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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Off-Road With The Littlest Jeep

Small, car-based Jeeps have never really been embraced by the hardcore Jeep faithful. Remember the Compass and the Patriot? You’re not likely to see those two—which Jeep still makes, by the way—out on the trails. The new Jeep Renegade is different. Yes, it is closely related to numerous front-wheel-drive Euro-hatches and it’s even built in Italy. But Jeep offers a Trailhawk version of the Renegade, an honor never bequeathed to the PatriCompass. In Trailhawk guise, the Renegade gets a jacked-up ride height, skid plates, red tow hooks and the all-important flat black hood. (That really cuts down the glare when you’re scaling the Moab Rim trail.) The ZF 9-speed transmission’s granny-low first gear allows the Renegade to approximate a low range—they have a button for it, as if it were something other than first gear—with a 20:1 crawl ratio. Theoretically, this little trucklet should handle some moderately serious off-roading. So I took it to Uwharrie.

The last time I went to Uwharrie National Forest, I was driving a lifted Wrangler built by American Expedition Vehicles. An AEV Jeep is a serious piece of equipment, but even that towering, triple-locking-diff Wrangler had its work cut out on some Uwharrie’s ascents. I knew the Renegade wouldn’t make it through the most difficult trails, but I wanted to see how far it could get. As it turns out: surprisingly far. Farther than a car like this has any right to go, or anybody in their right mind would logically take it.



Uwharrie’s trails are tight and technical, well suited to a pipsqueak like the Renegade. Sharp breakovers and steep climbs were no problem, but the brake-based traction control got a workout thanks to the stiff suspension. Where a solid-axle truck like a Wrangler would articulate and ooze over jagged terrain, the Renegade always seemed to have one rear tire in the air, like a dog marking its territory up and down the trail. The four-wheel independent suspension isn’t soft enough to offer much droop, but when a tire goes airborne, the brakes step in and send torque to the opposite side. It’s disconcerting at first, this diagonal teeter-totter across the ditches, but you soon realize that nothing bad’s going to happen. This is just how the Renegade tiptoes down the trail.

The Trailhawk is only available with the naturally aspirated 2.4-liter engine and the ZF9 automatic, which is probably a less satisfying powertrain than the base 1.4-liter turbo and six-speed manual. Either way, you’re not looking at a speed demon, here. Hey, what’s the rush? You’re driving a shoebox with T-tops—both front and rear panels of the MySky roof can be removed and stowed in a bag in the cargo area, just like you did with the roof panels on your Monte Carlo back in ’86. The Renegade is comfortable with its role as a trafficker of cheeky fun.



When I got it stuck, there was no furious spinning of tires or skidplate-rattling drama. The trail simply got too steep and the tires stopped spinning. The 2.4 kind of went “Hrrrrmmmmm” and no further forward progress was forthcoming. Now, with more torque to the wheels—say, from an actual low range— and more ground clearance, I could’ve kept going. But a two-speed transfer case adds weight, and bigger tires ding fuel economy and handling. You’ve got to draw the line somewhere, and a reasonable person would be rightly impressed at what the Trailhawk can accomplish.

Even with its modest grab bag of off-road equipment, the Renegade conquered a trail that had rubber all over the rocks on the way up, evidence of prior travelers fruitlessly spinning their tires against the grade. It was gratifying to reach the top, all the more because I did it in a lightly modified Fiat.

The secret of off-roading is that it’s most fun when there’s an element of doubt, when you’re not at all sure you’ve got the right equipment for the job. And that thrill is just as accessible in a Renegade Trailhawk as it is in a Wrangler Rubicon. And if it all goes really wrong, you’ve always got those red tow hooks.

Source/Take a look at a video as well: http://madness.link/xw9lm
 

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As I mentioned in the other thread about this Yahoo article, the guy in the video on there is so darn annoying. But the article itself is nicely written.

TS
 

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vBToucan.com Vendor
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
As I mentioned in the other thread about this Yahoo article, the guy in the video on there is so darn annoying. But the article itself is nicely written.

TS
Apologies for reposting :redface: but we agree with you completely on the video :laugh:
 

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Apologies for reposting :redface: but we agree with you completely on the video :laugh:
No apologies necessary. This thread actually pointed to the article, the other one was only to the video.

Second pic looks like the Renegade is lifting its "leg" to mark its territory on that tree.
LMAO so true.

TS
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Second pic looks like the Renegade is lifting its "leg" to mark its territory on that tree.
This is quite possible as they do not come "potty trained" from the factory ;):D

No apologies necessary. This thread actually pointed to the article, the other one was only to the video.

LMAO so true.

TS
Good point :laugh:
 
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