Archive for Jeep

Review: 2019 Jeep Cherokee North – Part 5

Posted in Products with tags on August 23, 2019 by itnerd

So I have come to the end of my week long review of the Jeep Cherokee North. And my conclusion goes something like this. Final fuel economy was 11 L / 100KM which is higher than what I am used to. But still decent seeing as I was on city streets and heavy traffic on the highway during my time with it. Which meant that the 9 speed automatic transmission really could not show off what it is capable of.

The North in its base form goes for $34,416 (the base price for the Cherokee overall is $27,021 for the record) and while it does come with a fair amount of kit, it is missing key safety features like blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alerts and the like. To get those, you have to pony up $895 for the SafetyTec group which includes the following:

  • Blind Spot Monitoring With Rear Cross Path Detection
  • Exterior Mirror With Courtesy Lamp
  • Exterior Mirror With Supplemental Turn Signal
  • Park-Sense Rear Park Assist System
  • Power Heated Mirrors With Turn Signal And Lamp

That brings you to $35,222. And you don’t get autonomous emergency braking. For that, you need to go up to the Limited trim level and pick the technology group which makes the price $37,600. And right there that illustrates the main Achilles heel of the Jeep Cherokee. The price. Many people who cross shop it across competitors like the Honda CR-V Toyota RAV 4 or Mazda CX-5 will see that those vehicles have many these features at a much lower price point. While it is true that the Jeep will do much better off road and it has a V6 option, I am not sure that shoppers will care and may take their business elsewhere as a result. The reasons being is that unless you tow stuff, the V6 is non-factor for many who want four cylinder vehicles for fuel economy purposes. Plus 95% of SUVs never touch dirt which makes the Jeep’s off road capabilities a non-factor. That’s a bit of a shame as this is a nice vehicle and it does merit a look if you’re looking for a vehicle of this size. Perhaps Jeep or more accurately Fiat Chrysler may want to look at this as this vehicle that merits more attention than it currently gets.

Review: 2019 Jeep Cherokee North – Part 4

Posted in Products with tags on August 22, 2019 by itnerd

he technology in the 2019 Jeep Cherokee North isn’t the longest list that I’ve had to cover given that I have the base model at my disposal, but there’s tech here that’s worth talking about. On the safety front, there’s this:

  • 8 standard airbags
  • Rear backup camera.

Options like blind spot mounting, autonomous emergency braking and the like are available as options.

A highlight in terms of the tech are the LED headlights. Not only are they bright and illuminate the road in front of you very well, but when you corner they direct extra light toward the direction that you are turning. This is a very good feature that I wish was on more vehicles.

Now to the UConnect system. Seeing as it has been a couple of years since I have reviewed a Fiat Chrysler product, UConnect has undergone some refinement as the graphics are better and the system seems more fluid. Most notably it now comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay which are welcome additions. But what hasn’t changed is the ease of use. It took me seconds to pair my iPhone via Bluetooth everything worked the way I expected. Plugging in my iPhone via USB allowed use of CarPlay. There are redundant controls that are well designed and easy to reach. When it comes to the design part, I’ll use the controls on the steering wheel as an example. Individual buttons have their own feel so that once you know what the functions are, you can use them purely based on feel. It’s excellent system to use. The one thing that I will mention as a negative is that I found that the 7″ screen made the UConnect user interface feel kind of cramped. If it were me buying this vehicle, I’d be opting for the 8.4″ screen which is just a joy to use from previous experience. Related to this, the audio system was decent. But people who care about audio will likely want to upgrade to the Alpine sound system that’s available as an option.

In the last part of my review, I’ll wrap up some loose ends and I will give you my final verdict.

 

Review: 2019 Jeep Cherokee North – Part 3

Posted in Products with tags on August 21, 2019 by itnerd

The interior of the 2019 Jeep Cherokee North is has some upscale touches and will be somewhere where you’ll enjoy spending your driving time in. Let me walk you through it so that you can see what I mean:

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The drivers seat has some grippy cloth material that holds you in place, and is comfortable once you use the power adjustments to find a seating position that works for you as it took me a couple of days of tweaking things to give me a balance between headroom and legroom. I did wish it was longer to better support my thighs though. From the drivers seat, I found visibility all around the vehicle to be decent.

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The chrome colored door handle does a good job of contrasting the black plastic, soft touch material, and leather. You can also see the power windows and mirror controls. You have a decent sized storage bin underneath.

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Exterior and interior lighting controls can be seen here along with the foot well where you can see the dead pedal which is handy for comfort during long drives.

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There’s a clear and easy to read instrument cluster. In the middle is a TFT screen where you can customize it with all sorts of info that is useful to you.

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The steering wheel is leather wrapped and comfortable to hold. It also has all the controls for the Connect infotainment system which I will speak more of in part 4 of this review.

IMG_1083This is the 7″ UConnect infotainment screen which seems small to me as I have been in vehicles where the 8.4″ screen is present and in the process makes it the star of the interior. Below that are the HVAC controls. And you’ll see on the left that the Cherokee North requires a key instead of being push button start.

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A unique feature of the Jeep Cherokee North is this storage area for sunglasses on the dash. This supplements the one on the roof.

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There’s a cubby that’s just fits an iPhone XS and is a tight fit for an iPhone XR, both with cases. You can also see the wheel that allows you to tweak the 4×4 system to match the terrain that you are on. The shifter is leather wrapped.

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Here you can see the shifter along with the electronic parking brake, the two cupholders which pass the Starbucks venti test, and a space behind them for a pen.

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Besides the wheel to control the 4×4 system, there’s a USB port, and AUX jack, and a 12V DC port.

IMG_1087‘There’s also a USB port and a 12V DC outlet in this storage area which doubles as an armrest.

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There’s a lit glovebox that has a fair amount of space.

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On the front passenger side, there’s this netting to hold magazines or maps.

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The back seats can comfortably carry two adults easily as long as the driver or front passenger aren’t too tall. Three adults back here isn’t going to happen comfortably because of the hump in the middle.

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Besides the HVAC vents, you’ll see at the bottom a pair of USB ports for use by rear seat passengers.

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If you don’t need to carry three people, there are two cupholders that are for use by rear seat passengers.

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There is a ton of room in the back for anything that you need to carry. Plus there’s 60/40 folding seats to give you even more room. On top of that…..

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There is a storage area underneath the floor.

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You can see that our weekly groceries haul didn’t come close to maxing out the available space back here.

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And on the hatch there’s a handle that allows you to close the hatch without getting your hands dirty. That’s handy as this is a manual hatch.

The build quality of the Jeep Cherokee North was pretty good with no rattles or squeaks noted during my time with it. The only thing that I did note was that the handle above had a tendency to come apart slightly. That required you to pop it back into place. It did that twice under my watch. Other than that, I didn’t notice anything else.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about the technology that comes the the Jeep Cherokee North. Being the base model, the tech that does come with it is worth talking about so I would tune in for that.

 

Review: 2019 Jeep Cherokee North – Part 2

Posted in Products with tags on August 20, 2019 by itnerd

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This is the 2.4L 4 cylinder “Tiger Shark” engine that powers the 2019 Jeep Cherokee North. It puts out 180 HP and 170 pound feet of torque and is mated to a 9 speed automatic transmission that shifts very smoothly. If for some reason that isn’t enough power for you, Jeep can hook you up with either a 3.2L “Pentastar” V6 that puts out 271 HP and 239 pound feet of torque, or a 2.0L turbo 4 cylinder that puts out 270 HP and 295 pound feet of torque. But the base engine off the line and on the highway seems to be plenty powerful enough for me as I had no issue passing vehicles on the highway or merging safely onto the highway. Nor did I feel that I was lacking for power in any situation.

All the power goes to all four wheels via Jeep’s “Active Drive I” 4×4 system which can be left in auto mode to do all the thinking for you in terms of what wheels need power, or you can put it into one of three other modes depending on the terrain:

  • Sand/Mud
  • Snow
  • Sport

While it did rain in the first couple of days that I had the Cherokee, I did not notice the 4×4 system being used with the exception of feeling the rear differential engage off the line on one occasion. I was not able to reproduce that so I consider that to be a one off. Based on that, one could conclude that anything that it does, it tries to do so transparently which is the way it should be.

Handling is very, very good. I consider the Mazda CX-5 to be the gold standard in the compact SUV class for handling, and the Jeep handles well enough that I would put it into the same conversation as the Mazda. Though I will admit that the Mazda is a notch or two above the Jeep. I say that because the ride is firm yet compliant with the only thing that might be objectionable is going over a speed bump at anything over 10 KM/h. I also like that I can easily feel what the Jeep is doing underneath me which inspires confidence. Steering is also pretty good as it provides the feedback that you need to feel what the Jeep is doing.

Tire noise is very well muted and while engine noise is present, it isn’t objectionable. But it is perhaps more noticeable to the drive as the engine has a stop start feature that’s present to save gas. Now this is defeatable, but only until the next time you start the car. Thus leaving it on might be the best option. Speaking of gas, I am currently getting 11.4 L/100 KM which isn’t great, but I expect that to improve over the week that I am doing this review.

Tomorrow I will be walking you through the interior of the Jeep Cherokee North. It’s an interesting interior that I will be spending a lot of time to dissect. Stay tuned!

Review: 2019 Jeep Cherokee North – Part 1

Posted in Products with tags on August 19, 2019 by itnerd

Two weeks ago my world got turned upside down when I was rear ended at 80 Km/h on the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto. I was uninjured, but it sent my 2016 Hyundai Tucson which just finished taking us to the east coast and back into the shop for repairs. My insurance company then put my wife and I into a similar vehicle while ours was being repaired. The vehicle that we got was the 2019 Jeep Cherokee North:

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The one thing that is immediately apparent is that Fiat Chrysler has moved away from the polarizing styling of the previous model. I didn’t mind it, but sections of the Internet exploded with rage upon seeing it. But it’s still recognizable as a Cherokee. Even from a distance.

Now I haven’t reviewed a Fiat Chrysler product in a while so I decided to take the opportunity to see what the company had been up to. Now one thing to keep in mind is that usually a car company will give me a fully loaded model with all the toys to drive for a week. In this case, I got a base model which is not surprising as this came from a rental car company. It will be interesting to see how that goes.

My review of the 2019 Jeep Cherokee North is made up of five parts:

  • Exterior
  • Engine, transmission, handling, fuel economy, and driving comfort
  • Interior
  • Technology in the vehicle
  • Wrap up

The next part of this review will cover the engine, transmission and driving comfort. There’s a lot on that front to unpack, so tune in tomorrow to see what I have to say.

Review: Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4×4 – Part 5

Posted in Products with tags on November 13, 2015 by itnerd

So I’ve come to the end of the review of the Jeep Renegade. First let me wrap up a few loose ends. At the end of my week with it I registered 10.3 L/100KM in mixed city and highway driving, a lot of which was in rush hour traffic. Now, given that this is a vehicle that has a 4×4 system driving the wheels, that’s actually not too shabby.

So what is the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4×4 going to cost you? As equipped it was $38,825. But the Renegade starts at $19,995 with lots of options in between that and what I drove. So you can find likely one that fits your budget. If I were to cross shop it against similar vehicles, I’d pick the Honda HR-V, Nissan Juke and Chevy Trax, Buick Encore, and the Mazda CX-3 that I reviewed earlier this year. However, none of those vehicles has the off road capabilities of the Renegade, which makes the Renegade unique in my opinion. It also brings a lot of utility to the table in a small package, including the ability to carry four humans in it, or a healthy amount of cargo. That’s not a minor point if you need a vehicle of this size that is capable of doing absolutely everything you need it to. If you’re looking for a sub compact sport utility vehicle that actually delivers on the utility part the Jeep Renegade has to be on your shopping list.

Review: Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4×4 – Part 4

Posted in Products with tags on November 12, 2015 by itnerd

The technology in the Jeep Renegade is an interesting mix. Let’s start with the safety technology:

  • Front, front seat, side curtain Side, and drivers knee blocker air bags
  • Blind-Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross-Path Detection – One note about the blind spot monitoring is that it it warns you when cars are in your blind spot. Some other systems warn you when they are approaching your blind spot. I think that Jeep might want to tweak that a bit.
  • Rear back up camera
  • The usual traction control, stability control, tire pressure monitoring systems.

The next thing is the key. It’s a proximity key that allows you to walk up, open the door, press the start button, and drive away. You can also remote start the Renegade, and unlock the doors. Like other Chrysler vehicles I’ve reviewed, there’s also a real key on the inside. When you want to lock the car, simply press a button on the door handle when you get out of the car. Net result: You never have to take the proximity key out of your pocket.

Now on to the UConnect infotainment system. It’s now into its fifth iteration and it’s still very good. Navigation is still provided by Garmin which is a good thing. And as usual, it took me seconds to pair my iPhone via Bluetooth and make everything work the way I expected. Plugging in my iPhone via USB allowed me access to all the music and playlists on it. The voice recognition was good, though I had trouble with street names. The system is still powered by a 6.5″ touchscreen which while smaller than I am used it, it is clear and easy to read in all lighting conditions. The only suggestion that I would make to Jeep is that most screens are angled slightly towards the driver so that it is easy to glance at. This one isn’t and that can throw the driver for a bit of a loop from an ergonomics perspective. Thus they may wish to remedy that. There are redundant controls that are well designed and easy to reach. When it comes to the design part, I’ll use the controls on the steering wheel as an example. Individual buttons have their own feel so that once you know what the functions are, you can use them purely based on feel.

No matter where I was sitting, the audio was fantastic. It puts out over 500 watts of audio to 9 speakers and a subwoofer, it has crisp highs and well defined bass with zero distortion. I was very impressed by that. Kudos to Jeep for providing a top notch stereo.

The final part of this review will tie up some loose ends and I’ll give you my final verdict. Watch for it on Friday.

Review: Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4×4 – Part 3

Posted in Products with tags on November 11, 2015 by itnerd

The interior of the Jeep Renegade is a very interesting one and it has a few surprises included in the package. Let’s start with the front of the Renegade:

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The doors have a mix of hard plastic and soft touch materials. The chrome handles make for a more classy appearance. The red accented speaker is cool as well.

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The driver’s seat is made of leather and it has power adjustable. The front passenger gets the same treatment minus the power adjustments.

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The seats have the Trailhawk logo on them so that you always remember what you’re driving.

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The steering wheel is chunky and is not only leather wrapped but heated. It feels good in your hands and has the buttons and switches for cruise control and the infotainment system on it.

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The gauge cluster is a pair of mechanical dials with a TFT screen in the middle. You can use that screen to display anything from fuel economy (which is what you see here), to music and navigation directions. It was visible in all lighting conditions. Oh, if you look closely at the tachometer, you’ll see that on the numbers 7 and 8 where the red line indicator usually is, there is a splash of mud. Cute.

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If you enlarge this picture and look closely below the Start/Stop button, you’ll see the words “To New Adventures.” That’s one of the surprises that I was alluding to. There’s another one that I’ll get to in a bit.

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The rest of the dash is a very “funky” design” as it has a couple of vents above the center console, a grab handle to the right, and a variety of switchgear below the 6.5″ touchscreen. The dash has a mix of hard plastic and soft touch materials.

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Above the touchscreen are the words “Since 1941” which is a reference to the Willys MB Jeeps from World War II.

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Here’s the dials for the dual zone climate control along with the 4×4 system. Plus there’s the USB and AUX ports and a 12V outlet below them. There’s a cubby below that that’s best used for spare change.

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Here’s a closer look at cubby. It has a liner with a topographical map on it. I didn’t notice it, but my wife pointed it out to me.

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The shifter and the cupholders are accented in red which is an interesting touch. I should also note that at night they light up as well. Below the shifter, you get an electronic parking brake and the button to disable the stability control.

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It will hold a Starbucks Venti sized drink. But I do note that the cupholders are not deep. Thus I wonder if you’ll be wearing your beverage if you make a sudden evasive maneuver. It’s also too low and too far back from a ergonomics perspective to comfortably grab any coffee that’s in the cupholders.

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The armrest is adjustable and has a decent sized storage area with a USB port in it.

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There’s a decent sized lit glove box.

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Since I am typically the designated driver when my friends and I go out to the bar, I got the chance to use the Renegade to ferry my friends home. Two people fit into the back, though I had to move my seat forward to make that happen. They commented on how comfortable it was back there.

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The Renegade has 40-20-40 folding seats and can seat three in the back. But if you only need to seat two people, you can leverage these cupholders. I’ll also note that there’s a pass-through section for long objects.

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A handy feature that the Renegade has is a AC outlet for back seat passengers.

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A cool feature is the My Sky Open Air Roof System which gives you a power tilt/slide removable dual-panel roof. The front half can be opened like your typical sunroof. But both roof panels can be removed leaving you with open sky to look at. The removal process is easy…. Unless you’re 5′ 6″ like my wife in which case it can be a bit challenging… All the tools needed to pop the panels off are included.

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When detached, the roof panels stow neatly in the height-adjustable rear cargo area inside this bag.

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I leveraged the cargo area and the 40-20-40 folding seats to bring home some long items from the store.

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Our weekly shopping trip required us to fold down one of the rear seats to get our shopping into the Renegade because we bought so much.

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Underneath the floor in the cargo area is a full sized spare.

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On the left side of the cargo area is rechargeable flashlight to the right of the speaker.

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Here’s a closer look at the flashlight in question.

Now, what’s the other surprise? Remember that in part one of this review I showed you this picture with the comment that you should remember this look because we’d be revisiting it?

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Here’s why I wanted you to remember this look. If you look around the Renegade, you see subtle and not so subtle hints of this look. Here are some examples:

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The tool that allows you to remove the roof panels.

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Behind the rear view mirror.

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The middle portion of the tail light.

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The speaker.

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Even on the gauge cluster.

There are other examples, but I’ll leave them for you to find. Plus there’s other little things like this scattered about the interior. It will make the Renegade kind of cool to some. To others, this attempt to immerse the driver in everything Jeep might be a bit over the top. One thing that I do have to say about the interior is that I had lots of headroom and it was well put together. Though I did note some squeaking that I traced to the roof. Removing and refitting the roof panels fixed that. There was also a rattling sound that I traced to the area around the glove box. But even removing everything in the glove box, I couldn’t find the source of the rattling. But even with that, I have to say that this is a pretty good interior that I think that buyers will like.

In part four, I’ll look at the technology inside the Renegade. Stay tuned!

Review: Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4×4 – Part 2

Posted in Products with tags on November 10, 2015 by itnerd

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The engine that motivates the Jeep Renegade is a Tigershark 2.4L four-cylinder that puts out 180 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. That’s quite a lot of power given the size of the Renegade. It’s mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission that can be manually shifted and power goes to all four wheels via a all-wheel drive system that has this going for it:

  • Automatic mode: It’s front-wheel drive only until it senses slippage which saves you gas
  • Low mode
  • Full-lock mode
  • Hill-descent mode

If that’s not enough, you can also turn the Selec-Terrain dial to set it to Snow, Sand, Mud and Rock modes. So unlike most of the competition in the sub compact SUV space, the Renegade can actually go off road and handle any conditions that it encounters. The question is how well does this setup work? Well, it depends on if we’re talking on-road or off road.

Up first are the on road capabilities of the Renegade. When I put my foot down on the highway to pass a truck or to merge onto the highway, it accelerates decently but it takes the Renegade time to get up to whatever speed you want to be at. Part of that is due to the fact the transmission takes takes a while to go from gear to gear. So if you’re expecting neck snapping performance from the Renegade, don’t. Thus you should plan your highway merging and highway passing accordingly. I also note that under some conditions, shifts can sometimes be jerky. Specifically under sustained acceleration when merging onto a highway. Once up to speed it’s more nimble than you think it should be. I found the Renegade easy to maneuver, park and dart through traffic. Though you need to keep your enthusiasm in check as it is a top heavy SUV that does have limits when you’re on an on ramp for example. On the highway it is a capable cruiser once you get it up to speed. You also get beyond excellent visibility in all directions, and that includes out the back where you’d think you’d have blind spots. And the huge mirrors that come with the Renegade really help with your visibility. Thus you should be able to keep track of what’s around you with ease. The suspension was on the firm side, but it largely soaked up road imperfections and did its best to control body roll, so I was okay with that.

When it comes to the off road capabilities of the Renegade, I headed to a gravel road in Belfountain which is north west of Toronto that has very steep uphills, downhills and sharp turns to try it out. It’s usually frequented by the pickup trucks and SUVs that are owned by the farmers in the area. Because of how rough the roads are, I only take “real” off road vehicles there to test and the Renegade qualifies as it was able to deal with this road exceptionally well. Ruts, uneven terrain, and loose gravel did nothing to upset it and I always felt in control. I should also note that there are skid plates that aren’t just there for show on the Renegade. In short, it lives up to the Jeep heritage.

Some other observations:

  • The engine makes a lot of noise when accelerating and you can still hear it while cruising. More so at highway speeds.
  • I noted that there was a grinding sound when I let off the gas pedal and coasted at slow speeds. My assumption is that it is the 4×4 system which is normal, but it is a bit disconcerting to those who aren’t used to this.
  • Wind noise is present at highway speeds.
  • Tire noise can be heard in the cabin, usually at highway speeds.

When it comes to fuel economy, I am currently getting 10.2 L/100 KM in mixed city and highway driving, some of which is in heavy traffic. I’ll see if it gets better as the week goes on.

The next part of the review will look at the interior which is different and has a bit of a surprise. Stay tuned to find out what that surprise is.

Review: Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4×4 – Part 1

Posted in Products with tags on November 9, 2015 by itnerd

Every car company is getting into the sub compact SUV space. The reason being that it’s a fast growing segment of the automotive marketplace. This class of vehicle give you a lot of utility in a small package which makes it perfect for those in urban environments, or for those who don’t need something the size of a Jeep Cherokee or Honda CR-V. Speaking of Jeep, they have a entry into this fast growing segment of the market in the form of the Jeep Renegade:

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From the front, it has all the classic looks of Jeeps of days gone by, but kind of cute at the same time. The two tow hooks on the front are functional by the way. Oh, remember this look because we’ll be revisiting it in part three of this review.

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From the side, the look reminds me of a shrunken Jeep Wrangler.

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The rear reminds me of the Willys MB Jeeps used in World War II that were the originators of the Jeeps that we have today. You should also note that there’s a trailer hitch included with this particular Jeep. That’s an important thing to mention as this Jeep will tow 2000 lbs which is at the top of the sub compact SUV class.

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There’s no gas cap. Instead you simply open the gas flap and stick the nozzle in. This guarantees that is there’s zero chance that you will forget to tighten the gas cap after a fill up which in turn will throw a check engine light.

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I should also note that it’s Trail Rated, which means that unlike most of its competition, the Jeep Renegade has legitimate off road capability. We’ll test that out in part two of this review.

I’ll be posting a multi-part review that will cover the following sections:

  • Engine, transmission, handling, fuel economy, and driving comfort
  • Interior
  • Technology in the vehicle
  • Wrap up

This week, I’ll see if the Jeep Renegade lives up to the Jeep heritage, or if it’s a poser in Jeep’s clothing. Stay tuned.