No thanks to malfunctioning brakes, the rear wheel of the Jeep Renegade SUV could be lifted off the ground during hard breaking. This was the discovery made by Spanish automotive journalist Pablo Gonzalez while test driving it.
It is pretty easy to under that under heavy braking, the weight of the vehicle is usually thrown forward. When this happens on a motorcycle, its rear wheel could lift off the ground. However, even if the weight of a car is thrown forward, its rear wheels aren’t usually lifted off the ground. But it could happen in a Jeep Renegade.
In 2015, Gonzalez was in the midst of testing a 1.6-liter Jeep Renegade when he decided to do an emergency braking test from around 84 mph (135 km/h). He narrated that he was already expecting the body of the front-wheel-drive diesel-powered Jeep Renegade to lean forward during emergency braking. However, the SUV continued to lean forward and then he was seeing all asphalt on his front instead of the sky on his horizon.
Gonzalez remarked that despite experiencing this, he kept on stepping on the braking pedal. He remarked that he had the feeling that the rear wheels of the Renegade had been lifted and were in the air. He added that he did not feel any blow when the rear wheels landed back on the road.
To confirm what he just felt, Gonzalez set up a camera and repeated the emergency braking test – and ended up having the same result.
Gonzalez then informed Fiat Group Spain about what had happened. Fiat Group Spain then sent technicians to inspect the Jeep Renegade and found out the culprit -- a faulty braking system. Once the Renegade was repaired, Gonzales had it undergo the same test again, and the vehicle performed as expected.
Just recently, in September 2016, Gonzalez was again testing a Renegade, but a 2.0-liter diesel, four-wheel-drive model. Interestingly, two emergency braking tests (from 62 mph or 100km/h) had the rear wheel lifted off the ground each time, although to a lesser extent than the 2015 incident. A third test showed the braking force “declined substantially” but did not made the rear wheels lift off from ground. A fourth test the next day – this time from higher speed – also did not made the rear wheels lift. However, Gonzalez notes that while rear wheels remain planted on the ground, the nose of the SUV always pitched down significantly under heavy braking.
While Gonzalez did not to inform Fiat Group Spain on the matter, he was able to get in touch with his contact who said that a number of Renegade had been tested since the 2015 incident, but all did not produce a lift.
Interestingly, Italian Web site HDMotori.it did a similar test on a different Renegade in 2015, resulting to a small hop from the rear wheels.