2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk: More Long-Distance Driving Impressions
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on April 1, 2016
We drove our 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk to Detroit and back earlier this year, racking up plenty of miles. More recently, I added an extra 250-mile leg to a road trip I made in our long-term Kia Optima and, because of some logistical reasons, swapped out the Optima for the Renegade to do it. This presented an opportunity for additional observations, this time with my family (wife, two small children) in tow.
I had to transfer much of what I loaded up in the Optima's trunk to the Renegade. Based on the specs, that wouldn't be a problem. The Optima's trunk holds 15.8 cubic feet of stuff. In the Renegade, you've got 18.5 cubic feet to work with behind the second-row seats.
But the Renegade's figure assumes you're loading up to the roof.
I've never been fond of stacking to the brim since it blocks rear visibility and places potentially loose items right behind your rear occupants' heads. But sometimes you've just got to do it. And to the Renegade's credit, its boxy shape allowed me to make the most of that space.
As for passenger space, the Renegade has plenty of rear headroom and a decent amount of rear legroom. With my wife and I sitting up front, my kids seemed content in back. I got a vibe of compactness from the Renegade — we were also sitting closer together than we were in the Optima — but it's not a claustrophobic setting, either. It reminded me a lot of what it's like driving a compact hatchback, actually.
I also like the Renegade's driver seat comfort and driving position. Although this pint-sized Jeep can ride a bit rough over broken highway pavement and isn't terribly quiet, I really felt just fine even after multiple hours at the wheel.
Since I was only driving about 250 miles, I didn't have to worry about the Renegade's modest fuel range, as Travis and Mike did on their LA-Detroit drives. With some traffic-clogged city driving mixed in, fuel economy ended up being 22.8 mpg.
Ultimately, our Renegade Trailhawk struck me as a vehicle I'd rather keep in town rather than constantly heading out for long family trips in. But Jeep didn't design it for that anyway. For the occasional weekend drive to the mountains or the lake, a Renegade should be just fine.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 19,932 miles