Especially since the last-generation “JK” model debuted in 2006, Jeep folks have been installing hideous aftermarket grilles onto their Wranglers to make them look “tougher.” Now that pandemic has spilled over to the Renegade, with Italian tuner “Militem” going all-out to make the tiny, front-drive-based compact crossover look macho. For some reason.
Earlier this summer, a Como, Italy-based company called Militem (whom I haven’t heard of before, and frankly know little about, other than the fact that they also offer a bunch of strange-grille-having Wranglers) showed off its “Hero,” which is essentially just a Jeep Renegade with a wacky body kit. That kit includes big body-color fender flares, body-color front and rear bumpers, a wacky grille that says “MILITEM” right in the center, and hood vents.
On the interior, the beefed-up Renegade offers leather and Alcantara seats, cow hide on the dashboard, special floor and trunk mats, unique sill plates, and a specific Militem steering wheel wrap.
Powering the little Jeep—which starts as either a 4x4 Limited or a Trailhawk model—is either a 1.3-liter inline-four turbo or a 2.0-liter diesel. Militem’s website seems to imply that those engines can be had in stock form, making the standard 180 horsepower and 170 HP, respectively, or they can each get another 20 ponies from, according to Carscoops, some “chip tuning.”
For the most part, I think all of that looks fine. The lift looks good, the flares and bumpers look nice, and Cooper Discoverer AT3s are solid tires. The wheels are big, but they’re not too egregious, and I actually don’t mind the hood vents shown above, either.
But damn, that grille:
What’s with Jeeps and hideous grilles? Obviously, owners of vehicles from other brands swap on hideous grilles, too, but considering the fact that Jeep’s most prominent and historic design feature is its slotted grille, I guess I wouldn’t expect this trend to be as popular as it is.
Oh well, I’m sure this won’t be the last of the wacky grilles I see. In fact, I bet I’ll spot a bunch at this weekend’s Toledo Jeep Fest.
Update: Aug 6, 2019 2:25 P.M.: This post has been edited to clarify that these models are four-wheel drive.