Jeep Renegade Manual Test Drive

Reposting for the weekday crowd.

I had some time this morning so I decided to check out the Renegade. My buddy is looking at the Crosstrek and I figured some cross shopping would be solid.

First off, this is the baby turd green...I mean...tank green...that I drove. Edit: color was commando. Guy said “commando or tank green.” Edit: This was one of just two manual transmission Renegades they had on the lot (out of maybe 20 on hand) with one more on order.

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Floor model, an automatic 2.4L, was in white. White looks pretty good on this little guy.

Impressions?

First off, it looks better with larger wheels/tires. Otherwise it seems awkward. Next, steering is light...really light. I would say very little feel but at the same time you know what to expect from it. Third, it feels bigger than it is. Maybe this has to do with not having high ground clearance but maybe it has to do with the amount of headroom I had. Overall interior space is, well, fine. Rear leg room. Is adequate unless you have a tall driver or passenger. Trunk space is narrow due to speakers on this model but it is made up by being a deep trunk. No spare, inflation kit only.

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Now the thing that irks me...the clutch. NO feel whatsoever. I went to put it in reverse (oh look, tiny screen for a backup cam) and my foot nearly went through the floor. The only time in my life I have ever put a pedal down this fast and without resistance was when the brake line of my family’s truck failed in my high school parking lot. Engage point was apparently high on the pedal but there was no resistance nor could I feel the friction zone. I’m sure it could just be me but the handful of manuals I’ve driven have never felt like that.

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Gearing was a mixed bag. The test drive wasn’t a great route so couldn’t get that high but first had some punch once you found it, second was useless (including from a dead stop), third had power in higher rpms. I did a pass on a long uphill so I know there is some kick in the 1.4L.

The ride was surprisingly nice. Solid. Quiet. Comes with the selectable terrain drive modes as well. Electronic parking brake (confused me).

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For just under $25k, you get a capable little thing with some pretty nice features. Once you feel out the clutch, that is. My buddy will likely go Crosstrek unless he suddenly hates that styling or finds something better in the segment with a manual (small selection). He isn’t a fan of the boxiness of the Renegade (or small wheels) so this has moved down the list

Pardon any errors or formatting...posting from mobile.

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