The Renegade is Jeep's aging entry in the subcompact SUV segment. Jeep introduced the model on the same platform as the Fiat 500X back in 2015, and although it has received infotainment revisions and an updated turbocharged engine, the pint-sized Jeep is largely unchanged. The tiny Jeeplet competes with other entry-level SUVs including the Subaru Crosstrek, Ford Bronco Sport, and Kia Seltos.
The Renegade's greatest strength is its off-road capability in Trailhawk guise. With that variant's Active Drive Low 4x4 system, 8.7 inches of ground clearance, and underbody skidplates, it's surprisingly trail-ready. That said, even the standard Renegade's AWD system provides confident traction. We're fans of the intuitively laid-out infotainment system, too. Styling is another strong point, at least for folks who like the Jeep aesthetic.
Unfortunately, that's where the Renegade's positive attributes run out. Evaluating a Renegade Limited, the endless cutesy Easter eggs felt like a poor attempt to distract from the subcompact Jeep's poor interior packaging; the interior is more cramped than most competitors. Performance is underwhelming with either engine, too, and we've called out the SUV for sloppy handling.
As a package, the Renegade just falls behind compared to its competition. Buyers who plan to stick to pavement will be better served by a Kia Soul or Subaru Crosstrek, and for those seeking off-road prowess in a less compromised package, go for a Ford Bronco Sport.
Jeep's 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is now the only engine option, delivering 177 hp and 210 lb-ft of torque. Testing an AWD-only Renegade Trailhawk, it took 8.9 seconds to scoot up to 60 mph. Fuel economy numbers read 22-24/27-32 mpg (2021 figures).
The Renegade only earns a four-star (out of five) overall safety rating from the NHTSA. Crashworthiness ratings from the IIHS are decent, with only the small overlap front passenger-side test resulting in a less-than-perfect Acceptable rating, but the headlights are rated as Acceptable, Marginal, or Poor. There are certainly safer SUVs in the segment.
Jeep also includes a handful of driver assist active safety features on every Renegade. Standard features include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and (not including the Trailhawk model) forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.
The Renegade offers a reasonable amount of space inside for a subcompact SUV, but compared to a segment leader like the Subaru Crosstrek, the pint-sized Jeep fails to impress.
|Legroom (front/rear)||Cargo Space (seats up/down)|
|2022 Jeep Renegade||41.2/35.1 inches||18.4/50.8 cubic feet|
|2022 Subaru Crosstrek||43.1/36.5 inches||20.8/55.3 cubic feet|
Good news for Renegade buyers: New for 2022, all models include the larger 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment display. Last year's base system was a 7.0-inch setup, and before that Renegades made do with a tiny 5.0-inch unit. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, as is a six-speaker audio system. A nine-speaker Kenwood audio system is optionally available.
If you want to go off-roading in a Renegade, your best bet will be to buy a Renegade Trailhawk. The top-spec model comes standard with AWD, plus a "low-range" setting, hill descent control, and red exterior accents. On the trail, we noticed confident stability, decent articulation, and plenty of traction.
We wouldn't strongly recommend any variant of the Renegade unless you only want to buy a Jeep and are looking for a subcompact. Our thoughts are, if you're going for a Renegade, you might as well get the one that best aligns with Jeep's off-road heritage and splurge for the Trailhawk.