LOVE the 2016 Jeep Renegade but will it tow? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-25-2016, 01:36 AM   #1
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Name: Tom
Trailer: Burro
Colorado
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LOVE the 2016 Jeep Renegade but will it tow?

So I need a new car. Not just a tow vehicle for my 13' Burro, but something for commuting, errands and fun. I feel in love with the 2016 Jeep Renegade Trailhawks. I plan to weigh my Burro this weekend. My guess is it will weigh in at around a 1000lbs.

The engine on the Renegade is a 2.4L I-4 cyl
Towing capacity: 907kg (2,000lbs)
4.334 Final Drive Ratio
Trailer Tow Group - 4 Pin Wiring Harness - Class III Receiver Hitch
Engine horsepower: 180hp @ 6,400RPM
Engine torque: 175 lb.-ft. @ 3,900RPM
GVWR: 2,045kg (4,508lbs)
Wheelbase: 2,570mm (101.2")
Transmission: 9 speed automatic
Drive type: four-wheel

Some points to consider:

I live in Colorado and the mountains are my playground. So yes, High Altitude towing. But I am an easy going driver who doesn't mind taking it slow.

I will be putting brakes on the Burro.

I'm not sure if the Renegade has a transmission cooler, but I will add one if it does not.

I am a single dad with a 4-year-old, gear and a mountain bike. (not a big family with dogs)
I can fill water tanks when I arrive at my destination.
I usually camp 5 times a year with the Burro and I can only afford one car. I'd rather not spend the extra cash on a V6.

I know the renegade will make it up the mountains and I may be sitting in the right lane the entire time but will I be doing physical harm to the transmission? Or asking for more maintenance issues years down the road?

My previous tow vehicle was a 2011 Forester 2.5 that did pretty well up the mountains. (in the slow lane and reving high on the occasional steeper sections but still moving along at the speed limit) Will this be much worse than that?

Again I just don't want to buy a larger SUV that consumes more gas if I am only camping with the Burro 5 times a year.

Please let me know your thoughts. Your collective wisdom is always appreciated!!

Tom
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Old 03-25-2016, 01:57 AM   #2
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I tow my Scamp 16ft Deluxe with a 1993 4cyl 1.6l 175,000 mile 2dr Geo tracker. It has some 94HP. Less actually since I installed a torque cam. It's a 4x4 manual 5 speed. If it were auto, or lacked the low range transfer case I would not tow my trailer with this vehicle. The low range lets me get through the mountains when there isn't enough oxygen for my naturally aspirated engine.
To be sure, I am no hurry to get places!

Given your description an expectations I am confident that you will have zero issues with that jeep. I had a Jeep Wrangler Sahara edition with the 4.0 inline six, which I sold to get my favorite vehicle, the little tracker. That big torquey inline six had about the same HP as the vehicle you are looking at. It too was a manual 5.
That thing in my opinion was WAY overkill on power. I think your modern 4cyl and nine speed auto will be purring like a kitten pulling that little trailer. I wouldn't even worry about waiting till you get there to fill the tank.

Watch the weight distribution, make sure to use a good proportional brake controller, and have fun!

I use a Hopkins Insight brake controller and love it to bits. Check it out;
nSIGHTâ„¢ Flex-Mountâ„¢ Brake Control
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Old 03-25-2016, 02:22 AM   #3
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Thanks Kenji,
Can you do the speed limit, up the mountains while pulling that scamp?
Also, that brake controller looks sweet. The last one I had was mounted under the dash and I was constantly fumbling with it.
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Old 03-25-2016, 02:32 AM   #4
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Nope, I cannot! I can do about 45MPH when under say 8,000 feet when going up decent grades. On go the flashers. Not that I have any issue with this as I tend to drive about that fast on the flats. But hey, I get 30 mpg.
I can do over 70 on the flats towing the 16. Never went faster as that was just a test anyway. Being a hypermiler I have actually been pulled over for going too slow WITHOUT the trailer. "I just wanted to make sure everything was okay, you don't see that every day!" "I guess I don't have to tell you to have a safe drive" was the commentary on that one.

That jeep will fly up the hills with your little trailer, no issues.

The controller is indeed amazing. I mounted the sensor on top of my ECU horizontally (you can put it at any angle so long as it is a 90 degree, such as flat or sideways. tilt on those axis don't matter.) The manual potentiometer can be placed wherever, and it has the sensitivity and power adjustments on it. It's basically set and forget as it will nearly perfectly mirror your vehicles braking. You can see the numbers go from 0 to 99 and back again as you press the brakes harder or softer.
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Old 03-25-2016, 10:29 AM   #5
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You might do some research on this "Jeep" product...might discover it is a FIAT....Suprise!!

The FIAT track record for dependability is depressing.
F...fix I..it. A..again. T..Tony
Consumer Reports not a big fan of Jeep products based on their track record over time.
Read their review...not happy with engine....not happy with transmission.
Cabin noise level bad...loud uncertain motor sounds...road noise !
Typical FIAT product....all show....no go !

Many Jeeps products made it to their "Never buy used" hall of shame.

Tommy Gun...you might set your sights on another maker

A Toyota RAV 4 would be a better choice...new or used.
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Old 03-25-2016, 12:05 PM   #6
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Trailer: 2016 Escape 19
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Jeeps in general

My wife's car was in the body shop last year after an encounter with a deer. Our rental car was a brand new Jeep Grand Cherokee, loaded to the gills with every option. On our second day, it left us stranded because the push button start would not work. As we were sitting, fuming while waiting on the tow truck, we were googling about our issue. Seems to be pretty common with them. We will never own one based upon that one experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uplander View Post
You might do some research on this "Jeep" product...might discover it is a FIAT....Suprise!!

The FIAT track record for dependability is depressing.
F...fix I..it. A..again. T..Tony
Consumer Reports not a big fan of Jeep products based on their track record over time.
Read their review...not happy with engine....not happy with transmission.
Cabin noise level bad...loud uncertain motor sounds...road noise !
Typical FIAT product....all show....no go !

Many Jeeps products made it to their "Never buy used" hall of shame.

Tommy Gun...you might set your sights on another maker

A Toyota RAV 4 would be a better choice...new or used.
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Old 03-25-2016, 01:21 PM   #7
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I had a Jeep Wrangler with the 4 cyl and 5 speed stick towing a motorcycle on a trailer, I could not tow very well through some small mountains and ended up removing the bike and driving it home separately.
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Old 03-25-2016, 01:28 PM   #8
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I would not want a tow vehicle that cannot maintain highway speeds or a reasonable speed in the mountains. We often take back roads or state highways so we can go a little slower and enjoy the scenery / sights but driving 45 MPH on an Interstate is not reasonable nor safe in my estimation . I never expected great gas mileage when towing and I have not been disappointed. My buddy towed with a small 4 wheel drive Jeep . I never felt comfortable riding with him when he was towing . It always felt like the trailer was in control and not the Jeep
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Old 03-25-2016, 01:31 PM   #9
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Trailer: R-Vision Trail Lite
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Many years ago we had three Jeep Chorkee 4X4, automatics with what was then a fantastic engine...an inline straight 6 cylinder engine 4.0 Ltr....it was developed back when American Motors owned the Jeep franchise before it was purchased by Chyrsler Corporation. Chyrsler continued to use that engine until it could no longer pass the tough EPA testing standards. It was a fantastic towing motor...better than just about any V8 engine.
Once Chyrsler took over the Jeep production things went down hill for the Jeep name....we spent a lot of time at their service department....it took monthly visits just to keep the vehicle running. The engine was fine...the transmission was out sourced from a Japanese maker and it was fantastic...the rest of the vehicle was pure junk...weekly breakdowns were the norm. I moved on to Ford and then found Toyota.....believe me nothing beats a Toyota.
I was on a first name basis with the Chrysler/Jeep service guys. Saw them weekly and got birthday cards from them!!!
I never met the Toyota service guys...they must be lonely....Toyota's are just that dependable.
My first Toyota truck had 285,000 miles on it when I sold it to some construction guys. They loved Toyota.
My wife drives a Toyota and she loves it...it is 12 years old...drives like new..never any problems.
I tow with my Toyota FJ Cruiser, V6 4X4 automatic...pull a trailer just under 5,000 lbs...it is 10 years old with 96,000 miles...never a problem..change oil every 5,000 miles...add gas...new tires every 60,000 miles...new battery after 8 years...no other maintenance or parts needed....Dependable Quality.

Forget Jeep.
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Old 03-25-2016, 02:34 PM   #10
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Terrible that it's a Fiat and not a "real" Jeep. For whatever that's worth these days.
I loved that inline six 4.0 my Wrangler had. My older 4cyl jeep that I had before that one could hardly get out of its own way. I would never have towed with that thing.
Despite having a smaller engine my tracker outperforms that 4cyl jeep by leaps and bounds. It doesn't surprise me that it couldn't tow a motorcycle very well. Mine was also a 4x4 5 speed. I am thinking that with an auto trans the vehicle would not be able to be driven on the highway, trailer or not.

I agree that the Japanese vehicles are the most reliable. Suzuki Toyota and Honda are all bulletproof.

Even if I like both brands in question, I don't like to purchase things that are re-badged as something else. That "Jeep" throws red flags for me.
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Old 03-25-2016, 05:04 PM   #11
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I think all the comments about long term reliability are worth considering. But if you love the Renegade, as far as towing a 13'er I wouldn't have any qualms since you did say you don't hurry. If 35 mph up Wolf Creek Pass, for example, doesn't bother you then I think you'll be satisfied with the tow.

Kenji, I don't know how you do it! I once towed a 13' UHaul egg with an '84 Dodge Omni 2.2L 4 cyl with 5 speed stick, which is pretty close to the same HP as your Tracker, and it was a slug! I was going 50 mph much of the time on the expressway (of course 55 was the speed limit back then, but even so!). That Omni was hard pressed.
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Old 03-25-2016, 06:02 PM   #12
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I agree, even the automatic inst scaring me in this case since it is a nine speed. I assume that it will spend almost all of its time with the converter locked, meaning it won't care that you are towing. To meet the ever more strict EPA guides these vehicles do this by default now.

As for my little 1.6l towing, it's a really torquey engine actually. It feels like a smaller version of that 4.0 inline six from my Jeep. I assume that your Dodge Omni was much heavier as well. My first car was an older square headlight Jeep wrangler with I believe something like a 2.3L four cylinder engine. That thing was a slug if ever there was one. I actually worried about more than one person riding in it since it was so under powered. Super easy to stall off the line too. My tracker pulls 5th gear while idling. I can let the clutch out slow, then shift, etc all the way to 5th. No throttle. The computer I built to interface with the injector and VSS indicates that it's using .32 GPH at that point. It idles at .19-.22 .35-.45 with the AC on. I get about 70 MPG idling in 5th.

I never towed my scamp at highway speeds with the stock cam. Unfortunately this means I don't know if the torque cam helped or harmed performance there.
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Old 03-25-2016, 07:10 PM   #13
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Kenji, just to compare, according to this page Geo Tracker (4WD) Specifications
the '93 Tracker is 80 HP and 94 ft-lbs torque, with a curb weight of about 2400 lbs.
My '84 Omni was 93 HP and 122 ft-lbs torque, with curb weight of about 2200 lbs.

Pretty similar.
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Old 03-25-2016, 08:53 PM   #14
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That IS very close. Forgive me, I didn't know what that vehicle was. I pictured in my mind a small pickup truck or similar. Was it fuel injected?
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