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Like nearly everyone else, I've yet to see a Renegade Trailhawk in the flesh--I hope to soon. As a two-decade-plus owner and driver of Jeep products (also an over 4-decade four wheeler) and as one who uses them for moderate to hard off-road use, I have some definite opinions, based on what I've read about the Renegade Trailhawk. First, I don't doubt the Renegade Trailhawk has the "chops" to do at least moderate off-roading. My main worry there would be the 20:1 gearing for off-road use--30:1 would be a lot better. I question how well the Trailhawk would hold up, though, under regular off-road use. I also don't expect that it would be happy in true hard-core 4-wheeling, but I don't think that hard-core 4-wheeling crowd is its intended market.


Second, I have no doubts that the Renegade Trailhawk will be a very good performer in winter driving conditions, including having sufficient ground clearance to deal with snow that is deeper than most AWD CUV's (save the Subaru Forester and Outback) can handle. For snow country folks, the Renegade Trailhawk may be a gem.


Unfortunately, I think that Jeep may have some issues with the Renegade Trailhawk. Probably the most important is that the Renegade MUST achieve a better reliability record than the new Cherokee--the Cherokee's record is pretty dismal. I know several owners of the new Cherokee and ALL of them have had serious reliability problems within their first year of ownership. At today's vehicle prices, that is simply unacceptable. Another gaffe is that FC has stupidly not gotten the Multi-Jet diesel engine certified for sale in the US. Now that European and US diesel emission standards are very close to the same (Euro 6 and US Tier IV Final are pretty similar), there really isn't an excuse for that. The gasoline Multi-Air engine has a pretty wide reputation for being "buzzy" when pushed and, in the Renegade 4WD is only rated by the EPA at 21 mpg city, 29 highway. So much for Jeep's promise that ALL Renegades would top 30 mpg on the highway. Didn't happen. By contrast, the Multi-Jet diesel coupled with the 9 speed automatic in the Renegade Trailhawk is rated at 34 mpg city/46 mpg highway (US gallons) under the European fuel economy ratings. Not to mention that the turbocharged Multi-jet diesel will produce much more low-end torque than the naturally aspirated 2.4 Multi-Air found in the US Renegade Trailhawk. C'mon, FC, bring the diesel Renegade to the US--now!


For now, I'm keeping my current Jeeps--a 1998 Cherokee and a 2005 Liberty, both modified to be very competent off-road vehicles. The Liberty is a diesel model--and it gets fuel economy in the mid- to high 20's mpg in a vehicle that weighs almost a thousand pounds more than the Renegade. So far, the gas Jeep Renegade Trailhawk really doesn't give me any compelling reason to replace either of my Jeep's with it, other than a few electronic bells and whistles. Bring the diesel to the US, though, and it will set me to thinking . . .
 

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The Trailhawk should do just fine with moderate off roading. It isn't likely to be a true hard core 4-wheeler competing with a Wrangler or special built vehicles.

The Rock mode with the so called 20:1 gearing is just a software mode. There isn't a two speed transfer case like other vehicles (with maybe 40:1 or more). What Rock mode does is to hold the transmission in first gear; that combined with the 4.334 final drive gives the 20:1 gearing. I'm not saying that is bad, but that is how it works.

I have no doubt that the Trailhawk will be plenty rugged enough to get to your local hunting or fishing spot where there are no roads. Just closing the door you get a sense of rigidity and well built.
 
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