2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk: Rides Better Than an Early Sample Vehicle
August 24, 2015
Our new 2015 Jeep Renegade is not the first one I've driven. We had a pre-production loaner in for a look about three months ago. A few things about that early model bugged me, specifically the ride. It felt stiff-legged and sproingy, as if up on tiptoes. It wasn't as settled as I'd have liked.
I'm glad to say our production Trailhawk has a calmer demeanor. I'm not quite sure if the suspension is actually softer — it may or may not have different spring rates — but it sure does breathe better.
At the risk of treading onto technical ground, the damping seems to be somewhat more relaxed in compression, and I think I detect a better balance between compression and rebound. This sort of difference would result from an alteration to the internal valving of the struts and shocks, a different tune.
New vehicles, particularly all-new models like the Renegade, go through a lot of last-minute tweaks as the start of production draws near. It isn't unheard of for certain specifications to get changed between pilot-production — the source of early press, marketing and other sample vehicles — and full-scale production.
Suspension settings typically get locked down fairly early, but 11th-hour tuning changes are not out of the question. But that's not the only way it can go. I have personally been involved in situations where the damper spec was fine, but the supplier goofed up the trial build. Pilot-production exists to sort this stuff out before dealer shipments begin in earnest.
The other irritant was the pre-production Renegade's My Sky removable roof panels. I wasn't a fan. There isn't a surplus of cargo room inside a Renegade to begin with, and it seemed to me those roof panels would have to stay at home if you wanted to drive around with great big holes in your roof.
This isn't a flaw, per se. But it is an option, and I'm happy we didn't go there when we laid down money for our very own Jeep Renegade Trailhawk. Our Trailhawk enjoys a fully intact roof and a lower price tag.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 1,686 miles