You may have heard of Tough Mudder. An endurance event over 10 or 12 miles, it pushes participants to their limits as they run, jump and leap over a series of gruelling challenges.
It’s not an undertaking for the faint hearted, with some Tough Mudder events incorporating electric shocks at times. It’s a real challenge designed to test a person’s physical and mental strength.
However, what would it be like to try out such a course when behind the wheel? Well, to celebrate the launch of its limited edition Renegade Tough Mudder, Jeep invited us to do just that.
Powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine, the Jeep Renegade Tough Mudder doesn’t initially look like a car capable of tackling extreme inclines and deep mud – but thanks to four-wheel-drive, relatively low body weight and a low-range gearbox, it should be better on the rough stuff than its looks would lead you to believe.
Thankfully, we’d get to test that theory out on a variety of challenges, ranging from near-vertical ascents to chassis-bending rock climbs – just like a real Tough Mudder.
The Tough Mudder Renegade also gets a series of special features, including exclusive body decals and a chunkier front bumper for a more rugged, off-road-ready look. It’s also limited to just 100 units, so it’s rare, too.
The Renegade is fitted with Selec-Terrain, which gives better traction on tricky surfaces. We’d also use the car’s Hill Descent Control. This allows you to descend a steep gradient in a smooth and controlled fashion, no matter how slippery the surface. It’d come in handy during our first challenge, which was a steep incline followed by an equally sharp descent.
— Jeep UK (@Jeep_UK) April 27, 2017
Going up, the little Renegade never faltered. Scrabbling at the surface, it pulled up the rise eagerly, making the summit in next to no time. Coming back down, it remained composed. There’s always the temptation to use the brakes in these situations – though the systems work their best when left to their own devices. Applying the brakes can often confuse them.
A deep section of muddy water was the next challenge. We were thankful that we didn’t have to run through it wearing shorts and a t-shirt like Tough Mudder participants do – with the only discomfort coming when the Renegade’s air-conditioning blew a little too much cold air into the cabin – tough, we know.
Thankfully, the little Jeep remained water tight despite the quagmire, and faultlessly pulled through to the other side. For such a small car, its level of off-road capability is impressive.
It continued to barrel over a series of gravelly sections, before we carried on to a deeply wooded area. Tree roots littered the course, threatening to rip at a car’s underbody and mangle its suspension.
Surprisingly enough, the Renegade remained light on its feet. Had we been out on the course on foot, we’d have easily slipped around a lot more than the Jeep did. An axle-bending rocky section proved no match for it, though we did hear the odd scrape as boulders collided with the car’s undercarriage. Thankfully, the Renegade is fitted with metal skid plates designed with this in mind– so we weren’t too worried about damaging the base of the car.
As we rolled through the finish line, it was clear that the Renegade Tough Mudder had proven us wrong. Far from being some boxy soft-roader, it is in fact a truly capable car on difficult terrain – one which rightly lives up to the challenge set by Tough Mudder. For us, it was also a real benefit to be able to see what a Tough Mudder challenge is all about from the warmth of a car – and without the electric shocks.