I’ve been driving the 2017 Jeep Renegade for about four months now. I haven’t put as many miles on it as I would have liked, but I have had the opportunity to try out one of the Renegade’s most expensive add-ons: the $1,095 MySky roof.
So what is the MySky roof? It’s celebratory sign language flying toward the heavens as two young friends cruise down a quiet road, dusk settling over the countryside. It’s cheerful suburban hipsters casually loading instruments without ever opening a door. It’s a brief glimpse of an urban fantasy soaring overhead. This is what you’re in store for when the top comes off. Or so suggests the infamous Renegade ad rife with idyllic depictions of the millennial lifestyle, the Jeep serving as the willing sidekick for every Tinder bio #adventure. Natch, I felt compelled to test this feature. Is this an actual worthwhile option, or is it an expensive extra that’s more marketing gimmick than a functional feature?
The instructions come in handy illustrations-without-words form, not unlike what comes with Ikea furniture. Upon first glance, it looks like a simple AF four-step process. Twist a key to unlock the roof, pull the handle to pop out each panel, slide them off, and stow in the provided storage case. There’s no way to mess this up.
JK. On my first attempt to remove the roof, I got stuck on step two. The key worked fine (after Jeep delivered the correct key to our office; the tool included was not the right one). But when I pulled the handle to pop out the front panel, the right side wouldn’t budge. After exactly 10 minutes and 40 seconds, I gave up, frustrated with my inability to troubleshoot with Jeep’s provided instructions, and sought videos online. A video from Olathe Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram (there’s got to be a more elegant name there, guys) showed the process … going exactly as the illustrated instructions suggested it should. Another video from Croton Auto Park showed the same. This is supposed to be easy, yet it’s not. Something in my MySky roof wasn’t right.
As I do when Ikea instructions make no sense, I decided to just push harder until it worked or broke. Some forceful shoves that would’ve snapped a Kallax in half eventually loosened the right side, and the panel, after 19 minutes and 20 seconds, was out. The rear panel follows the same process. This one came out in seconds. All in, the removal and storage took 26:57 on my inaugural attempt. Subsequent attempts over the next several days took only a few minutes total. Other staffers also had no problems. Was my initial struggle emblematic of bad instructions, or was it user error? IDK.
Reinstalling is equally simple (or frustrating, depending on your ability to follow directions). Like on my initial removal, I struggled with basic instructions, and once my confusion subsided and the panels were once again secure, I was out 9:39 of my life. Also like before, attempts since then have been much quicker.
Given the time to get the roof off and back on again—once you figure it out, it’s still longer than raising or lowering the roof on a convertible—I wondered if it would be practical to just leave the panels off for extended periods of time; TBH, I really don’t wanna do the installation song and dance in a Target parking lot. Obvi, if you were to leave your vehicle unattended with giant roof holes exposed, there’s a chance a renegade could break in. (That “hey hey hey” ad, after all, begins with a glimpse of youths disrespecting boundaries and personal property as they hop a padlocked chain-link fence.) But is it really that easy? Maybe a would-be thief would be troubled enough to pass, and I could run in for a quick purchase and be back to my car before any shenanigans happen.
Nope. In my pretend-you’re-inclined-toward-malfeasance, sorry-not-sorry-your-stuff’s-mine test, it took me 12 seconds to unlock the back door by climbing through the roof (quick enough that a slick thief could pull it off before any would-be good samaritans in the parking lot even notice anything suspicious). Probably should’ve seen that coming, but at least now I know.
With the MySky roof off, the Renegade drives like, well, a small SUV with the roof off. You’re exposed to the elements, which is kind of the point. Wind noise rises, but it didn’t seem particularly worse than driving with the windows down. Only once did I feel compelled to throw my hands up toward the sky, but overall, it doesn’t strike me as the life-changing, coolness-affirming feature the marketing campaigns suggest it could be.
Not that it would need to be that to be worth the price tag. As someone who prefers windows-down driving to climate control, I’d say the MySky roof at least deserves strong consideration, but YMMV. And know that even if you RTFM, you might be left a little frustrated at first. Once you get the hang of it, though, you’re probably only a quiet road on a starlit night away from paradise.