When Jeep decided to retire the aging Cherokee, its designers, engineers and product planners knew the replacement would go head-to-head with a flood of new compact SUVs. It had to have the ride, handling and comfort of the car-based competitors and yet it also had to remain a Jeep, worthy of all that name promises. It was a true balancing act between capability and refinement for the company that invented the SUV. So Jeep Renegade 2004 appeared.
The car has the size and seating to go up against the big sellers in the compact segment. But it also has the goods to go off-road, seriously off-road where the others fear to tread. It has a two-speed transfer case with low range, good ground clearance, shallow approach and departure angles and plenty of underbody protection. There is no two-wheel-drive version. But the car also offers a new level of creature comfort, amenities and paved road prowess as good as most of the soft-roaders hogging the sales charts. It gives people a chance to boast they own a Jeep and take advantage of the inherent abilities – without having to wear a kidney belt during and visit to the chiropractor after every drive. They also got a modern instrument panel, good seats with plenty of lateral support and space for four – five in a squeeze – and some cargo or luggage.
It had an automatic transmission, leather interior, power sliding sunroof, power windows, locks and seats, ABS and a pretty darn impressive sound system. It also had the optional SelectTrac full-time all-wheel-drive system. The standard CommandTrac setup is part-time and has to be disengaged for on-road driving. The rest of the Renegade package includes prominent fender flares to contain the spray from bigger tires mounted on special wheels.
While the Renegade is smaller outside than its Grand Cherokee sibling, it packs plenty of space inside those upright walls. The front doors open nice and wide for easy entry and exit. The front seats are large and supportive but the transfer case infringes on room in the foot wells on both sides. Access to the rear is only slightly affected by the intrusion of the rear wheel wells. The rear seat is best left to two. Split 65/35 it can be easily folded almost flat for added cargo space. Access to the cargo area is through a slick tailgate combination of a swing-out tail gate and flip up top glass. A partial tug on the handle and the glass pops up for access. Pull further, and the tailgate opens to the left allowing safe access from the curb, unlike some Japanese competitors. They even managed to mount the full-size spare outside without interfering with visibility or useability.
The instrument panel is flat, modern and contains large, legible instruments. The large glove box door is misleading as it covers a pretty small bin. On the ergonomic side, the power window switches reside on the center console which takes some getting used to. The Renegade is built on an all-new and very solid platform. You notice the stiffness by the less of flex or movement when encountering road blemishes. But also on the scales as this relatively small SUV weighs a healthy two tonnes.
The base model comes with a 150-horsepower four-cylinder engine but the mid and top-level trim levels get a 3.7-litre V-6 rated at 210 horsepower and 235 lb.-ft. of torque. Both five-speed manual and four-speed automatic are available, the latter allowing a class-leading 5,000 lb. tow rating.
Despite the relatively short wheelbase, the car’s ride is surprisingly pleasant compliments of a coil spring independent front suspension – the first for a Jeep – combined with a triple-link and coil setup at the rear. Another factor that comes into play on the paved pieces is the generous 20 cm of wheel travel provided for off-road prowess. But when pressed hard into corners you are reminded this is a fairly heavy vehicle perched high atop some pretty flexible rubber – and riding on a long-travel suspension. Four wheel disc brakes are standard but unfortunately ABS is optional.
Since the launch of the first civilian Jeep (CJ-2A) in 1945, Jeep has defined off-road. The Jeep Renegade 2004 offers a combination of both heritages for someone who enjoys the outdoors and remote locations – but needs everyday comfort and convenience.
In this review we want to tell you about the Jeep Renegade 2004. See photos and video of Jeep Renegade 2004, leave your comments about this car.
Pictures of Jeep Renegade 2004