2016 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk

2016 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4X4 Review and Road Test

I got in my granite crystal (that’s gray to normal people) colored 2016 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4×4 and immediately started looking for trails. I had the 2015 Jeep Renegade Sport 4×4 about six months ago and I couldn’t wait to spend more time in a classic Jeep. See my prior review here. I loved my Colorado Red Renegade Sport 4X4 and drove it to Ocean City with my daughter. The Trailhawk is one of the highest trim packages of the Renegades so I was interested to see what more you get with the Trailhawk then you do with the Sport.

The Sport is a very reasonably priced SUV considering its off-road capability – just $23,000 which included only the Power and Air Group ($1,495) and 16-inch aluminum wheels ($595) as the only options. The Trailhawk adds more capability and more options, but increases the price by more than 35% – mine was $30,000 as optioned; base price of $26,495 with about $2,500 in added options. I was curious to see what I would get for the extra seven grand.

Added to the base Trailhawk are skid plates underneath protecting the transmission, transfer case, fuel tank and front suspension.   All Renegades 4X4’s come equipped with the Selec-Terrain™ System with four modes — auto, snow, sand and mud. The Renegade TrailHawk 4X4 gets a fifth mode – rock and also gets hill descent control. The Trailhawk comes standard with the 2.4L MultiAir engine that puts out 184 hp and torque of 171 lb-ft matted to a 9-speeed automatic transmission. Compare this to the Sport’s base motor which is a 1.4-Liter I4 MultiAir® Turbo Engine delivering 160 horsepower and 184 lb-ft torque matted with a 6-speed manual transmission. You can upgrade the Sport’s motor to the 2.4L motor and the automatic transmission for an extra $1,280. I didn’t find there to be a huge difference between the smaller turbo and the larger naturally aspirated motor. The extra 28 horsepower might help you in aggressive off-roading, but it wasn’t terribly noticeable on dry paved surfaces (and you lost about 3 mpg with the larger motor).

My Trailhawk was optioned up with the Popular Equipment Group ($595) which added a 40/20/40 rear seat with trunk pass-thru, A/C auto temp control with dual zone control, power driver seat and auto dimming review mirror; the cold weather group ($495) which added heated front seats, windshield wiper de-icer and heated steering wheel; passive entry/keyless go ($125); and remote start ($125). One safety feature I have come to rely on and really trust are blind spot monitors. You can add a blind spot and rear cross path detection system to your Trailhawk for an additional $695 – well worth it in my opinion. I feel that car manufactures need to start including these systems as standard on all vehicles. Finally, for $1,495 I would seriously consider adding the My Sky Power Retractable/Removable Roof Panels. Two huge roof panels the front of which tilts and slides back at the touch of the button or that can be removed along with the rear panel and stored in the My Sky panel bag in the cargo area.

If you are looking for a fun and inexpensive smaller SUV with a ton of off-road capability and great dry pavement drivability, you have to take a look at the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk. I loved it and think it is definitely worth a test drive.

As an aside, people always ask me if I have ever wrecked a press car and what happens if I do. We drive some pretty expensive cars so it’s a pretty good question. I guess people always want to hear about how we totaled a Bentley or got T-boned in an Audi S8 plus. Well, my recent experience wasn’t as exciting as totaling a Bentley but I did get rear ended in my Trailhawk. So not only did I get to test out the Trailhawk’s drivability, I also got to test out its crashability. 5 stars I would say.

So I was sitting at a red light in my Trailhawk on a Friday afternoon. I was heading to meet my wife for lunch. It was raining pretty steady. I wasn’t texting. I wasn’t on my phone. I was just sitting there patiently waiting for the red light to turn green. While I was sitting there I happened to look up into my rearview mirror and see an old Acura barreling down on me. I saw what appeared to be a woman’s head in the windshield (was her head down texting? Probably – it was hard to see). She seemed to be going pretty fast and closing the distance between us a little too quickly for my comfort. I pressed my foot on the brake and braced myself. Wham!!! Shit!! She slammed into me. Not hard enough to cause the airbags to deploy but hard enough to cause her front end to look like an accordion and me to wonder what my Trailhawk was going to look like and how much explaining I was going to have to do to the guys at Jeep. We pulled over to the side of the road to assess the damage. Her car was pretty much totaled. The Trailhawk? A few scratches on the rear red tow hook and a slightly damaged bumper. Hey, these Jeeps are supposed to be tough, right? I would say that, at least with a rear end collision, this one was pretty tough. Not very exciting, but it was my first accident ever in almost 30 years of driving (and as luck would have it it was in a press car). So now when people ask me if I have ever wrecked a press car I’ll have a (not so exciting) story to tell.

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