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2017 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk Test Drive Review

With trendy good looks, glass-house visibility and true 4×4 capabilities, the 2017 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk positions itself dead center in the compact SUV segment. This is a cool little buggy for those urban dwellers looking for a real off-road capable machine that favors a compact environment. However with a price tag of just over $33k** and an engine that’s a bit down on power, one has to wonder if its off-road prowess is enough to justify its sticker price.

2017 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4×4 Exterior

Sitting on a 101.2-inch wheelbase and with a total length of 166.6-inch, the Renegade Trailhawk is one of the most capable compact SUVs on the market. And while its shape is nothing groundbreaking—it’s basically a square—anyone will be able to recognize it as a Jeep. Slathered in what Jeep calls Hypergreen Clear-Coat, our tester was a bit on the polarizing side, and truth be told, by the time our week with this little guy was up, I felt as though I was driving around in a big tennis ball.

Paint aside, the designers actually incorporated some real off-road elements into the Renegade to make sure it could handle everything Jeep enthusiasts could throw at it. All Trailhawk models come standard with 17×6.5-inch aluminum rims wearing 215/65-series all-season/off-road tires. Three red tow hooks (two front, one rear) come standard, as do black side roof rails, body-colored door handles, special exterior badging, and skid plates for the front suspension, fuel tank, transfer case and transmission.

Other visual queues such as the satin black wheel arches, black rocker panels, lower front bumper, and hood decal also help to lend some burliness to the Renegade’s overall look and feel.

2017 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4×4 Interior

The interior is a combination of new-age Jeep mixed with a bit of millennial chic, as there are little Jeep Easter eggs all over this thing. There are Jeep elements in the speakers, the coin holder, windshield, and even under the center mounted dash vents. And while it’s all a bit hokey, I get the appeal, as the Renegade is marketed to a younger consumer.

As far as layout and comfort goes, the Renegade does not disappoint. Supportive power-adjustable leather covered seats with heat and lumbar support mean hours of comfort trekking either on or off-road, while a heated steering wheel is a treat on chilly mornings. The Renegade also sports FCA’s UConnect 6.5 media system, which includes a 6.5-inch touchscreen that allows access to navigation, multimedia functions and a rear camera, along with mobile phone and vehicle settings.

Interior noise was surprisingly low at speed, with the large windows and high roofline allowing for great outward visibility. Storage space was also quite liberal for a compact SUV, with 50.8 cubic-feet of space with the rear seats folded flat.

2017 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4×4 Performance

Under that green hood is a 2.4-liter four-banger which generates 180 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque that’s channeled to the pavement via a nine-speed automatic transmission. Power is adequate, but under load you’ll be wishing you had more, as getting to 60 mph with your foot mashed to the floor takes over 10 seconds. So navigating up the hills of San Francisco with a full load proved somewhat tiresome, as was passing at highways speeds. That said, overall handling manners were predictable, and the Renegade proved to be quite good as a daily driver.

Now, if you decide to take it off-road that’s another story entirely, as that’s clearly where the Renegade Trailhawk wants to be. There are five different terrain modes to choose from (Auto, Snow, Sand, Mud & Rock), skid plates covering the vital under carriage bits, along with built-in Hill Start Assist and a Hill Decent Mode. I had the pleasure of doing a bit of off-roading, and without exaggeration, the Trailhawk is not only capable, it’s impressive. While the Renegade isn’t meant to compete with the likes of the Jeep Wrangler, it offers consumers who may not be that into off-roading an extremely competent option that’s more geared toward urban life.

It should also be noted that the Renegade is EPA rated at 21-mpg city, 29-highway and 24-mpg* in combined driving, which are good numbers for a vehicle with this much capability off-road.

2017 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4×4 Safety

With advanced multistage front airbags, electronic roll mitigation and stability control, blind spot monitoring, panic brake assist, and antilock brakes, Jeep has gone to great effort to ensure the safety of all those who ride on and off-road in the new 2017 Renegade Trailhawk.

2017 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4×4 Overall

With decent on-road manners and off-road abilities that will trounce others in the class, the 2017 Renegade Trailhawk is a compromise of sorts. Do we wish it were better on tarmac? Sure, but then its burliness off pavement would suffer. But if you’re a person who will truly use the capabilities of this little Jeep on a regular basis, well then, it may just be the perfect ride for you.

Drop by your local AutoNation Jeep dealer today to check one out!

*Fuel economy values (mpg) are EPA estimates. Actual mileage will vary and depends on several factors including driving habits and vehicle condition.

**Vehicle MSRP of $33,185 excludes taxes, title, transportation, options, and dealer fees.

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