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Best "Domestic" Cross-over available.

Edmunds.com logo Edmunds.com 9/14/2015 dougiew

I never owned a domestic vehicle and never thought I would either, until I saw the Renegade. I took a test ride and that's all it took for me. For reference, I owned 2 Honda, 1 Toyota, and 1 VW in the past 11 years and they were all brand new. I was looking for a AWD/4x4 vehicle for the nasty winter commute here in the Northeast and occasional camping trips. My shopping criteria was a short list: Good fuel mileage and some mild off-road capability. Only a handful of small SUV fit the bill. My choices were between Subaru XV Crosstrek and Jeep Renegade. I am not going to write much about the Subaru but all I am going to say is... under-powered and lack of details, compared to the Renegade.Interior- Unlike most domestic vehicles, there a lot of details in the interior design, such as illuminated cup holders and center console. No squeaky panels, no saggy seat cushions, no one-piece dash or one-piece door panel. Seats are as comfortable and supportive as my 2008 Passat. Forward visibility is great, similar to driving a Cube/ Soul. Road noise is minimal considering it as a SUV. The instrument panel with built-in LCD screen is very informative with intuitive lay out. I was able to get used to in within minutes of driving it. Infotainment system with touch screen is very intuitive and easy to navigate while driving. I love how the car can stream music from my phone via Bluetooth without touching my phone. Sound quality is also impressive considering it is just standard equipment on a "entry level" vehicle. Exterior- Paint quality is good. On-par with all my previous vehicles. Plenty of design details. I love the overall design of the vehicle. Engine- Relatively quiet for a "domestic" vehicle; it roars quite a bit under hard acceleration, in a good way. I know, it's an Italian Fiat Multiair engine! Plenty of power to pass other vehicles on the interstate. Transmission is probably the biggest let-down of the vehicle. There is a noticeable lag and hesitation in gear change under "spirited" acceleration, however, it's smooth enough and tolerable. Performance- Agile would be the best word to describe its performance. Steering is accurate and nicely weighed although lacks feedbacks of a sport sedan or luxury crossover. Body-roll under spirited driving is well controlled... especially considering it's a JEEP! I have not yet driven in snow yet. However, I drove it off the dealership lot in pouring rain. I got the chance to push it a little bit through some back roads in heavy rain. Not once I felt the traction control or ABS kicked in, and the vehicle didn't slide during sharp turns. Body panels did not make any rattling noise on rough road surfaces. Fuel economy- In the past 300 miles, I was able to achieve 27 miles average. I was getting 30mpg on the interstate around 65mph. I would expect gas mileage slightly improve as the engine breaks in. Not as good as the Subaru but the Renegade does have 40 extra HP and 400cc bigger engine.Overall- I am very impressed with how Jeep come out with such a great product. It's a perfect blend of ruggedness, performance, comfort, and style. Let's face it, we all want a Wrangler at some point in life but can't justify the fuel efficiency, comfort, or practicality for everyday commute. And Jeep finally gave us a perfect compromise. Trade-in value and reliability are the only 2 concerns I have at this point and only time will tell.

Average Rating : 5

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