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Motoring

Jeep Renegade: Rugged thrills on wheels

Angel Rivero - Philstar.com
Jeep Renegade: Rugged thrills on wheels
Albeit its boxy aesthetic and chic, retro look, the Renegade offers its own unique, modern charisma. It is non-conventional and yet, broadly attractive.

MANILA, Philippines — I think we can all agree that this largely crippling COVID-19 pandemic has kept us indoors (and with good reason!) for way too long for comfort. While the importance of personal mobility has never been more pronounced than in these last two years of lockdown—when personal safety meant more personal space—I also think that the time has come for us to bring our relationship with our vehicles to the next level. That is, beyond our routine city errands and shopping—and back into the real outdoors!

Does this itch make me some kind of a rebel? Well, perhaps a more practical one. After all, if we're fully vaccinated, have no co-morbidities, and remain faithful to the safety protocols, then perhaps it does the community some good when we support safely—operating establishments and keep our mental well-being in check.

The timing sure was right for me to start feeling a tad bit sassy and adventurous, because I happened to have the Jeep Renegade at hand. The name alone already inspires a rather out-of-the-box character to pop out of oneself; and its looks do not fall short of that sentiment.

The Renegade's visually unmistakable 7-slot grille alludes to this forefather. On the other hand, its round headlights can now be upgraded to LED with LED Daytime Running Lights.

After all, the iconic Jeep look comes from the “old Willys” or legendary American Jeeps of World War II, which were instrumental to the Allied Powers' victory. The Renegade's visually unmistakable 7-slot grille alludes to this forefather.

Yet, albeit its boxy aesthetic and chic, retro look, the Renegade offers its own unique, modern charisma. It is non-conventional and yet, broadly attractive.

The round headlights, which, I am excited to say, can now be upgraded to LED with LED Daytime Running Lights, will if so, now match the Renegade's iconic, square tail lights with the X feature, reminiscent of the US Army's "jerry cans" that were stamped with Xs. The Renegade's fog lamps can also be replaced with a new assembly that will upgrade it into brighter, energy-saving LED fog lamps as well.

These are mostly practical applications which frankly, is a lot of the time where the Renegade shines. Its compact size makes it easy to navigate through tight urban spaces, and its short wheelbase spares any hassles from having to fully turn the car around.

The car is actually roomier than you might think—especially in terms of headspace, partly thanks to the distinctive, long, flat hood.

It's an excellent vehicle to take along on a shopping spree, to be honest, because you can load all your spoils in the car with the versatility of multiple configurations. You can fold the rear seats flat to create a level load floor, for greater baggage stability; or if in case you've got oddly shaped items like furniture pieces or a surfboard, for example, you can also fold the front passenger seat forward to free up more space.

Not to mention that you can actually pair the clothes you shop for, with your stylish car. It's kind of like power dressing—where the end effect is greater self-confidence and a more commanding overall presence.

Sitting inside the Jeep Renegade, you will quickly realize that its big windows provide great outward visibility. Being petite, I also appreciate the elevated ride height as it gives me a greater command of the road. The car is actually roomier than you might think—especially in terms of headspace, partly thanks to the distinctive, long, flat hood.

You will also immediately notice that in no way is this car meant to be fragile. It's more of an upscale rugged, inside and out—for independent people who don't need any babying and would rather take adventure into their own hands. Why, as soon as you enter the front passenger side, you will quickly see an installed grab handle on the passenger side of the dash!

It's a clear message this car ain't for soft cruisers. On the contrary, it's for people who are ready to get their game on, at any time.

On the dash is a 7-inch touchscreen with integrated Bluetooth and voice command capabilities, so you can pair it with your smartphones and enjoy your personalized media.

Powering the Jeep Renegade is a 1.4-liter turbocharged gasoline engine, which benefits gas-thrifty behavior, especially in our current nightmare of holiday, peak-hour traffic. To be honest, the Metro's current road congestion is practically back to its pre-pandemic levels. And have you checked the prices of fuel lately!? I don't think I can remember a time the cost has been this high!

Speaking of traffic, the Jeep Renegade's cabin equipment will keep you comfortable and entertained throughout your arduous journey. The electronic power steering makes the steering wheel feel light and very maneuverable, with minimal effort. Embedded on it are convenient shortcut buttons for options such as manipulating volume and pairing phones. And perhaps not so much a surprise, the car also carries a compass!

On the dash is a 7-inch touchscreen with integrated Bluetooth and voice command capabilities, so you can pair it with your smartphones and enjoy your personalized media. Of course, Apple Carplay is supported as standard. Six speakers bring your audio to life; and interestingly, you can find a trendy Jeep icon stamped right by the door speakers.

The Renegade also provides the benefits of dual zone climate control. And clever storage spaces for paraphernalia can be found all around.

The iconic Jeep look comes from the “old Willys” or legendary American Jeeps of World War II, which were instrumental to the Allied Powers' victory.

Now, my idea of a safe outdoor adventure in these delicate times is a day trip to the amazing, Masungi Georeserve along Kilometer 45 in Rizal. In case you haven't heard of it, it's a 300-hectare natural forest bestowed with massive limestone formations dating back to the early Paleocene epoch (about 66 million years ago).

Much of this forest's limestone is exposed as karst—a type of landscape formed from the dissolution of soluble rock (such as limestone). It is precious because only 10% of the Philippines carries these limestone karsts. Masungi is also home to hundreds of animal and plant species, which include the Luzon cloud rat, cave bats, balinsasayaw bird (pygmy swiftlet), jade vine, wisteria and (pygmy) titan arum—also known as the corpse flower, due to its stench. I bet you've never seen at least one of these!

The Georeserve offers the pleasure of several kilometers of hiking trails alongside small, creative obstacle courses. Only small groups of 5 to 7 people are allowed per time slot, to maximize physical distancing and to elevate the tranquility and quality of experience of each group.

Best of all, it is completely outdoors and within nature, and therefore the least likely environment to be risky for COVID-19. The conservation has in fact, only recently re-opened (late this October) due to previous quarantine closures.

The suspense and excitement of discovering each “physical challenge” along the way should be left for the trekkers to enjoy, and so I shall not divulge any spoilers. All I recommend is that one visits with an open mind and determined spirit. Getting there is only a 1.5-hour drive from Makati, prior to rush hour. An excellent journey for the Jeep Renegade, which is ever-ready for rugged thrills!

Of course, road trips should always be supported by active and passive car safety features, many of which the Jeep Renegade has up its sleeve. Aside from traction control, ABS and ESC, the Renegade is also built with a high-strength steel chassis, and is further supported by technology such as parksense rear assist, and a built-in rear backup camera.

And the verdict is: The Jeep Renegade is undeniably a charismatic car, where attractive meets adventurous—from the cute trimmings, to the unique, geometrical shape of its wheel arches. It is rich in brand heritage and full of personality—and it allows its owners to stand out as the quirky individuals that they are!

The best way to form a solid opinion of a car is by trying it out yourself. Schedule a test drive with your nearest dealer, and they can provide you with the list of options and available payment plans.

To know more about the Jeep Renegade, scan these QR codes: 

 

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