Slow down just a second there before you get all huffy-puffy about us putting a Wrangler against a Renegade. We actually put two Wranglers against a Renegade… or was it a Renegade and a Wrangler against the other Wrangler? Who knows. What I do know is this, we had the top-dawg Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock, a near-base trim level Wrangler Sport S, and the best Renegade money can buy, the Trailhawk, all during the same week. The chance of us NOT putting them against each other on the same trail was exactly 0%.
So first let’s meet the trail. Known as Cliffhanger 2.0, it’s a steep and rocky trail located west of Boulder, CO. It starts easy but then quickly gets rockier as the grade increases. If you are able to make it to the top, you are rewarded with a picturesque view of the Rocky Mountains. Now let’s look at the vehicles:
2016 Renegade Trailhawk
Although it’s actually built in Italy and based on the Fiat 500X platform, the Renegade Trailhawk is the most off-road worthy Renegade available. It has a 2.4-liter Tigershark 4-cylinder mated to a 9-speed automatic. What sets it apart from lesser Renegades is 0.8 inches of additional ground clearance, 4.33:1 axle ratio, 20:1 crawl ratio, Jeep’s Selec-Terrain traction control system with Rock Mode, and skid plates. As-tested price: $30,075
2016 Wrangler Sport
The Sport S package seen in the video takes the base Sport model and adds 17 x 7.5-inch aluminum wheels, A/C, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and 255/75R17 tires. Although almost a base Wrangler, it is still an incredibly off-road capable vehicle. The one seen here has standard items including a 6-speed manual, Dana 30 front axle, Dana 44 rear axle, and the company’s Command-Trac part-time 4WD system. Optional equipment includes 3.73 front and rear axles and Jeep’s Trac-Lok differential rear axle. As-tested price: $32,530
2016 Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock
The grand daddy of Wranglers is the Rubicon with its Dana 44 axles at both ends of the vehicle. Upping the ante is the Hard Rock edition. For $4,800 over a base Rubicon you get standard steel bumpers (the front is winch-ready and has removable end caps, upgraded sill-mounted rock rails, a vented Power Dome hood, red tow hooks, a Jeep Trail Rated Kit (tow strap, two D-rings, and a pair of gloves in a carrying bag), and a host of other items that don’t contribute to the off-roadiness of the vehicle (meaning we won’t cover them here).
As Mr. T would say, enough jibber jabber… let’s get to the video already.