Jeep Renegade Survives Costco Challenge
- July 6, 2017
- Auto News & Reviews, Jeep, On The Road: Driving Impressions
- Posted by George Peterson
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Having a new Jeep Renegade Trailhawk over the long July 4th weekend, I took it to Costco for the quarterly bird seed, cat food replenishment. At first I was wondering if the Renegade was up to the task. Does a small crossover SUV have the capacity to take the load?
There were fourteen bags of bird seed and two of cat food. Plus the package of 30 rolls of toilet paper. Would they fit? Plus, would they fit with the other stuff we bought? Removing the tonneau cover over the cargo area and folding the rear seats were required to fit in the load. There was room to spare. Probably could have doubled the number of bird seed and cat food bags.
Small Crossover SUVs are Very Capable Even the smallest of the new generation crossover SUVs are extremely capable as this brief test shows. The booming sales of small and mid-size crossover SUVs is the reason sales of traditional passenger cars are down. Responding to what vehicle buyers have been telling us they want since the late 1980s, the new crossovers fit the bill. They are easy to get into and out of. You don’t have to drop down into one like in a car. The seating position is chair like. Your legs are not extended forward. More glass and the higher seating position provide optimum visibility. The fold down rear seat combined with an open rear cargo area maximize load carrying capability.
Trailhawk “Deserthawk” This Jeep Renegade had the Deserthawk 4×4 package ($1,395) to yield the ultimate off-road Renegade. It is another answer from Jeep on their old saying “a Jeep is for the occasional use prerogative”. On-road or off-road, the Deserthawk can do it all. Taking this particular Renegade off-road even with the full load, would have been no problem. The challenge would be to keep the cargo in place, or to fill it even more deeply so nothing could move around.
Pricing for Everybody Not only can the Jeep Renegade carry an impressive amount of cargo and be capable off-road, the vehicle can be loaded with amenities. The base price for the front wheel drive Sport model is $17,995. The Trailhawk is $26,895. Adding practically all the optional features and selecting the Deserthawk package you can pay $33,265. At that level you get a blind spot monitoring system, UConnect navigation system, automatic temperature control, Selec-Terrain 4×4 system, hill descent control, hill start assist, and more. One thing oddly missing is a remote liftgate release. There is a nice blank spot on the key fob for that feature, but it is not there. Go figure. In July 2017, Jeep is offering a lease discount of $4,250.
Powertrain a Bit Balky The 180-horsepower 2.4L 4-cylinder Multi-Air engine is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission. This combination is fine most of the time around town, but when you need to quickly accelerate there is an unwelcome hesitation. Slam the accelerator to the floor, wait, wait, then the engine decides you really do want full power and it gives it to you. Too much hesitation for my book. Maybe an owner would learn to compensate after driving the Renegade for a week or so.