So I accidentally killed a perfectly good Dodge Grand Caravan that was only three and a half years old and had 44,000 miles on the odometer. The details shall remain undisclosed, but there was no injury or body damage involved.

Luckily, the insurance covered the total loss, so I was able to go out and source a new ride. After having owned two minivans in a row, I had come to the conclusion that while the extra space was nice to have, we didn’t really need the hauling capacity because 99% of the time, I drove around by myself in that big, empty 4,500-pound box. So I downsized considerably:

It’s a Jeep Renegade Trailhawk, the off-road trim of the smallest crossover Jeep currently makes. Robin drives one of the new Jeep Cherokees, and we’ve both been very impressed with that car over the last two years, so I figured I’d get myself a Jeep too. This is their subcompact model, which shares a platform with the Fiat 500X (and like the Fiat, it’s made in Italy.) But unlike the 500X, the little Renegade has some serious off-road chops, especially in the Trailhawk trim. Their 4WD system is excellent, and this little thing is better in the snow than any car I’ve owned before, including the Subaru. And it’s an absolute hoot to bomb around town with this. The short wheelbase and high seating position makes it feel like driving a zippy little buggy.

Now to apply for the right vanity plate for this car. TONKA is already taken, alas. Maybe RUBRDUKY?


Joseph · January 30, 2018 at 3:29 pm

Sny Wlkman or Walkman. Of course, you have to have lived through the 80s to get the reference…

C-90 · January 31, 2018 at 5:38 am

How about any variation on “The Yellow Kid”?
Early newspaper comic character.

JR Handley · January 31, 2018 at 12:56 pm

That’s a cute ride! Not quite as emasculating as a van either. How is it on gas?

    Marko Kloos · January 31, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    Not great. It’s a heavy little bugger, and it shows at the pump. Right now I am getting 23-24MPG just tooling around on rural roads and small towns. On the highway, it gets about 27-29.

      JR Handley · January 31, 2018 at 10:37 pm

      That isn’t too bad, and it IS a nice car. How does it do for leg room? I know you’re not a short man, and this looks to be on the small side!

        Marko Kloos · January 31, 2018 at 10:50 pm

        In the front, no sweat at all. I don’t even have my seat all the way back.

          JR Handley · January 31, 2018 at 10:52 pm

          When my Toyota Sienna was in the shop I rented a Jeep and I loved it. I can see the appeal, and it will definitely by my next car! Thanks for sharing!

Chris Sheehy · January 31, 2018 at 8:09 pm

What about “Weasel” after the German scout car from Fields of Fire

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