The Little Jeep That Can … And Will
2018 Jeep Renegade Limited 4×4 – Modern Mopar Magazine Project Vehicle
Let’s face it; this is the time of Demons, TrackHawks, Scat Packs and now Red Eyes. The technological advancements that have produced these 800 horsepower, fire-breathing monsters onto the streets is simply amazing. However, not everyone has the ability to plunk down the coin needed to acquire a Hellcat or a TrackHawk. Not everyone is a YouTube celebrity or a lottery winner. And I’m certainly not about to start a GoFundMe account begging for money to buy one….even if a tree were to fall on my beloved Challenger. I wanted a new project vehicle after having my Challenger for over 8 years. Don’t get me wrong, I love my purple Mopar, but after being in production for 10 years, Challengers are quite literally everywhere. At the same time, I wanted a vehicle that isn’t commonplace, but can still be customized and made unique. I also live in New York, which has been seeing some pretty brutal winters lately. This made me look towards the four wheel drive market. My first Mopar, a 1993 Jeep Cherokee Sport, that I owned from 1996-98 was one of the best vehicles I’ve ever driven. So it seemed logical that 20 years later a new Jeep should find its home with me.
I initially began looking at Wranglers; namely the all-new Wrangler JL. They’re beautiful and obviously can go anywhere. The issue was admittedly pricing. A comparatively priced JL was $3000 more than the previous JK models. Add the second set of doors, air conditioning and a hard-top and you’re well over $40,000. It wasn’t in the cards. Also, it wouldn’t fit in my driveway. My Challenger and Dakota Convertible already take up most of the real estate, and a Wrangler would protrude into the street. Not exactly a good move. So I considered the Renegade. I remember back in 2014 when the Renegade was released (as a 2015 model) and I received the media kit for it at the NYIAS in Manhattan, I had jokingly said “I’d rock one of those”. I loved the unique styling, the Easter Eggs hidden around the vehicle and its surprising amount of room inside despite being a smaller vehicle. Jeremy Glover of FCA was the lead designer for Renegade and one day I’ll hope to pick his brain about the concept.
This brings us to May of 2018. On the way home from this year’s Moparpalooza event in Virginia, at the rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike, my friend Jen spots a Facebook post from Security Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram in Amityville, NY. The post contained a brand new, right off the truck, 2018 Jeep Renegade Limited in the optic searing Hyper Green. I immediately texted Gabby Vigorito, my friend and salesperson at Security asking if anyone had put a deposit down on the Jeep. She laughed and said, “How did I know you’d like that? Nope. It just came in!”. I replied with, “I’ll see you Thursday!”. May 24th I took the little green Jeep home and right away the wheels started turning about what can be done to modify it. I talked with Lisa Wall of Speedlogix about doing a build for Modern Mopar Magazine as an SX-Offroad vehicle and she loved the idea. There are a million Wranglers and Grand Cherokees running around, but only a small amount of Renegade owners modify their rides. Since then, I’ve made some friends in JROG; the Jeep Renegade Owners Group and have found some great products that will be featured on our Hyper Green Limited. I’ve already procured a set of light bar brackets from Valkyrie Off-Road for a roof mounted LED light bar and a Katzkin Leather interior is en route. The idea is to do everything with the Renegade. It will serve as a daily driver and be taken to numerous events, such as the Toledo Jeep Fest in August as a feature vehicle for Katzkin. We’ll be modifying the suspension for better off road capability and there’s a strong possibility it may see some drag racing. Through the wonders of the internet, I’ve found a turbo set up for the venerable 2.4L engine. So who knows … there’s already a Grand Cherokee SRT8. Maybe we can build a Renegade SRT4?
Stay tuned to ModernMopar.com for updates as the build of our 2018 Jeep Renegade Limited takes shape and thank you for your support!