Jeep Patriot and Initial-gen Compass are Really Dead 2018 Wrangler Information Leaked

2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited red

Amid all the hand wringing and social media sobbing more than the celebrities we’ve lost in 2016, no 1 thought to mention the Jeep Compass and Patriot — sturdy-promoting, cost-effective yet archaic autos that have been loathed by the automotive press.

Properly, the decade-old twins are dead. Gone. Finito. Pushing up daisies. The Toledo Blade reports that the Patriot and Compass ceased production on December 23, paving the way for a significantly-enhanced second-generation global Compass.

Whilst the new, bigger Compass prepares for its launch, the next-generation of the Jeepiest of all Jeeps — the 2018 Wrangler — remains heavily shrouded. We’ve seen specifics leaked about its appearance and drivetrain, but Fiat Chrysler Automobiles remains silent on a production timeline. Properly, always count on a union representative to spill some beans.

According to the Blade, FCA’s Toledo assembly plant will cease production of the Jeep Cherokee in early April to make way for the subsequent-gen Wrangler. The move is part of a larger game of production musical chairs that is only just begun. A six-month shutdown follows the Cherokee’s Toledo exit, throughout which time the plant will retool for physique-on-frame assembly.

Bruce Baumhower, president of United Auto Workers Local 12, told the Blade that production of the 2018 Wrangler will commence in November. Pre-productions models must seem “much earlier.”

As the plant gears up for the new Wrangler, production of the current model should continue uninterrupted, Baumhower said. He added that the current generation must see production wrap up in March 2018. Soon after that, the line will convert to next-gen Wrangler pickup production — a shadowy model that has played a starring role in the fevered dreams of Jeep aficionados for years.

When out of Toledo, Cherokee production moves to the Belvidere, Illinois facility not too long ago vacated by the Heaven-bound Patriot and Compass. Retooling is currently underway at that plant, UAW officials claim.

(H/T to Tom!)

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Car Evaluations – The Truth About Vehicles

Jeep, No Longer Unstoppable, Desires to Repair Its Game in an Overlooked Market place

2016 Jeep Wrangler

Right after posting sales gains that most automakers would sell their souls for, Jeep’s skyrocketing climb hit the upper limits of the atmosphere in September, with sales dropping by three % compared to the very same month a year ago.

Perhaps the Jeep brand is not larger than Jesus. With the new vehicle marketplace cooling off and two of its oldest — but nonetheless strong-promoting — models being pared down to 1, Jeep requirements to branch out to preserve the momentum going.

It has products up its sleeve — a Wrangler pickup and $ 140,000 luxo-ute to name a couple — and has factories planned for developing nations everywhere, but Jeep could reap a sales reward if it stopped screwing up in a single obvious but overlooked marketplace.

With the exception of the American Southwest, Australia seems tailor-made for the Jeep brand. There’s warm temperatures, beaches, desert, and a patriotic thirst for off-roading and automobiles that buck the norm. Hell, the place is almost all rural.

And but, Jeep sales are dwindling to pathetic levels Down Beneath. What went wrong at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Australia?

For starters, the firm was rocked by a scandal, with FCA Australia suing former Jeep boss Clyde Campbell for allegedly misusing $ 30 million in funds throughout his 3-year stint (2010-2013). His successor Pat Dougherty, stepped down (or was pushed out) in August, two years into his 3-year contract.

In 2015, a record-setting year for Australian new car sales, Jeep saw its sales tumble 19.7 percent. That is a tally of 24,418 Jeep vehicles for the whole year. The last time the U.S. recorded a month-to-month sales figure that low was in 2010. Australian Jeep sales in the first half of this year are down 51 %. Is it a hemisphere factor? What goes up in America goes down in the outback?

FCA Australia’s newest boss does not think so, and feels he knows specifically what the brand’s dilemma is. According to the Aussie publication Drive, Steve Zanlunghi claims the brand’s advertising is all off, and says he desires to reclaim the historically tough, go-anywhere appeal that has drawn clients — military and civilian — to Jeep from Day 1.

“It’s not a cute brand,” Zanlunghi told reporters this week. “It’s not a funny brand. It’s not luxury. It is not pretentious.”

A new ad campaign is poised to launch, a single that takes the place of a panned commercial that had Australians incredulously asking “You bought a Jeep?”

“I inform you I wasn’t terribly satisfied with what some of the path I saw most recently,” Zanlunghi said. “If we don’t comprehend what the brand is, then how do we anticipate dealers to comprehend it and eventually customers, do they know what it is? So I put together a manifesto for what the Jeep brand here is Australia and presented it to our inventive agency and they get it, and then to the national sales company and they get it and ultimately to the dealers and they get it and they’re on board.”

Australia hasn’t escaped the SUV/crossover craze sweeping the planet, with SUV sales up nearly 16 % last year. Industry share for utility vehicles is closing in on percentages noticed in the U.S. If Jeep Australia stops shooting itself in the foot, there’s gold to be found in them there hills.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Vehicle Critiques – The Truth About Vehicles

Will GMC’s Brand Makeover Contain a Jeep Fighter?

2015 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT 4x4 6.2 (6 of 25)

We’ve all observed the advertisements. Glistening GMCs plying the streets of Manhattan as Eminence Front swells in the background, broadcasting loud and clear to urban automobile purchasers that we’re right here, we’re trucks or truck-like automobiles, get employed to it.

Boosted exposure is a big element of GMC’s program to develop sales and brand recognition, but the next phase of the automaker’s revamp could see it take on Jeep.

GMC’s plans for the future are beginning to turn out to be clear, and while it appears like a modest crossover is out, a small SUV could be in. Speaking about the company’s two-phase strategy, GMC brand chief Duncan Aldred told Automotive News that Jeep’s runaway achievement may possibly need to be countered.

“I do feel GMC has got the brand equity and brand character in numerous respects to give clients a truly very good alternative to Jeep items,” Aldred said.

Business sources told Automotive News that GMC is in the early stages of crafting an SUV that will borrow the frame of the GMC Colorado midsize pickup. Analysts agree that Jeep is the most probably target for the automaker, although sources say the rumored SUV wouldn’t arrive till 2020 or later.

GMC sales hit an 11-year high in the U.S. final year, so the newfound exposure seems to be working. The high-end Denali line, which Aldred pushed in order to enhance the brand’s profitability, now makes up 20 % of sales.

Nevertheless, it is new merchandise that grow excitement. The GMC Terrain and its Chevrolet twin, the Equinox, are expected to shrink in size when the subsequent generation bows in 2017. Those models will ride atop the Chevrolet Cruze platform and could source the 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder from the Malibu.

Plans for a smaller sized crossover inspired by the Granite notion vehicle fell though, achievable simply because sales could overlap with the Chevy Trax and Buick Encore. Aldred wants it, but it seems that Common Motors executives aren’t keen on the idea.

[Image: © 2015 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Vehicles]

Automobile Critiques – The Truth About Cars

Fiat Chrysler Will Investigate Anton Yelchin’s Fatal Jeep Crash

2015 Jeep® Grand Cherokee Overland

Much less than two days after Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin died in a bizarre vehicle crash in his Los Angeles driveway, the maker of his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee says it will investigate the incident.

Yelchin, 27, was discovered crushed amongst his SUV and a brick gatepost two nights ago. The automobile, which was identified in neutral with the engine nonetheless running, apparently rolled backwards down the steep driveway and hit him.

Police reports identified his Grand Cherokee as 1 of the models recalled due to its confusing Monostable shift lever, with Reuters now reporting that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles promises to conduct a “thorough investigation.”

The Monostable shift level was employed in three models equipped with FCA’s eight-speed automatic transmission. In April, FCA voluntarily recalled 1.1 million automobiles to appropriate the concern, which triggered some drivers to feel their automobile was in “park” when it was in fact still in gear, or neutral.

As opposed to traditional automatic transmission shift levers, the Monostable shift knob returns to the same central spot right after gear adjustments. This provides little visual indication of what gear the car is in fact in.

In response to inquiries swirling about the circumstances that led to Yelchin’s death, the automaker issued a statement saying, “It is premature to speculate on its result in at this time.”

When the National Highway Transportation Security Administration investigated owner complaints last summer time, it logged 41 injuries connected to vehicles rolling away from their owners, but no deaths. At least 700 roll-away incidents are linked to the shifters. Models impacted are certain 2012-2014 Dodge Chargers and Chrysler 300s, and 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees.

It is not known regardless of whether Yelchin’s automobile was serviced after the recall was issued.

Vehicle Critiques – The Truth About Cars

Jeep Patriot* Is TTAC’s 2016 Worst Automobile These days (And Here Are the Other Nine Losers)

2016 Jeep Patriot 75th Anniversary Edition, Image: Jeep

It’s a Dodge Caliber festooned with a seven slot grille and boxy proportions. It exists for no other purpose than to leverage the brand equity built up by decades of Jeep heritage. The Patriot*, according to your nominations, our writers, and your votes is — by far — TTAC’s 2016 Worst Automobile Nowadays.

Right after all the votes had been cast, a staggering 66.1 % of you believed the Jeep Patriot to be the worst new car money could get. And, as numerous of you guessed, it is not the only Fiat Chrysler Automobiles solution in the Prime ten.

A triumvirate consisting of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Mercedes-Benz, and Mitsubishi are responsible for seven of TTAC’s 2016 Ten Worst Automobiles Today. As Mazda comes close to cleaning house in the Very best list, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles takes 1st, 2nd, and 4th in the Worst list.

Here are the remaining losers in reverse order.

2015 Toyota Yaris, Image: Toyota

10th Place: Toyota Yaris

Who knew that Toyota, one of largest automakers in the world that didn’t get caught cheating its way previous emissions regulations, would have an entry on the worst list, even though the cheater would take the 10th spot on the Best list?

Personally, I don’t recognize the hatred for the Yaris. It’s a subcompact automobile that does subcompact automobile issues in ways that subcompact automobiles must do them. But, right here it is because 36.5 % of you decided it need to be here.

Maybe I need to have to drive one particular once more. Or possibly I do not.

Mercedes-AMG CLA 45

9th Spot: Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class (such as AMG)

In contrast to the Yaris, vitriol aimed at Mercedes-Benz’s cheapest (in every sense of the word) model is anything I can get behind. In all, 40.three % of you agreed with Jack Baruth.

In front-wheel-drive spec, the CLA is a torque-steer monster when it really doesn’t need to have to be. Automatic Honda Civics from 1992 can shift gears with much more aplomb than this A-Class in drag. It’s an afront to the tri-star, which sits front and center with all the tact of Flavor Flav’s huge neck-hung clock.

If a friend asks you if they ought to obtain a CLA, say no. If they do it anyway, get a new pal. It’s that basic.

2015 BMW X6M, Image: © 2015 Aaron Cole/The Truth About Cars

8th Place: BMW X6 (such as X6 M)

BMW will discover itself on the wrong side of our Ten Greatest and Worst this year thanks to the X6 and its aspiration-with no-objective styling.

Even although the X6 M — with its brutal 4.four-liter, twin turbocharged V8 very good for 567 horsepower — is much more than able to place a smile on the face of even the most discerning enthusiast, there’s 1 function you just cannot get behind: its sloping rear buttock.

40.eight percent of you thought mentioned buttock deserved flogging.

2016 Chevrolet Trax LTZ, Image: General Motors

7th Place: Chevrolet Trax

Chevrolet’s subcompact crossover is the result of GM designers watching “Breaking Bad” and coming to the conclusion that a new Aztek would be a really great idea.

Okay, perhaps the Trax isn’t that horrible to look at, but the its 1.four-liter turbocharged engine is underpowered to put it lightly, an concern somewhat rectified by the new Buick Encore.

Speaking of the Encore, somehow it avoided this list. 46.8 percent of you thought the Chevrolet Trax was the worst vehicle presented by General Motors right now, as opposed to the only 30.1 % that thought the Encore deserved to be fired into the nearest Chinese steel mill.

2015 Mitsubishi Mirage ES, Image: Mitsubishi

6th Spot: Mitsubishi Mirage

Have you ever partied so tough that the next morning you find a baleen whale in your bed and a credit-card balance that dangerously approaches your overall credit limit? Some of us would right away take a shower and try to discover a second job to proper those wrongs. Others console themselves by purchasing autos with their remaining credit. The vehicle they purchase: the Mitsubishi Mirage.

Here’s the dilemma with the Mirage: modern day subcompact automobiles want not be dreadful penalty boxes, however the Mirage is. An underpowered 3-cylinder engine sends double-digit horsepower to the front wheels. It’s saddled with a continuously variable transmission if you have neither the want nor the mental implies to shift gears oneself. And even in its most prime spec, the alloy wheels wouldn’t be out of location in a Pep Boys clearance aisle. 47.1 % of voters say “Mirage: not even as soon as.”

(We know the Mirage is not technically accessible for the 2016 model year, but there was a 2015 model and there will be a newly restyled 2017 model. Exceptions have been produced.)

2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Image: i-MiEV

5th Spot: Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Apply every little thing mentioned above about the Mirage to Mitsubishi’s electric automobile, but make one particular very essential alter: the Mitsubishi i-MiEV isn’t cheap (in the transactional sense if you buy one particular new at MSRP). 50.four percent of voters agree.

Go acquire a Leaf.

2016 Fiat 500L, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

4th Place: Fiat 500L

In the show “The Walking Dead”, Michonne has two pet zombies that have been freed of their reduced jaws so as to neuter their desire to kill and eat humans. The Fiat 500L is the automotive visual equivalent of those zombies, which sports a style that neuters its desire to find willing buyers.

The 500L tries to trick men and women into pondering it is a fun little runabout with a cutesy demeanor. In reality, it is a Fiat Panda with awkward sheetmetal built in at former Yugo plant in present-day Serbia.

2015 Smart ForTwo, Image: Smart

3rd Spot: Intelligent Fortwo

The preceding-generation Intelligent Fortwo was so undesirable that, we think, the majority of respondents of our poll have been in fact voting against the old auto and not the new a single. It doesn’t aid that there’s been small advertising and marketing to increase the image of the new Fortwo, shown above, which we don’t feel is practically as horrible as its predecessor.

Nevertheless, the reality remains that city vehicles just do not do well in America. Americans are massive. American cities are massive (as in spread out). Road trips are huge (as in lengthy). And Americans tend to acquire big items that require big automobiles to cart about. In addition, Americans don’t like big price tags for tiny vehicles, no matter how clever they could be. (Don’t forget the Scion iQ? Neither do I.)

55.eight percent of you believe the Fortwo (no matter whether it be the new model or the earlier car with the kidney-punishing transmission) is one particular of the Ten Worst Automobiles Right now.

(Daimler: Why don’t you send this back to Europe and bring the Forfour here rather?)

2015 Dodge Journey Crossroad, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

2nd Location: Dodge Journey

The Dodge Journey is a remnant of prior indiscretions made by DaimlerChrysler and Cerberus, but it chugs along as three-row marketing fodder in regional papers for $ 16,995 (or what ever the price is that week once thousands of dollars in incentives are applied).

For a multitude of factors, the Dodge Journey is the worst 3-row car money can purchase from a new automobile dealer. You’re far better off getting a used Hyundai Santa Fe and shelling out for the extended warranty. Or acquiring a Caravan. Or a employed Econoline. Or nothing just sell off your youngsters and take away the require for such a vehicle in your life.

Last and kinda-sorta least

* Yes, there’s an asterisk. Why? Since the Patriot, even even though it handily won (lost?) this competitors as the worst automobile in America for the 2016 model year, probably wouldn’t be in very first place had we not eliminated the Jeep Compass from the get-go.

2014 Jeep Compass Limited, Image: Jeep

Before we 1st announced the resurrected and refreshed Ten Worst Automobiles These days, we teased the reality that the Compass was nominated ten years ago as a single of the worst sacks of platform-prostituted garbage money could acquire. It is still true these days. The Compass is mostly sold on price, not substance, and is the antithesis of what any Jeep should be. A lot of of the very same complaints can be levied against the Patriot, but at least the Patriot looks a bit a lot more like a Jeep.

So, with out additional ado, TTAC is announcing a Lifetime Achievement Award to the Jeep Compass for comprehensive incompetence from birth to present day.

And this is where you come in: this award wants a name! Hit up the comments to offer your ideas. A winner will be picked sometime this week.

[Pictures: Yaris, Toyota Mercedes-AMG CLA45, Daimler BMW X6M, © 2015 Aaron Cole/The Truth About Vehicles Chevrolet Trax, General Motors Mirage and i-MiEV, Mitsubishi Jeep Patriot, Jeep Compass, Fiat 500L and Dodge Journey, FCA Smart Fortwo, Daimler]

The Truth About Vehicles » Vehicle Testimonials

Petition Demands That Sergio Spin Off Jeep in Order to Save It

Jeep Wranglers Coming Down The Line In Toledo

A group of Jeep fans desires Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne to make a Sophie’s Selection-style selection to save their beloved offroader.

To steer clear of the destruction of the storied brand at the hands of its parent organization, FCA must cast it loose, the group states in a strongly-worded Change.org petition.

“As owners and fans of Jeep vehicles, we are calling on Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to separate Jeep from FCA’s steady of failing brands and debt,” the petition states. “We urge FCA to execute a spinoff to save Jeep.”

The group claims the sturdy-performing Jeep has FCA’s 6 billion euro debt hanging more than its head like a guillotine, whilst its association with owner Fiat risks undermining the brand’s reputation for rugged high quality. By spinning off the brand like FCA did with Ferrari, Jeep could survive as an independent, they claim.

The group goes on to say that although Jeep (like Ram) is a single of FCA’s chief funds makers, its sales performance is being taken for granted by Marchionne, who is using the brand as a money cow to lessen his company’s debt load.

“FCA’s strategy is not to honor the Jeep brand, but to cannibalize it,” they claim.

The petition was started by Michael Turk, a Virginia resident and life-extended Jeep aficionado. Turk’s first car was a 1985 CJ7, and he’s considering that bought two a lot more Wranglers, with a 1953 CJ-3B project car awaiting restoration.

In an e mail to TTAC, he acknowledged the extreme unlikeliness of his petition swaying the head of FCA into cutting loose one of his top income generators. Turk sees it just as giving a voice to the “undercurrent of concern” for the brand among Jeep loyalists.

“I began the petition since I am concerned that the headwinds for FCA spell disaster for Jeep,” he stated, adding that the troubles afflicting the brand concerns a lot more than just corporate debt.

“The coming increases in emissions requirements spell problems for a business that sees most of its income from light trucks and SUVs. Unless they make important changes (and its not clear they have the capital to do so) the stream of money from Jeep sales may possibly soon run quick and that will leave couple of very good choices for the brand.”

Turk said he’d like to see the petition turn out to be a “rallying point” for Jeep lovers, and hopes it compels FCA executives to commence seeing its customers as people, not marketplace share.

TTAC reached out to Jeep public relations officials about the petition, who chose not to comment on the matter.


The Truth About Vehicles » Vehicle Evaluations

2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4×4 Assessment – A Gimmick Wrapped in Nostalgia

2015 Jeep Renedate Trailhawk (15 of 20)

2.4-liter Tigershark SOHC I-4, MultiAir 2 variable valve and lift timing (180 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm; 175 lbs-ft of torque @ 3,900 rpm)

Nine-speed ZF 948TE automatic transmission w/ Jeep Active Drive Low 4×4

21 city/29 highway/24 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

20.5 mpg on the 50/50 city/hwy, 100-percent frustrated driver cycle (Observed, MPG)

Tested Options: Trailer Tow Group, Premium Leather Group, Premium Navigation Group, Safety and Security Group, My Sky Open Air Roof System – Power/Removable Panels, Keyless Enter ‘n Go w/ Push Button Start, Black Hood Decal, 9 Amplified Speakers w/ Subwoofer, ParkView Rear Back-up Camera, Remote Start System.

Base Price (Trailhawk):
$ 26,990* (U.S.)/$ 32,795* (Canada)
As Tested Price:
$ 33,255* (U.S.)/$ 39,525* (Canada)

* All prices include $ 995 destination fee (U.S.) or $ 1,795 destination fee and A/C tax (Canada).

There’s a reason why legions of buyers deplete their expendable income to welcome thousands upon thousands of Wranglers to their paved driveways in planned subdivisions every single year. Even if you never use all the capability offered by Jeep’s mainstay, you have the appearance of being able to tackle anything that comes your way, whether it be a blizzard in Southern Texas or spontaneous volcanic eruption in Manhattan. It also helps that you can take the top off, adopt the persona of one of those lightly bearded, unachievably cool college dropouts in the Jeep commercials, and see yourself living the perfect life that’s somewhere between Bear Grylls and Socality Barbie. (Though, pee-drinking endorser Grylls also endorses Land Rover over the much-romanticized Wrangler.)

So, what if you could have all that freedom in a more economical, slightly less brutish, equally colourful package? And what if it was “crafted” in Italy just like that Dolce and Gabbana bag that totally isn’t a Chinese knockoff?

Enter the Renegade. What used to be a special edition version of CJs and Wranglers is now a redressed Italian with more lifestyle gimmicks and kitch than one can fit in an artisanal Instagram feed.

2015 Jeep Renedate Trailhawk (16 of 20)

Exterior
Easter eggs are fun. I like fun. You like fun. We all like fun.

What I don’t like are easter eggs that show how much more fun I could be having in a real Jeep.

For starters, there are about eighty zillion seven-slot Jeep grilles on the Renegade. They’re in the headlamps, taillamps, rearview mirror, speaker grille frames (grilles on grilles!), center console and the interior plastic panel of the rear hatch. There’s also a virtual army of Willys MAs standing sentry on the rooflatches, floormats and windshield. There’s the map of Moab — where less than one percent of Renegade owners will actually go, so why do we need a permanent map of the place? — and World War II gas can X stamp upon World War II gas can X stamp.

2015 Jeep Renedate Trailhawk (13 of 20)

But, the thing that bugs me the most about the Renegade is the color. Not this particular shade of Sierra Blue, but its pairing with the burn-your-retinas red that adorns the inside trim pieces, exterior badges and front tow hooks.

Jeep: just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

2015 Jeep Renedate Trailhawk (19 of 20)

Our tester was fitted with the powered version of the Renegade’s “My Sky” open-air roof system, giving you the option of opening the front panel like a sunroof that you can’t see through when closed, or removing both front and rear panels and storing them in the trunk. Those panels require a special tool to remove them that’s so small that you’ll likely lose it. Also, the ease of removal isn’t a walk in the park. I’ve seen a 5-foot-nothing, 22-year-old female exert less effort taking the roof off a Del Sol than it took me to remove the roof panels from the Renegade. It’s not that the panels are heavy; they’re just awkward. Thankfully, the panels aren’t so clunky that they take up a huge amount of cargo space.

2015 Jeep Renedate Trailhawk (20 of 20)

As for the Renegade being a “small SUV,” well, see for yourself. The stretched version of the iconic Jeep Wrangler is nearly 15-feet-4-inches long. The Renegade? Nearly 13-feet-11-inches long.

The Renegade is longer than a Wranglerbut just a little over a foot shorter than the Unlimited. The Wrangler, regardless of length, is only 2 inches wider.

As for offroading, the Renegade’s short overhangs and ground clearance (6.7 to 8.7 inches depending on drivetrain and trim) will likely handle anything a future Renegade owner will throw at it. For those opting for the Trailhawk, you can even attack 19 inches of water for those flash floods in Houston when you’re really jonesing for some Marlboros and have to go to the store.

Regardless of its offroad capability, it looks cute. And I don’t think a Jeep should ever look cute.

2015 Jeep Renedate Trailhawk (8 of 20)

Interior
Whoever has been cracking out the handsomely penned interior designs at Chrysler lately obviously went on a long sabbatical when the Renegade project came around.

The steering wheel is standard Chrysler fare, so I will give that a pass. Same with UConnect, which works flawlessly except when it doesn’t.

Meanwhile, everything else looks and feels decidedly cheap. The seats aren’t much to look at, even though our tester was trimmed with the upgraded option. The red surrounds with their slight metallic shimmer are about one step away from being 99 cent clip-on earrings for your nearly-tween daughter. Also, the gimmicks continue in the instrument panel with a paintball splatter to totally denote the redline, bro.

2015 Jeep Renedate Trailhawk (5 of 20)

The return of button blanks continues the cheapness. Even on this top trim Trailhawk, loaded up with extras, the center stack featured five button blanks in a row of eight possible placements. I thought we were done with this. Same goes for the awkwardly placed 4×4 selector and USB port that are way out of reach of the driver which causes he/she/xe to take their eyes off the road.

There was also never a time when I felt comfortable in the Renegade. The driving position was a bit off no matter how much I adjusted.

2015 Jeep Renedate Trailhawk (17 of 20)

Without the roof panels stowed, and assuming you left the panel bag at home, the cargo area will take on 18.5 cubes with seats up and 50.8 cubes with seats folded. The Patriot, which costs less, will swallow more. The Wrangler can’t take as much stuff as the Renegade when seats are up (12.8 cubic feet) but maximum cargo yields an extra 4.2 cubic feet of volume.

2015 Jeep Renedate Trailhawk (2 of 20)

Infotainment
I really like Uconnect when it isn’t trying to kill us. I liked it in the Charger and I’ll continue liking it even if security is engineered by the Jin Xu Hi Sieve Manufacturing Co. It might not be as nice to look at as some of the next-generation systems coming online over the next year or two, but it sure does everything I want.

That said, with the 9-speaker audio upgrade, the Renegade only sounds OK. The car feels a bit tinny, and the audio makes that more apparent. It’s as if the sound waves have an endless number of empty spaces behind the door panels in which to reverberate. Also, this UConnect system sports the 6.5-inch touchscreen, but looking at the molding around the screen tells me the Renegade could have been easily fitted with the 8.4-inch screen and Jeep simply decided not to offer it.

2015 Jeep Renedate Trailhawk (7 of 20)

Powertrain
In the engine and transmission department, the Renegade offers two choices. Unfortunately, neither of those choices are, well, good.

For starters, a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is offered as standard. It makes do with 160 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. Our Trailhawk tester comes standard with the 2.4-liter “World Engine” four cylinder with 180 horsepower and 175 lbs-ft of torque. The turbo can only be had with a six-speed manual. The larger, naturally aspirated 2.4 gets the nine-speed ZF automatic as the sole transmission.

Before I even looked at the spec sheet, I took the Renegade for a drive. The 2.4-liter Tigershark isn’t what you would call smooth or refined, and neither is the nine-speed autobox. It felt like I was driving a small turbo mill with a bad DCT. It’s a dreadful pairing, like inviting Kanye West to any awards show. Whatever you are trying to accomplish will be interrupted at least once, maybe multiple times.

There was one moment during my drive that helped me decide the 2.4-liter and automatic should die a painful, horrific death. As I was merging onto the highway, I saw a vehicle approaching from behind that had been hidden at first glance behind a barricade. To try to get out of the way, I floored it.

One second. The revs are rising but I am not going any faster.

Two seconds. Revs are basically at redline but still no change in the rate of acceleration.

Three seconds. The transmission finally decides what gear it wants to select, grabs it and my rate of acceleration is only marginally better.

Around town or just cruising is a friendlier story, but that moment on the highway as much faster traffic was barrelling down on me was not just concerning, but also sincerely scary.

The cherry on top: Fuel economy clocked in at 3.5 mpg lower than the combined rating — and the rating of 24 mpg isn’t all that brilliant to begin with. If you are looking for a usable powertrain with decent fuel economy, you are better off with a Patriot with the six-speed automatic.

2015 Jeep Renedate Trailhawk (12 of 20)

Drive
Despite what I said about the Wrangler, I like it a lot. I like it so much, in fact, that if the Charger thing doesn’t work out and Ford doesn’t build a Bronco, a Wrangler might be the next vehicle to grace my paved driveway in our hastily planned 1980s subdivision.

The Renegade, on the other hand, tries to leverage all the cool of the Wrangler, but is nothing more than a gimmick wrapped in nostalgia. Even worse, the gimmicks try to hide a bad powertrain and numerous other flaws. While the MultiAir 2 valve system and ZF nine speed might be engineering marvels, they don’t make for an enjoyable drive.

And it doesn’t stop there. The Trailhawk offers up ride quality that would make the Lada Niva blush. For a faux-roader with no destination other than a local, artisanal butcher only selling chickens that have been stroked in a motherly fashion at least 10 times every week, the Renegade Trailhawk isn’t going to be taking on the Rubicon Trail anytime soon.

For all this, our tester rang in at $ 33,255. In Canada, it costs an even more dear $ 39,525. Before taxes.

*jaw drop*

For that money, you can get the Wrangler and enjoy a real drop top. You can even spend a little more and get into a Land Rover LR2 if you fancy yourself a urine-drinking adventuristHell, if you don’t need the off road capability, the choices are as vast as the open prairie.

I really wanted to like the Renegade because I hate the idea of it. I really wanted it to prove me wrong and show me Jeep can build an SUV with this level of off road capability without losing all the pleasantries that makes the competition so damn good. I like being surprised, even if it means being proved wrong. Yet, I think this is an answer to a question that was asked but shouldn’t have been. Or maybe simply a wrong answer. We all do that now and then, so I’ll forgive you, Jeep.


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