). So I use manual mode to select 4th or 5th gear and coast down the hill happy and comfortable. The computer is likely trying to "save brake pad life" by using engine compression. No thanks, I like to let it coast at 40 mph rather than have engine braking slow me to 30.

Sorry for the "book." I just wanted to let you know my thoughts. For a manual transmission guy, this automatic works well enough for me.
 
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