2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk: Triangulating
by Dan Frio, Automotive Editor on June 29, 2016
Remember the triangle offense, the innovative basketball scheme that coach Phil Jackson refined to lead the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers to NBA championships? (For that matter, do you remember when the Lakers competed for championships?)
Our 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk has its own kind of triangle strategy that connects the left and right sides of the steering wheel and the shift lever.
Here's why this is important: The transmission.
It's a dead horse and we've beaten it well. But I've found the transmission reasonably livable if you're willing to control your own gearchanges and keep the Renegade out of its mostly useless 8th and 9th gears (8th gear does offer some quiet to an overstressed engine when out on the highway, however).
So you keep the left hand anchored on the wheel, say around 8 or 9 o'clock, while the right hand is free to float between the wheel, the cruise control buttons, and the shift lever. If you're driving around town or in swift, high-volume traffic, you'll be floating between those points on the triangle often, trying to keep the Renegade in its sweet spot. You can't trust the transmission computer to do this for you. Well you can, of course, but you may soon want to disembowel yourself.
Bonus points go to Fiat/Chrysler's steering wheel audio controls. While you're steadying the wheel with both hands, you can adjust volume with a rocker switch on the backside of the wheel on the right side using an index or middle finger.
There's a rocker on the left side too, which controls next/previous track. Fiat/Chrysler cars have used this design for awhile and it's genius. Your fingers are already there. Why not use them?
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor @ 22,915 miles