by Dan Frio, Automotive Editor on September 1, 2016
The nine-speed automatic transmission is arguably our 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk's least-flattering trait. It shifts slow, it shifts often, and it avoids the four-cylinder's power band like the Zika virus. It either has poor programming and calibration or just left the factory too soon. And like Zika, it's spreading, showing up in more and more cars on the market.
But I've made my peace with it.
Michael Massey, Vehicle Testing Assistant on August 23, 2016
I don't know if Trailhawk is an accurate description of the 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk. What I do know is that it's capable enough for the average off-road driver. Living up against the western mountainous edge of the San Fernando Valley, I am afforded plenty of cool opportunities to be off-road or on a winding canyon road.
by Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor on August 11, 2016
Our 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk comes with the new ZF-built nine-speed automatic transmission, in case you didn't know. I'm not the first driver in these parts to find it lacking. Back in March, JKav took it to task for general inadequacy, opining that it "kind of ruin(s) every car it's in."
I'll add that I had the Renegade over the weekend, and on three separate occasions, I lifted off the throttle in a low-speed situation and it felt like I'd been rear-ended.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on June 22, 2016
Saddleback is the common name for a distinctive mountain that hovers over Orange County, California. It really does look like the back of a horse, but in reality it comprises two distinct summits that are about a mile apart: Modjeska Peak and Santiago Peak.
It all resides within the Cleveland National Forest, and there's a network of roads and trails that serve the area. Four of the entry points are available to street-legal motor vehicles. A couple weekends ago I drove our 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk up Indian Truck Trail, along Main Divide to the Santiago summit and back down and out via Bedford Motorway.
by Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor on June 16, 2016
Our 2015 Jeep Renegade has over 22,000 miles on the clock. It has held together well, with only a few hiccups along the way. After some recent seat time I remembered why I like driving it so much. And a few of the things I don't like.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on June 8, 2016
Our 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk is no longer pulling to the right. But the path to getting it sorted out wasn't entirely smooth. That's fairly typical with this kind of thing.
That's because drift/pull is often confused with a different issue: an off-center steering wheel. A proper diagnosis starts with understanding the difference so it can be clearly articulating it to the service technician.
An off-center steering wheel is just what it sounds like. The steering wheel is visibly cocked to one side when driving straight on a typically-crowned road, which is defined as two percent down to the right. You don't feel any unusual resistance, the car will continue on a reasonably straight course if you momentarily release the wheel. The steering wheel is crooked, is all, probably due to a minor alignment problem.
Drift/pull is different and isn't — pardon the pun — as straightforward, possibly because those two words describe the same thing two ways. Pull is what you feel if you find you must apply steering torque to go straight ahead on a normally-crowned road. Drift is the subsequent vehicle movement you see if you stop applying that correctional torque and let go.
But here it gets tricky. When you release the wheel to observe the drift, the wheel may well rotate to that side. But this is not necessarily indicative of an underlying alignment problem unless the wheel is also off-center when you guide the car straight with your hands on the wheel.
It is possible to have both problems at the same time, and that's exactly what was going on with our Jeep Renegade. It had an off-center steering wheel and a pull to the right.
by Dan Frio, Automotive Editor on May 27, 2016
It's still doing it. Our 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk is still pulling to the right.
by Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor on March 3, 2016
It's official. The ZF 9-speed transmission is a dud.
It's in our long-term 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk, Honda Pilot, Acura TLX, and it was in our Jeep Cherokee. I know a lowest common denominator when I see one.
Does the ZF 9-speed ruin every car it's in? Easy, now. That's strong language. Let's not get carried awa- well, okay, you talked me into it. It does kind of ruin every car it's in.
by Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on January 20, 2016
If you missed it, I drove our long-term 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk to Detroit. I wrote about the ins-and-outs of the experience and the Jeep's performance, but the purpose of this update is to recap the numbers: Miles covered, mileage, records and all variety of digits.
Here's what the big picture looked like:
by Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on January 18, 2016
It's pitch black outside and I'm at the wheel of our long-term 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk, crawling along behind a long line of truckers. We're in the only passable lane on the highway and visibility is abysmal. The few motorists that are brave (or stupid) enough to keep driving in these conditions are moving at a snail's pace, following taillights and snow-plow tracks with a blind faith that the road will continue to exist in front of them.
We pass another jack-knifed semi and a late model Ford Ranger stuck in the center median. The driver is spinning all four tires in what looks to be three feet of snow. I feel like it's a sign.
My friend Liam and I have been on the road for eight hours, but we're still at 100 miles from our destination of Keystone, South Dakota and the weather isn't letting up.
by By Matt Jones, Senior Editor on December 31, 2015
For my kid.
I just spent about 20 hours and 1,000 miles in our long term 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk. And although I wouldn't get one for myself, I think it would be great for him.
Not just because my son has the frame of a 90's-era defensive end and the Renegade has gobs of room for a driver of his size, and not just because it's fun, funky, and fits in with the supposed lifestyle that ad agencies would have you believe kids his age lead — beach bonfires, tailgating with guitars, laying on the roof gazing at stars.
I'm sure the Renegade would excel in all such activities. Despite those wins, they aren't the reasons I'd like him to have this car. No, I'm more interested in the car's shortcomings.
by James Riswick, New & Used Car Editor on December 28, 2015
Winter in Southern California is an odd time for those who hail from more northern climes. You'll see a news report of a snow storm in Buffalo or Boston, look outside to see sunny weather in the 70's, and wonder just what the hell is going on. A quick glance at a calendar helps recall that, yep, winter still happens elsewhere. It's a bit of a man-out-of-time feeling.
by Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor on November 5, 2015
The "trail rated" badge on our 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk used to mean something very specific. When it came out around 2004, it was given to certain Jeep vehicles that had the ability to tackle trails that most ordinary SUVs wouldn't dare. Since then, the requirements have changed a bit.
These days, the Trail Rated badge merely implies that the Jeep in question has a certain level of capability in five specific areas: water fording, suspension articulation, maneuverability, ground clearance and traction. What those levels are isn't exactly clear.
by Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor on November 2, 2015
One of the benefits of going for the Trailhawk version of the 2015 Jeep Renegade is the upgraded engine. Instead of the base turbocharged 1.4-liter engine, all Trailhawk models come with the larger 2.4-liter four-cylinder. It's a solid powerplant, both in its refinement and ability to get the Renegade up to speed.
It's a shame that the standard nine-speed transmission isn't nearly as impressive. It shifts smoothly enough under most conditions, but all too often it's a couple gears too high when you need a little power. I find myself constantly prodding the gas pedal to get it to downshift to the right gear. I've even started digging into the gas a little early in anticipation of it sluggishness.
Others on our staff have expressed similar experiences with the Renegade's gearbox. I don't find it nearly as aggravating as they do, but it's still not an ideal setup.
Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor
by Reese Counts, Vehicle Testing Assistant on September 22, 2015
A test track is not the place to really put our 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk through the paces. What we really need is a nice off-road course where we can test the Renegade's four-wheel drive capabilities.
That time will come. For now, we put our Renegade through the same trials as every other Edmunds' long-term test vehicle. Read on to see how the stubby 4x4 measured up on the tarmac.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on September 15, 2015
The 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk is the Trail-Rated version of this new sub-compact crossover. Among all of them, it's the model that someone who might actually travel off-road is likely to buy.
The Renegade Trailhawk has an Active Drive Low system that holds the lowest gear and a Selec-Terrain dial that allows the driver to adjust the traction control to suit conditions. It's fitted with knobbier all-terrain tires, and its 8.7 inches of ground clearance, 30.5 degrees of approach angle, and 34.3 degrees of departure angle are significantly more aggressive than what you'll find on any non-Trailhawk Renegade 4x4.
Ramp Travel Index (RTI) isn't typically found on a specification sheet, but this measure of maximum suspension articulation is nice to know, too. So we pointed our new Renegade Trailhawk up our home-made RTI ramp to see what's up.
by James Riswick, New & Used Car Editor on September 11, 2015
The mission was simple. Small dog with penchant for whining has only been in a car for an hour at a time. Small dog will be on massive day-long drive to Oregon in two weeks. For everyone's sanity, a trip of between one hour and 12 was in order.
Mr. Riswick, lay in a course for Julian, California, and engage at whatever speed our 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk manages to get to (you see, it's quite slow. Also, I've been watching way too much Star Trek recently).
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.
August 14, 2015
We want to know if Jeep is capable of competing in a new, but important, segment. Jeep, like every other automaker, must make smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles in order to meet government emissions and fuel economy standards. Can Jeep reconcile its SUV- and truck-based heritage with the realities of modern emissions and fuel economy regulations?
With the Renegade, Jeep set out to create a vehicle that doesn't have to make excuses. Inexpensive doesn't mean cheap anymore. Small doesn't mean less capable. The compact crossover class is highly competitive, with solid offerings like the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3. Jeep can't afford a subpar product.