Beautiful Scenery and Off Roading.
As I drive up a winding road toward California’s Hollister Hills, I take in the beautiful scene created by nature but I also start getting a bit nervous about what’s to come later in the day. I, along with a group of other auto writers, am on a trip to learn about the new 2015 Jeep Renegade and get behind the wheel for some off-roading! I have done my share of road trips, hot laps at race tracks, and even a stunt-driving lesson, but off-roading is a first for me.
Before we were off and into the off-roading experience we learned some interesting things about the inspiration for the Renegade.
Small but mighty
Looking at the brightly colored fleet of 2015 Renegades all lined up, I observed a few key things about these cars. First, I noticed the Renegade’s overall size – it was smaller than what I expected when thinking of a Jeep. The Renegade is the brand’s first entry into the small sport utility vehicle segment. The result is a vehicle with off-road capability but city-sized proportions that gets almost 30 mpg. The sub-compact SUV was designed for work and play. The major benefit is being able to handle all terrain and all weather (snow, rain, sand and mud) and staying safe.
The Jeep brand is synonymous with adventure and the Renegade is no exception. The overall exterior design is rugged and road-ready while putting safety first with up to 70 available safety and security features. (Yes! 70!)
Some of the standard and available safety and security features include:
Forward Collision Warning-Plus: Radar and video sensors detect whether the Renegade is approaching another vehicle or large obstacle in its path too rapidly and warn or assist the driver in avoiding/mitigating any incidents.
Rear Cross Path (RCP) Detection: Ideal in parking lots, this system warns drivers backing out of parking spaces of traffic moving toward their vehicle. It activates any time the vehicle is in reverse. The driver is notified of vehicle(s) crossing behind the vehicle via illuminated icons on the side-view mirror and with an audible alert.
Electronic Roll Mitigation (ERM): Helps anticipate if the vehicle is at risk of entering a potential roll situation, then applies the brakes individually as needed.
Putting the 2015 Jeep Renegade to the test
What happens when I put these features to the test? It’s time for the off-roading portion of the event. For this part of the drive we were paired up in teams. Full disclosure, I was both passenger and photographer on this leg of the experience. The hills of Hollister are no joke. The upper ranch area of Hollister Hills is full of tight, winding hills.
The ascent was slow and steady and until we reached a certain point in the climb, it was hard to tell just how far we’d gone. But then you look out of the side of the vehicle and it becomes very apparent. Once we arrived at the pinnacle point, the view of the descent was a stomach dropping moment. The steep hill was going to be a challenge. We were given instructions to drive forward and activate Jeep Active Drive Low for the descent.
All I can say is wow! We went slow and steady and the car handled beautifully the entire way down.
It was an easy task for the Renegade and here’s why: Using Jeep’s Selec-Terrain traction controlled system allows for the driver to control the desired on or off-road setting. What’s more is that Selec-Terrain includes Selec-Speed control with Hill-descent control.
With all of the modern bells and whistles it’s worth noting that the Renegade gives a nod to the past, too. Like the first Willys MB Jeep vehicles produced in 1941 during WWII, the Renegade offers open-air freedom with two available “My Sky” open-air roof systems. This roof panel system provides panoramic views when the panels are closed, and if you want open skies and the classic feel of an open-air Jeep, just remove it; it stows neatly in the rear cargo area.
Inside, the Renegade features high-quality materials and clever design with Jeep DNA built in. The Renegade’s storage tray (behind the media display) is molded with a topography map of Moab, Utah which is a legendary off-road spot for Jeep enthusiasts.
This is a vehicle for the outdoor minded. The compact size coupled with major performance capabilities make it great for city dwellers with a weekend warrior mentality. The nice thing about the Renegade is that with all of the highly specified features you, the driver, will likely have a good idea if this car is right for you after a short driving experience.
WHAT I LOVED
- Many functional and safety features are standard
- ParkView rear back-up camera
- Selec-Terrain system with rock mode
- Hill descent control
- Hill start assist
- Height adjustable rear cargo floor
- Two front tow hooks and one rear tow hook
- Passenger seats are designed for comfort. The second-row 60/40-split seats, or for added convenience, 40/20/40-split seats with cargo area pass-through is available.
- The optional: My Sky Power Retractable/Removable Panels gives you the feeling of driving in the open air.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Base price $25,995. Price for the model I drove with extras: $32,440
- Fuel Economy: Overall 24 mpg based on 21/29 city/highway
- Made for the city and as well as exploring the great outdoors, with an efficient and flexible interior
- You might be inspired to take the road less traveled!