The top of the line model of the Jeep Renegade range, the Trailhawk melds inner-city living with outdoor adventure. Starting at $40,000 the Trailhawk touts its off-road capabilities in your face as it tries to stake a claim as a genuine contender once the bitumen runs out.
As the top of the Renegade range, the Trailhawk is the only of its siblings to come fitted with a 2.4-litre engine, 9-speed automatic gearbox, and all-wheel drive. It’s not going to conquer the more-difficult back-trails, but will handle sand, dirt, gravel, and rocky terrains in comfort.
- Spacious interior. Despite outside appearances and the small-SUV classification, sitting inside the cabin of the Trailhawk is an accommodating experience. The front seats come equipped with eight-way adjustable seating - meaning you can position yourself exactly as desired. Big windows, generous headroom, and ample visibility make driving easier despite stocky bodywork. It should be noted though, that rear legroom can get in short supply if front passengers are taller than average.
- Nicely trimmed. The rough and rugged credentials are not to be spied inside the Trailhawk’s cabin. Leather seats (with red Trailhawk) stitching are comfortable and provide ample support, the leather steering wheel is tricked out so you don’t have to take your hands from ten and two, while seat and wheel heaters keep passengers toasty in the winter months. Dual zone climate control means differing opinions on air conditioning don’t leave one party unhappy. Blind spot detector is always a welcome addition, even if the Trailhawk’s is a tad overzealous. Speakers by BeatsAudio are an auditory treat and keyless entry and start is a fun convience.
- Confident ride. The Trailhawk is less about carving up a mountain pass, and more about making your own. Despite this, the all-wheel drive and electronic steering allows the driver to place the Renegade as desired. Steering is light, without losing feel, and provides decent feedback in tricky conditions. The suspension soaks up smaller bumps with ease, but passengers are jostled lightly if the road surface gets too uneven. More off-road oriented rubber makes for a slight road-noise hum, but barely noticeable above the entertainment unit at low volume. Raised suspension means you sit above the majority of road users.
- Drive modes. It looks more suburban café than rugged back-road, but the Trailhawk has the tech to help you get off the beaten path – within reason. One of the best all-wheel drive systems in its class, combined with a five setting Selec-Terrain provides confidence for adventures.
- Fuel economy. The 2.4-litre naturally-aspirated ‘Tigershark’ engine is a thirsty beast. A claimed 7.5-litres per 100-kilometers blows out to 9.8L/100km in urban environments. With a 45-litre tank, you won’t make it 500-kilometres between fills.
- Connectivity. Utilising the UConnect system, connecting an iPhone through Bluetooth proved fiddly and temperamental. Satnav comes as standard, but is slow to plug in directions, and will often take odd routes.
- Weight. At over 1.5-tons the Trailhawk is the heaviest of the range – largely due to extra equipment. It also falls down in towing capabilities, with the cheaper Sport, Longitude, and Limited models all being able to haul heavier loads.
- Engine. The Tigershark engine can only be found in the Trailhawk, but despite an extra litre of capacity, is less fuel efficient than the 1.4-litre turbo units in other Renagade models. No torque difference between the pair either, and only an extra 26kw to boot.
- Cost. $40,000-plus is a lot to ask for the Trailhawk. The difference over less-equipped siblings may not be worth it for the extra kit.
ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER?
Hyundai ix35 and Mazda CX-5 are both viable options to consider if lacking the urge to take the road less travelled.