BUYERS GUIDE - SOFT-ROADERS
We always reckoned there was a market for the Fiat Panda in Australia. Then it arrived, badged Jeep Renegade.
The Jeep Renegade arrived, offering best-in-class off-road capability in the Trailhawk model, city-sized proportions and the option of an open-air roof.
The My Sky open-air roof system had removable front and rear honeycomb fiberglass polyurethane roof panels.
The Renegade had independent suspension with up to 205mm of wheel travel at the rear wheels, and 170mm at the front, along with 211mm of ground clearance on Trailhawk models. Torsional body stiffness was aided by advanced steels and composites.
The Jeep Renegade Trailhawk offered the most advanced and intelligent 4WD system in its class, with a disconnecting rear axle and power take-off unit. The system engaged when 4WD traction is needed.
The Renegade Trailhawk was also the first Jeep to integrate Koni’s frequency selective damping (FSD) front and rear strut system.
Jeep Active Drive Low was a class-exclusive, full-time 4WD system with 20:1 crawl ratio and Selec-Terrain system, providing five modes (Auto, Snow, Sand, Mud and Rock mode).
The Renegade Trailhawk also featured skid plates; a rear recovery hook; 30.5-degree approach, 25.7-degree breakover and 34.3-degree departure angles; 17-inch all-terrain tyres; Hill-descent Control; up to 480mm of water fording ability and 900kg towing ability with the 2.4-litre Tigershark engine.
Paired with the 129kW and 230Nm, 2.4-litre Tigershark engine was a nine-speed automatic transmission.
Renegade Sport, Longitude and Limited models were offered with a 103kW and 230Nm, 1.4-litre MultiAir2 Turbo engine, paired with a smooth-shifting six-speed DDCT (Dual Dry Clutch Transmission) automatic gearbox.
The Renegade Sport was available with an 81kW and 152Nm 1.6-litre eTorq engine, paired with a five-speed manual transmission.
Uconnect touchscreen radio systems offered hands-free communication, entertainment and optional navigation. Key features available on the Uconnect systems include a 5.0-inch or 6.5-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth connectivity, USB port and auxiliary audio jack.
Safety and security were at the forefront in the development of the Jeep Renegade that had more than 60 available safety and security features, including ParkView reverse parking camera complete with dynamic grid lines; electronic stability control (ESC) with electronic roll mitigation and seven air bags.
Optional were Forward Collision Warning-Plus; LaneSense Departure Warning-Plus and Blind-spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Path detection.
Pricing at launch started at $29,500, but you needed a cool $41,500 to get into a Trailhawk 2.4-litre model. Stupidly high pricing.
In January 2016 Jeep announced price reductions of up to $2500 across Renegade Sport, Longitude, Limited and Trailhawk models. Renegade Sport five-speed manual had a new RRP of 28 grand and those who had bought at the original pricing – not many – received cash-back cards valued at between $1500 and $2500.
We chased a Renegade press test vehicle for months – then gave up.