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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I had rental FIAT 500s for a few work trips, test drove a few Darts when they came out, and am coming off a 2-year stint with a 2012 FIAT 500 Abarth that was bought used at one year old with 9,000 miles. As Jeremy Clarkson says "it makes you feel Happy." It really does. But terrible New England road especially here in SouthCoast, MA and in Rhode Island made for a jarring harsh ride for the Abarth's track-ready suspension, which is tuned really well. The Abarth is a pretty unique car. It is complete night and day when compared with the base 500, and there are quite a few differences that make the 1.4-L Turbo different than the versions in the Renegade, Dart and 500L/500X.

I was considering getting an AWD vehicle to replace it. But one of my must haves is a manual transmission. I disdain automatics and especially CVTs. Not many options to start and the cars with a manual are either not AWD or are the bottom tier car with low options to be had. I like turbos because they are good with hills and would be really nice to be able to get a sub $35,000 vehicle with AWD/4WD with a turbo diesel and a stick. The Mini Cooper Countryman S has a turbo gasoline engine with all wheel drive and a 6-speed manual but options make that car really expensive. When I first saw that Jeep was going to have the Renegade pretty much made by FIAT with the detuned Abarth engine, 4WD and a manual I had to drive it. On 9/04 the dealer near my had no manual transmission cars so I test drove a Renegade Latitude with the 9-spd automatic. The road off the dealer's street is under construction with the surface ripped up and scored with horrible patched areas and non-flushed manholes. The Renegade just cruised through it. Did a quick stint on the highway then came back to a main road that has a spurt where the right lane has to be avoided in the Abarth. The Jeep glided over that area with ease. Lots of little amenities and was very comfortable. I liked it allot.

So told the dealer to find me a Latitude 4x4 1.4L-turbo 6-speed manual with the UConnect package in Commando color and they went to work to find one. Took a bit as only 3 were found. One was found in lower NH but it had hail damage. There was one in Eastern NY but the dealer would not call back. But one was found in East Hartford so they secured that one for me. I drove it home on 09/14. So far so good.

I am having the front hood deflector in stalled this coming Saturday and I have Dawn Enterprises color-matching paint body side moldings ordered and on the way (no door dings are welcome and a neighbor all ready hit a good because she parked wrong. No damage but left a black mark that I can wipe off).

I do have a quick question. I see that there are stickers and labels still on the car. There are some in the trunk area and the engine bay has labels on some the hoses and other parts. Are these suppose to be there? I would have thought they would have to be removed.

I have been reluctant with American cars in the past because they simply GM has lousy engine reliability and questionable reliability with all their "new" engines. Chrysler has been hit or miss with the Jeep brand. It is either the best car you have ever had, or the worst car (lemon) you have ever had. Almost no middle ground there. The Renegade with its FIAT tech and designs made me think but for the moment I am super happy. BUT I will miss the Abarth. If I could I would have it as a second car but no where to park it where I live now.
 

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I too want nothing to do with automatics. I owned one, a four cylinder Contour, about 10 years ago. I was so bored driving it I would routinely doze off on long drives. I had to pull over, get out and run around the car every 30 minutes of driving to stay awake. I swore never again to drive an automatic.
The Renegade amaizes me in that even with the all-terrain tires I put on it its "fun" to drive on the street yet can still pull off the road and go bounding across a field. The engine sounds awesome. I love the "psft" the blow off valve makes.
My other car is a Mazda Miata that is more of a Ford Mustang with a Miata bodykit than a Miata anymore. What I've done to it has given me somewhat of a reputation for not leaving my cars (or anything mechanical) alone and stock. Last week one of my coworkers asked me what I had done to make my Jeep sound "unlike any Jeep he's ever heard". I had to explain that, for now at least, the drive line is totally stock as it came from Italy.
-Jason
 

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I too disdain the autotragic transmissions in cars these days. I had a similar reasoning to yours in choosing the Jeep Renegade, I needed an SUV, a vehicle that could carry people and their things, and I wanted 4x4, and I wanted something that got good MPG. When I found out that I could get all those things plus a manual transmission and a turbo, I got excited and ordered one, and now I'm waiting for my Orange Latitude with Ski Gray interior with 1.4L, 6 speed and 4x4. Also, the engine isnt de-tuned, it still has 160hp like an abarth has!

Now, here in North Carolina we as a state don't have a gameplan for when it snows since it doesnt snow often. But it snows every year at least once, and it always takes 8 hours to drive just 30 miles on those days because 90% of the people here cant drive in the rain, let alone in the snow. One year I was in someone else's GMC 4x4 pickup and it still took 6 hours to drive about 35 miles home, but it would have taken 8 or 9 hours had I not been able to drive in the grass off the shoulder of the road and pass hundreds of people stuck in gridlock.
 

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Funny, I traded in my 2013 Abarth for the 2015 Renegade as well for almost the same reasons. Loved the Abarth, great car mechanically but the track tuned suspension took it toll after 2 plus years. I will miss the Abarth, it was alot of fun; really like the Renegade however. My Renegade has the 2.4 so I do not know the difference in driving between the turbo's.
 

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Funny, I traded in my 2013 Abarth for the 2015 Renegade as well for almost the same reasons. Loved the Abarth, great car mechanically but the track tuned suspension took it toll after 2 plus years. I will miss the Abarth, it was alot of fun; really like the Renegade however. My Renegade has the 2.4 so I do not know the difference in driving between the turbo's.
The Jeep is like the Abarth in non-sport mode, basically lol.

Oh! And you can hear the turbo and the little PSSH because the exhaust is so quiet!
 

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even with the all-terrain tires I put on it
-Jason
Sorry to be off-topic, but Jason, I'm curious -- what tire did you choose? Are you using the factory 16" wheels? Thanks.
Cooper Discoverer AT3's in 225/70-16 mounted of a set of pacer steelies (same dimentions as stock 16" aluminum wheels) with Renegade Ready 1" spacers. I did a lot of research on different options from "suv tires" like the Continentals it came with to all out off road tires to light truck tires. My main goals were raised white lettering, same diameter or greater than the Trailhawk tire (28"), and usabilty in the snow. The General Grabber and Cooper Discoverer both met those goals. I made my final choice based of price (I recived a Discount Tire rebate and a cooper rebate bringing the total price for all four down to $331 shipped) and the somewhat less practical feeling that "Discoverer" sounds a little less offensive than "Grabber". The Discoverers also have a very good snow rating.
There are pictures of it in the Sierra Blue thread and the non-trailhawk tire option thread.
-Jason
 

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Cooper Discoverer AT3's in 225/70-16
Thank you, Jason. Those do look great on your Renegade. That's interesting, I did not know that 225s would fit that size wheel. I was considering looking at 215/70-16 size A/T tires for the factory alloys...would open up a few more tire options, and I had figured that just going the one aspect ratio bigger would not create any clearance issues, even without spacers. I guess you never know about full lock, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You have not seen the 240 bHP racing Abarths on Jay Leno's Garage. Larger turbo, additional heat shielding, Madness ECU. Stock exhaust and no internal engine or transmission mods at all. The HD 5-speed is a good tranny but the Abarth's engine tuning is quite different. The Renegade version is good. Not complaining. Still not sure why all these tags in the engine bay are doing there. I can say that the extra intercooler would be nice in the nonAbarth turbos
 
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