Jeep’s newest model, the Renegade, is its smallest one yet, at least since the early days of this brand’s 75-year history. Built in Italy, it is the first “foreign” Jeep and shares a platform with the Fiat 500X.

Pricing and Equipment

Starting at $17,995 (plus a $995 destination charge) for the base Sport edition with front-wheel drive and the base 1.4-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine, five other trims are available. Notably, a fully-optioned, top-of-the-line Trailhawk 4x4 model will cost about $30,500 with packages such as the 6.5-inch navigation group with UConnect, the Premium Trailhawk Group, and a trailer tow group selected.

Standard equipment for the model tested included:

  • Daytime running lamps
  • Sixteen-inch steel lamps
  • Remote keyless entry
  • A tilt and telescopic steering column
  • Six-speed manual transmission
  • Four-speaker audio system

Performance Pros

Jeep Renegade
  • Our testers found the front-wheel drive model up to the task and said it is the ideal choice for city driving.
  • The more powerful and normally-aspirated 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine paired with the segment’s only 9-speed automatic transmission is a plus and is best suited for off-road use.
  • The Renegade is quiet except when riding on rough roads. Otherwise, very little road noise intruded at speeds below 70 mph.

Performance Cons

  • The base engine comes paired with a six-speed manual gearbox only, making it an unlikely choice for city drivers.
  • The nine-speed automatic transmission is fairly new to the market and still has quality issues that must be worked out. Our testers found that it occasionally stumbles and hunts for the next gear, although the lower gears managed to draw ample acceleration.
  • Drivetrain noise with the larger engine is noisy at higher speeds and the electric power steering is fairly uninvolved, but the latter point won’t be noticed by most drivers.

Interior Pros

  • Jeep cues are evident on the instrument display featuring an irregular “splat” shaped red line on the tachometer, meant to educe a paintball splash.
  • Models equipped with park assist include a nifty 1940’s Jeep-Willy representation for each parked car within your maneuvering space.
  • The available color schemes range from the acceptable to the “fetching,” including one two-tone layout lauded by our testers.

Interior Cons

  • You’ll be forgiven if you don’t recognize the Renegade’s interior as a Jeep. Our testers considered the cabin refined, and very much un-Jeep-like.
  • The center vent pods may be too cute for Jeep, causing one reviewer to note the similarity to Wall-E, the Disney character.
  • The cabin is wide, with bolstered seats up front, but rear space is tight. Back seat passengers can expect to find their knees pressing against the front seats.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

Despite sharing its platform with Fiat, Internet Brands’ staff said, “This is really a Jeep!” The Trailhawk edition with its two-speed transfer case and heavier feel give this model a robustness not found elsewhere in this class.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

Some may find the Renegade too cute to be a Jeep. That’s a problem Jeep had with the Patriot and Compass, but sales have proven that all three models have a strong following. Importantly, the Renegade enables Jeep to access other markets where small models are much more accepted than they are in the US.

The Bottom Line

Jeep Renegade Interior

The burgeoning subcompact SUV market is comprised of models from most major players, including Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Chevrolet, and Subaru. When it comes to off-road capability, not a single competitor can match the Jeep Renegade.