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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks! I'm anxiously awaiting the first test-drivable Renegades here in the Denver area. I'm very excited about this vehicle - it is pretty much exactly what I was looking for. A small, economical AWD/4WD SUV that can actually go off-road. Here's my thoughts on other options in this general category (because I know I love people droning on about their own personal opinions on the Internet >:D )

Kia Soul
We have a Soul - and really like it. But it's a city mouse. We've taken it up in the mountains a few times - and it's fine, assuming we don't get too much snow - or have to cross much in the way of rough terrain. But I want something with more off-road ability.

Nissan Juke
I drove one - seemed really cramped with low visibility and I'm not a fan of the looks of it (though my wife likes it). Also - even though it comes in an AWD - I wouldn't feel comfortable doing much off-roading in it.

Buick Encore
Another city mouse. Looks nice - but not rugged enough for what I'm looking to do with it. Also - more expensive than I'd like.

Subaru Cross Trek
I think there's a local ordinance here that you must own at least one Subaru. And I really wanted to love this vehicle. But when I test-drove it, it just felt gutless. I guess it is available in a manual transmission - and that might help the pep-factor. Still may be an option if I can find a stick-shift version.

Subaru Forester
I just think they are not very attractive. Obviously, that's objective and not shared by many.

Mazda CX-5
I do like this vehicle. It was a lot of fun to drive around the city streets. But similar to the Buick, I can't imagine banging around the back-country in it with any confidence.

Honda CRV and Toyota RAV-4
What am I, a Soccer-Mom? (No kids - and I'm not even the right sex)

Honda HRV, Chevy Trax, Fiat 500X, Mazda CX-3
Not sure - these are all coming later in 2015 or 2016, correct?

Other, bigger CUVs/SUVs
Too big, poor fuel economy and/or too expensive.

So that leaves me with the CrossTrek or the Renegade. And I think the Renegade is going to be much more confident off road than the Subie. Plus - I love the design - and the look of the Jeep. Petty, I know - but there it is. So now it's mostly down to what model, color and what packages I want - and when I'll be able to actually take delivery on my new Jeeplet. I'm preparing myself for a bit of a wait.

Cheers!
 

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Welcome Lon, good to have more people with well thought out descriptive posts.

Jeeplet, that's a new one.
 

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*snip*

Subaru Cross Trek
I think there's a local ordinance here that you must own at least one Subaru. And I really wanted to love this vehicle. But when I test-drove it, it just felt gutless. I guess it is available in a manual transmission - and that might help the pep-factor. Still may be an option if I can find a stick-shift version.

*snip*

So that leaves me with the CrossTrek or the Renegade. And I think the Renegade is going to be much more confident off road than the Subie. Plus - I love the design - and the look of the Jeep. Petty, I know - but there it is. So now it's mostly down to what model, color and what packages I want - and when I'll be able to actually take delivery on my new Jeeplet. I'm preparing myself for a bit of a wait.
About the Crosstrek... give it a chance with a manual before writing it off. I've not driven the CVT Crosstrek, but I have driven a few other vehicles with CVTs are they are universally awful... the only difference between brands and models is the degree of awfulness.

Short of locking differentials and a low-range gear for moderate rock crawling, there is very little a Subaru can't do offroad (there's a reason that Subaru is the third most off-roaded brand in North America). Minimum ground clearance on the Crosstrek is 8.66".... that's just 0.04" shy of the Trailhawk, and much more than any of the other Renegade models.
 

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Subaru Crosstrek gets really good reviews. Definitely worth checking out in detail.

I heard that the west coast was setting new heat records over the past few days so you must be enjoying a respite from the winter. lucky guy.

meanwhile on the east coast...

 

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LonN,

I'm in a similar place as you are and I've cross shopped all those vehicles too. I sat in most of those at a recent car show and found that most of them didn't fit me. However looking at the Renegade's dimensions it sizes up pretty favorably with my current ride, a Wrangler Unlimited.

I hear you about the "look" of it too... there were some vehicles that fit me, but none of them has the "presence" of the Renegade.

Personally, I can't wait until the Renegade arrives at my local dealer so I can sit it in and see if it's still a contender. I think the configurator has some weird choices, so there will be some compromise necessary for me, either in model (Trailhawk or Limited) and color (I really want to see it in yellow).

Best of luck as you make your decision.

~ Tombinator
 

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LonN I have the 2.4 6spd auto in my Dart and you will love this motor. Power on tap all over the rpm range and pulls strong to almost redline and lets face it, you want the Jeep and with your needs its perfect. I should get a commission from Jeep.
 

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I want to find out how the 1.4T six-speed manual drives. The 1.4 just seem like it would be too small for a 3,100 pound vehicle.

Does anybody have this powertrain in another car?
 

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I think your original post pretty much captured where I'm at. Although I really just need something that can handle a deeply rutted dirt road - no Rubicon's for me.

I think real 4WD guys (who don't buy a Wrangler) - it's a no-brainer the Renegade Trailhawk knocked their ball out of the park.

Those of us thinking of 2WD. It's a tossup based on priorities (looks, performance, utility, reliability). It looks like all the competitors will be on the market before June.

Interesting to see you own a Soul. Me too. Have you looked at the Trailster announced this week? It, or something like it, will be shipping this fall. It ain't gonna go beyond a rutted dirt road, and it'll probably cost too much, but it looks like the Soul+ will be getting that 180 HP turbo engine. That extra 20 hp and better fuel economy over the current Soul might be enough to keep me in a Soul.

But I'm still test-driving the first Renegade I see. I'll be waiting in the dealer's lot as they pull it off the car carrier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I think your original post pretty much captured where I'm at. Although I really just need something that can handle a deeply rutted dirt road - no Rubicon's for me.

I think real 4WD guys (who don't buy a Wrangler) - it's a no-brainer the Renegade Trailhawk knocked their ball out of the park.

Those of us thinking of 2WD. It's a tossup based on priorities (looks, performance, utility, reliability). It looks like all the competitors will be on the market before June.

Interesting to see you own a Soul. Me too. Have you looked at the Trailster announced this week? It, or something like it, will be shipping this fall. It ain't gonna go beyond a rutted dirt road, and it'll probably cost too much, but it looks like the Soul+ will be getting that 180 HP turbo engine. That extra 20 hp and better fuel economy over the current Soul might be enough to keep me in a Soul.

But I'm still test-driving the first Renegade I see. I'll be waiting in the dealer's lot as they pull it off the car carrier.
Our Soul has been rock solid. We bought a 2011 (+) new and really like it for buzzing around town - or even on longer highway trips. But that's my wife's car - and we're not planning to get rid of that anytime soon. I'm looking at the Renegade to replace my mid-life-crisis-mobile - a 2012 Hyundai Genesis Coupe. Fun, fast, gorgeous car. But not really a wise choice for me (terrible on ice and snow, not very comfortable to drive for very long, and I'm 50 - not 25). The Renegade - if purchased - will be my commuter car - and take over weekend duties from the Soul. I would like to get back into some light off-roading as well. Before the Genesis, I had two 4-Runners and a Nissan Frontier 4x4. I do miss those trucks. So I do want 4WD - and may bite the bullet and get a Trailhawk. It's just that I really love manual transmissions - but also want a (factory) trailer hitch. So I'll test out both drive-trains and see what moves me.

Best of luck in your search!
 
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