Re: Cherokee Renegade auto transmision issues.
Fresh ATF+4 fluid is light red in color, but it can become lightly brown over time. Fresh fluid has more or less a sweet smell to it, but when it smells burnt, then it is not a good sign.
The late transmission engagement after startup is most probably caused by a leaking checkvalve in the spin-on return filter. After standing still for some hours, the fluid can return partly from the torque converter to the transmission pan and it will take some time to fill the torque converter up again. Without fluid the torque converter can not transfer any torque.
Did you check if there is any fault code set? If you donīt have a scanner, try the key dance: ignition switch off/run three times and leave in run at the third time. The odometer will show DONE when no faults, or any fault code. Is the check engine light on?