Crossovers/SUVs are one of the hottest segments in automotive sales right now, with buyers demanding a lot of utility and 4×4 capability in a compact package. But, the problem with many of the offerings in this space is that they all look the same. While there are some exceptions, the mutant amphibian Nissan Juke and squat Mini Clubman aside, models like the Honda HRV, Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-3, and Subaru Forester all look – and function – like family members at a reunion. Jeep’s Renegade is a different animal, offering some genuine Jeepness with the ability to eat dirt and climb trails, but it’s also pricier and less efficient than most of its competition.
Iconic Jeep styling carries through to the Renegade lineup, and there are plenty of fun design touches throughout the cabin. But if you plan on using yours to conquer tough terrain, you’ll want the more rugged Trailhawk model. If that’s the case, it’s worth checking out the upcoming 2023 Renegade Trailhawk Red Edition, which will feature unique trim and interior upgrades to help make your vehicle stand out in the crowd.
In terms of driving, the Renegade is a lot of fun for drivers who enjoy brisk acceleration runs and quick cornering. The front seats are comfortable and the wide cabin feels upscale, thanks to some nice color choices and premium touches like soft seat fabrics with contrasting stitching. However, the back seat is tight for a small SUV and the UConnect infotainment system feels dated at this point in its life cycle.
Jeep is still working out some kinks with the Renegade’s powertrain and its ability to handle tough trails. Its turbo four accelerated fairly well during our testing, but it had trouble with one particularly steep hill where low gear and lots of revs were needed to maintain traction. The engine also needs 91-octane fuel for maximum output.
The Renegade’s price tag is high for its segment, but its three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance coverage are competitive. And the brand’s willingness to offer a wide range of options is reassuring.
Overall, the Renegade is a decent small SUV for those who don’t need its off-road prowess. But, it’s also pricier than most of its competitors and has lower resale values than the average subcompact crossover. For those who have a passion for the Jeep brand, the Renegade’s unique design and off-road capability may be enough to offset these shortcomings. But for the rest, there are probably better alternatives on the market.