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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Finally got a chance to go down to the local dealership and test drive one. I test drove a Latitude with the 2.4L/auto. Other than that it was pretty stripped. So here are my thoughts....

1) Very large on the inside. I guess that is due to the boxy shape, but it has far more space on the interior than seems like it should when you view from the exterior.

2) I like the height of the seats. Very high up and comfortable, nice view of the road.

3) Not a whole lot of space to store stuff in the center console.

4) Controls all seem logically placed and the interior has a very nice design.

5) The cloth seats are very nice and seem very durable compared to cloth seats in most other cars.

6) Good acceleration, much better than I expected.

7) Terrible transmission. The transmission seemed to keep hunting for gears and shifting constantly. When I merged onto the highway, rather than hold the lower gear during constant acceleration, it seemed to be in a race to get to the highest gear, so it kept upshifting and then downshifting again when more power was needed. Does this transmission have a "sport" mode? If not, it needs one.

8) Much better handling than I expected. Given that this was not the trailhawk, but it handled more like a hot hatch than an SUV. My current car is a BMW X1 (without the M-sport suspension upgrade), and while I did not measure with a g-meter or anything, it felt just as good as my BMW around highway ramps and quick turns.

9) Ride quality was a bit bumpy over rough road, but not harsh. So yes you will feel the bumps, but you just bounce over them and it does not feel like the suspension and/or wheels are being abused. I think this is what most people would expect or hope for in a Jeep. One of the things I hate about my X1 is that it tends to crash over pot holes and rough roads, and sometimes you feel like you must have bent a wheel (the roads are terrible around here due to the bad Northeast winters). So the Renegade was a much nicer ride.

Overall, my thoughts are that this is a very good car, but for me I would probably go with the 1.4L/manual 6-speed combo in either a Sport or a Latitude model. I did sit in the trailhawk, but I think it would be overkill for my needs. What I want is more of a rally-type car that is good on-road, on dirt roads, and in bad weather. I doubt I will ever do any rock crawling or anything like that. And given that criteria, I think the non-trailhawk should handle better and probably suit my needs better.
 

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3) Not a whole lot of space to store stuff in the center console.
That is the one thing I did not check out when I checked out the Rene at the auto show. Now I am more than curious how big it is.

TS
 
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