While the Jeep Renegade may not look like one of the automaker’s off-roading-oriented SUVs, the subcompact crossover is a lot more capable than it lets on. The brand’s entry-level model has a good amount of tech features, a large cargo area, and has a sense of humor that’s missing from the crowded segment. The Renegade hits a lot of the right notes for consumers looking to get into a small vehicle that has a lot of capability.
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2018 Jeep Renegade Overview
What's New for 2018
New tech features have been added to the list of features for the Renegade for the new year. A rearview camera is finally standard on all trims. Latitude, Limited, and Trailhawk trims get the automaker’s Uconnect 4 infotainment system, which adds a 7-inch touchscreen, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The aforementioned trims are also available with an optional 8.4-inch touchscreen with navigation for 2018. Lastly, a redesigned center console with more front-seat storage has been added to the crossover.
Choosing Your Jeep Renegade
The Renegade is available with two powertrains. The standard one is a 1.4-liter turbocharged inline-four that generates 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The 1.4-liter engine is paired to a six-speed manual transmission. A 2.4-liter inline-four is an option and generates 180 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. The larger four-cylinder engine is matched to a nine-speed automatic gearbox.
Front-wheel drive is standard for both engines, but can (and should – this is a Jeep, after all) be replaced with an all-wheel-drive system. Opting for power to all four wheels costs an additional $1,500 on all trims, except the Trailhawk, which has all-wheel drive as standard.
Jeep only places its Trail Rated badge on the most off-roading-focused model, which happens to be the Trailhawk for the Renegade lineup. In order to earn the badge, the subcompact crossover has to pass traction, maneuverability, ground clearance, water fording, and articulation tests. The crossover also has features to help it traverse terrain, like a SelecTerrain traction control system, Jeep Active Drive Low, which adds a 20:1 crawl ratio, hill descent control, and hill start assist
As a subcompact crossover, the Renegade can hold a decent amount of cargo – up to 18.5 cubic feet of cargo with the second row in place and 50.8 cubes with them folded flat.
The Renegade is available in five different trims:
For consumers that aren’t interested in going off-roading, the Trailhawk trim might prove to be a little too rough for daily use. The Latitude trim is well priced and comes with a lot of options, allowing owners to outfit their Renegade as they see fit without breaking the bank. Getting all-wheel drive is a must, while choosing an engine boils down to what kind of transmission you want. The Advanced Technology Group, Cold Weather Group, and the Popular Equipment Group are packages that are worth looking into.
2018 Jeep Renegade Review
When Jeep jumped into the subcompact crossover segment with the Renegade, it did so very carefully as to not offend its ravenous fanbase. And this tiny crossover didn’t disappoint with its classic Jeep styling and surprisingly capable Trailhawk model.
Outside of the two positives, though, there is little to celebrate about the Jeep Renegade.
Continue reading to find out what we thought about this tiny Jeep.
Generally, a range-topping model isn’t marked as a great value, but that’s the case for the 2018 Jeep Renegade, as we found the Limited trim to be the best value. Despite its range of upscale standard features that includes a seven-inch touchscreen, SiriusXM satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 18-inch wheels, a 115-volt outlet, leather seating with heated front seats, and more, it’s not terribly priced at $26,840 for a front-drive model.
But this is a Jeep, and even in a tiny crossover, that badge means nothing without power going to all four wheels. Plan on spending an extra $1,500 for the Renegade's all-wheel-drive system.
We also recommend adding the Advanced Technology Group ($995). Adding this package requires the addition of the Safety and Security Group ($895), too. The former adds a batch of active safety systems, making the tiny Renegade even safer on today's big highways, while the latter's importance centers on the headlights – it replaces Jeep's traditionally awful halogen headlights with brighter, clearer HIDs. That improvement alone is worth the $895 price tag.
- Model: 2018 Jeep Renegade Limited 4x4
- Engine: 2.4-liter MultiAir four-cylinder
- Output: 180 hp / 175 lb-ft
- Transmission:9-speed automatic
- Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
- MPG: 21 city / 29 hwy
- Options: Advanced Technology Group ($995, automatic high beams, forward collision alert, lane-departure warning, and rear parking sensors) and Safety and Security Group ($895, blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, HID headlights, security alarm, and tonneau cover)
- Base Price:$28,345 ($1,195 destination fee included)
- Best Value Price:$30,230 (destination fee included)
Despite being so tiny, the Renegade actually has some off-road chops – at least the Trailhawk version does. The Renegade Trailhawk comes with 8.7 inches of ground clearance, standard all-wheel drive, skid plates, a simulated crawl mode, and more to make it a true off-roader. It can handle trails well enough to satisfy 99.99 percent of its owners, and for that minority, Jeep has a suite of more capable vehicles to choose from.
The 2.4-liter engine is just fine, offering enough power with a minimum of fuss. Fiat Chrysler's nine-speed automatic is on duty, occasionally, delivering the same mixed performance that's singled it out since its debut. Jeep also offers a 1.4-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder with an available six-speed manual, although you can't score that pairing on the range-topping Limited or the Trailhawk.
That's not a bad thing, though. The 1.4-liter engine leaves a bit to be desired in acceleration, and while the 2.4-liter does its job it can be noisy. The Renegade's off-road focus, meanwhile, sacrifices handling ability. Fuel economy is disappointing across the board.
The Renegade certainly meets the expectations of Jeep faithful in terms of looks, as its classic styling and Jeep-centric Easter eggs satisfy most traditionalists. Additionally, all the interior’s storage cubbies make great stash points for various items. There's enough room in the second row, cargo volume is usable, and headroom in all five seats is fantastic, even with the available sunroof.
On the flip-side, the Renegade’s squared-off looks may be a touch too much for some buyers. This is especially true in a segment filled with more sedan-like designs. If you want a crossover without overt SUV styling cues, the Renegade is not your cup of tea.
The Best and Worst Things
The Trailhawk model is the best thing the Renegade has going for it. Not only does it look sharper than the rest of the lineup, but its off-road-ready features back up the name.
On the other hand, the Renegade just isn’t a comfortable vehicle. It’s bouncy, the seats only offer a little comfort, it doesn’t take corners well, and the price is rather dear.
Right For? Wrong For?
With its low base price, trendy features, and funky looks, the 2018 Jeep Renegade is perfect for college students.
While crossovers are great for families, the Renegade is not. Its loud cabin, iffy ride, and not-so-hot fuel economy just don’t match up well with this type of buyer.
The Bottom Line
For what it is, an off-roader in subcompact crossover guise, the Renegade does well and fits its niche perfectly without ticking off Jeep traditionalists. Unfortunately, this niche excludes the more lucrative growing-family demographic.
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