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The Jeep brand prides itself on channeling the American spirit of fun, independence, and freedom. Whether it is with the capable and traditional Wrangler or the thoroughly reimagined modern Jeep, the Cherokee, Jeep is able to cater to the company's core while expanding the brand's reach to people who might have never considered a Jeep before.

A cornerstone of this growth strategy is the all-new Jeep Renegade. Close in size to the beloved Cherokee XJ, the Renegade uses familiar Jeep styling elements, such as large, round headlights, a seven-slot grille, and trapezoidal wheel openings. With friendly styling and a playful, almost puppy-like appearance, Jeep purists might have trouble taking the Renegade seriously.

However, don't let the looks fool you. The Renegade is a contemporary SUV, with a vault-like structure and an advanced traction control and all-wheel drive system. The Italian-made sport-ute may share a platform with the Fiat 500X, but the development was overseen by a qualified Jeep engineering and design team. The Renegade is by no means the byproduct of careless badge engineering.

To prove this, Jeep invited us on a full-line trail run in Moab, Utah. Consisting of Renegade and Cherokee Trailhawks, a Grand Cherokee testing a new wheel and tire package, and a couple of Wranglers, we headed out on the scenic 30-mile-plus Dome Plateau trail to see how well the Renegade could keep up with its siblings.



Sporting a naturally aspirated 2.4L Tigershark inline-four engine, which generates 180 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque and is paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission, the Renegade has enough power for most situations. The Trailhawk model adds a respectable 20:1 low range, proper tow hooks and skidplates, Selec-Terrain traction control system, and upgraded tires.

On smooth dirt roads or in sand, the Renegade is very tossable and forgiving. Feeling a lot like a rally car, the responsive Renegade is easy to drift around corners, all too often inciting laughter and smiles. The Renegade engages the driver, and the electronic nannies never seem too intrusive. On the slower, more technical portions of trail, the Renegade's traction control system distributes power to the wheels that have grip, a critical point since its limited amount of wheel travel means that the Renegade will often lift a wheel in uneven terrain.

Visibility is respectable through the large upright windshield, and big mirrors are good for watching the track of the rear tires. Removable roof panels give an open-air feeling only rivaled by the Wrangler, and the cabin is trimmed in high quality materials, including plenty of soft-touch plastics. With better approach and departure angles than the Cherokee Trailhawk, the ultra-maneuverable Renegade can often take lines that allow it to stay on the trail but avoid tougher obstacles. Ride quality is surprisingly good, and the Renegade won't beat you up off-road like other car-based competitors will.

After a day on some pretty technical trails, we had no doubts that the Renegade is a bona fide member of the Jeep family. There isn't a Subaru (or any other SUV in this class) that can hang with the Renegade deep off the beaten path. While it won't chase down Wranglers on the Rubicon, it is still an exceptional little runabout with a surprising amount of capability that makes quick work of light-to-moderate trails and is as just as capable in all-weather situations. The Renegade is equally adept as a first car, an urban commuter, or a weekend adventure machine. And it is every bit as fun as it looks.







source: http://madness.link/laevt
 

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I agree with the rally car bit. Mine finally got to meet the locations I regularly visit that have a combination of dirt and mine tailings and call it a road. It's almost shocking you can get that behavior with ESC on the vehicle. It's a hoot though.
 

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I have a Latitude 4x4. All of the off road tests and videos that I have seen are using a trailhawk. What kind of off road performance can I get out of my Renegade?
 

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I have a Latitude 4x4. All of the off road tests and videos that I have seen are using a trailhawk. What kind of off road performance can I get out of my Renegade?
You probably don't have the "rock" setting on the four-wheel drive settings, and you have slightly less ground clearance. The TH has tow hooks, and the front and back ends on the TH are designed to negotiate steeper inclines. Other than that I'd think performance would be pretty similar.
 

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You probably don't have the "rock" setting on the four-wheel drive settings, and you have slightly less ground clearance. The TH has tow hooks, and the front and back ends on the TH are designed to negotiate steeper inclines. Other than that I'd think performance would be pretty similar.
Trailhawk also has skid plates, downhill assist and a full size spare.
 

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Indeed a great write up, this is exactly what people wanted to see since there's always that thought at the back of folks minds that if it's a real jeep or not.... at least we know that now!
 

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You probably don't have the "rock" setting on the four-wheel drive settings, and you have slightly less ground clearance. The TH has tow hooks, and the front and back ends on the TH are designed to negotiate steeper inclines. Other than that I'd think performance would be pretty similar.
I know all this but would like to take mine off road some and am just nervous about how much I can actually do. I have a z71 Silverado that I take off road some, nothing crazy, just to get into some hunting properties. I think most of the areas I could do without 4x4 in it but worry a little about ground clearance in the Jeep.
 

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I would think that exercising caution you'd be OK for some relatively mild off-road driving. Your ground clearance is less than an inch lower than the Trailhawk.
 

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I would think that exercising caution you'd be OK for some relatively mild off-road driving. Your ground clearance is less than an inch lower than the Trailhawk.
I did a little searching and it appears that the Silverado has 8.5" clearance where my Jeep has 7.9". I don't think that I have ever used the skid plates in the truck so I would probably be alright, it is less than an inch clearance. I would love to see some videos and reviews of the 4x4 and not the trailhawk offroading though.
 

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Here's a test drive of the Sport model that includes some off-road driving.

https://youtu.be/8LU2awyKqgg
Thanks for the post. I may be from the country, but that seemed more like country road driving rather than off road driving lol. My Scion xD could do that road like a champ and it is in no way an offroad vehicle. Honestly, my wife's minivan would handle that easily. Every post I see regarding real off roading is with a trailhawk version. I just want to know what is really safe with ground clearance and no skid plates really. To my knowledge, I have never used the skid plates in my truck.

I am contemplating selling the truck and putting on a tow package as well as buying a towing platform to fulfill that need and I want to know that the Jeep can do it all without risking breaking it. A gravel road drive isn't quite enough to make me feel good enough about it. I kind of wish I was patient enough and just waited for the trailhawk version to come in and for the price to come down a bit, but I didn't.
 

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Thanks for the post. I may be from the country, but that seemed more like country road driving rather than off road driving lol. My Scion xD could do that road like a champ and it is in no way an offroad vehicle. Honestly, my wife's minivan would handle that easily. Every post I see regarding real off roading is with a trailhawk version. I just want to know what is really safe with ground clearance and no skid plates really. To my knowledge, I have never used the skid plates in my truck.

I am contemplating selling the truck and putting on a tow package as well as buying a towing platform to fulfill that need and I want to know that the Jeep can do it all without risking breaking it. A gravel road drive isn't quite enough to make me feel good enough about it. I kind of wish I was patient enough and just waited for the trailhawk version to come in and for the price to come down a bit, but I didn't.
Yeah, that was a little lame. Best I could find quickly. You're right - most if not all of the more "serious" off-road videos involve a Trailhawk. Perhaps your dealership can offer some guidance on what you can reasonably expect your Renegade to be able to do?
 

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i was able to find some more of the renegade out at moab on youtube, they mentioned with the desert hawk edition that all they really added was some rock rails and it looks like the different front skid plate, I'm wondering if they will be releasing those accessories soon
 
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