A baby Jeep Wrangler, at least in looks. The 2020 Jeep Renegade looks a lot like the Jeep Wrangler – even more so than most of the other Jeep crossover models. Its upright grille, squared shoulders, tall roof pillars, and boxy edges contribute to that vibe.
Inside, the cabin attempts to point to this model’s off-road antics, with its air vents that look like motocross goggles and the dashboard grab bar on the passenger side. These are features you won’t find on other diminutive models, including the competing Nissan Kicks and Hyundai Venue, which are front-wheel-drive-only vehicles, by the way.
There's also a lot of practicality evident, including knobs and buttons for various cabin controls. One knob controls the various traction modes.
Removable roof panels. With the Wrangler, you can remove the roof, doors, and drop down the windshield. The Renegade doesn’t go nearly as far as that, but you can remove the roof panels. This feature allows owners to enjoy a connection to their surroundings no other small crossover provides.
If removing the roof panels isn’t your thing, then opt for the panoramic roof. Like the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the roof allows light to flood into the cabin and may prove the better connection to the outdoors for people who have little interest in trailblazing.
Take it off-road. Although not every model in this segment offers all-wheel drive, the Jeep Renegade does. In fact, its system mimics a four-wheel-drive arrangement with its 50/50 front-to-rear power distribution and robust crawl ratio. The latter simulates a low transmission gear, which is useful for freeing the vehicle from mud. Not one competitor can make that claim.
We wouldn’t recommend taking the Renegade places where a Wrangler would go even in Trailhawk guise with its higher suspension, hill descent control, and even front to back torque split. Yet, there are enough light-duty trails around where the Renegade is “game ready.”
Improved safety tech. The Jeep Renegade carries a Top Safety Pick designation from the IIHS and a four-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA. This year, Jeep makes more of its safety tech available on more trims.
Indeed, all versions except the Trailhawk (which can’t use sensors due to incompatibility) offer automatic emergency braking with forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, front and rear parking sensors, and automatic high beam headlights. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are also available. As equipped, the Renegade offers a similar level of equipment as the Toyota C-HR.
Final thoughts. The 2020 Jeep Renegade is an outlier in a segment geared toward on-road mobility and storage versatility. It does both and then adds a layer of off-road fun when equipped with all-wheel drive.
Top trims with various package upgrades can push the final price to about $33,000, which is high for this segment and about where a base Wrangler begins. The Renegade Latitude offers the best bang for the buck and costs thousands of dollars less.
Check prices for the 2020 Jeep Renegade »