2019 Jeep Renegade

2019 Jeep Renegade Review: The Baby Offroader

by Adam Lynton

In the small SUV segment, the Jeep Renegade provides buyers with the choice of opting for a true off-roading champion, or a mid-level subcompact family carrier. With two engines on offer - the standard 2.4-liter Tigershark inline-four or the new 1.3-liter turbo four-cylinder - the Renegade can be quite widely customized to suit your specific needs. The class-leading Trailhawk variant comes with all the necessary underpinnings to give it true off-roading prowess including five modes catering to off-roading, or just tackling harsher weather conditions. It's also the only vehicle in the class that boasts a disconnecting rear axle and power take-off unit. With rivals like the Subaru Crosstrek offering better utility, and the Kia Soul a much softer urban ride, is the Renegade really worth looking at? Are the 75 years of the Jeep heritage really sensible in this guise, or should buyers look at the Renegade's sibling, the Jeep Compass?

2019 Jeep Renegade Changes: What’s the difference vs 2018 Renegade?

With many changes for the 2019 model year, the Renegade is touted to be better than ever. An updated exterior design features all-new wheel styles, including a 19-inch aluminum Granite Crystal option for the Latitude and Limited trims, refreshed front fascias and grille surrounds, and three new exterior paint colors. Changes to available packages include upgrades to the LED Lighting Group, which now adds LED headlamps, daytime running lights, cornering fog lamps and taillights, as well as new features being added to the Advanced Tech Group (namely adaptive cruise control, ParkSense park assist, and front park sensors). Refreshed graphics on the instrument cluster round out the cosmetic upgrades for the 2019 Renegade. Front and center on the list of upgrades is a brand-new 1.3-liter turbocharged engine, which is paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission and makes 177 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque - it is fitted to the Limited and Trailhawk models as standard, and can be added to the other trims optionally. Lastly, active grille shutters are standard on all but the Trailhawk models, featuring stop/start technology for optimal fuel economy.

Pros and Cons

  • Unique look among more conservative segment rivals
  • Brilliant new 1.3-liter turbo
  • Good off-roading ability for smaller SUV
  • Impressive infotainment system
  • Slow, unimpressive acceleration from 2.4-liter engine
  • Costly to customize
  • Below average storage space
  • Iffy automatic transmission

Renegade Exterior

With quite a divisive appearance, the Renegade has followers who appreciate the throw-back of the original Willys Jeep with its rounded lights and squared-off front end, while there are those who feel it doesn't quite fit in with the stylish, classy look of more sophisticated stablemates like the Cherokee. Either way, the Renegade offers a redesigned front fascia with a black grille surround and chrome rings from the base model, with halogen headlamps and daytime running lights. Base models are fitted with 16-inch black styled wheels. From the Latitude trim, black roof rails and body-colored exterior mirrors are included, while the Limited trim has SubShine front and rear accents and 18-inch wheels as standard. Top-of-the-line Trailhawk variants add skid-plates, signature red tow hooks, a blacked-out roof, a hood decal and unique badging. A dual-pane sunroof is optionally available to all models.

2019 Jeep Renegade Front Angle View Jeep
2019 Jeep Renegade Rear Angle View Jeep
2019 Jeep Renegade Rear Angle View 1 Jeep
See All 2019 Jeep Renegade Exterior Photos

Dimensions

As the baby in the family, the Renegade is smaller in stature to its siblings - it measures 166.6 inches in length, 79.6 inches in width with mirrors extended, and stands at 65.4 inches in height (66.5 inches when equipped with 4x4 drivetrain). The Renegade rides on a 101.2-inch wheelbase. While these dimensions are generally a little bigger than the Kia Soul and Subaru Crosstrek, it's not quite as long as the Jeep Cherokee - and the Cherokee's 106.2-inch wheelbase is also more substantial. Curb weights for the Renegade vary between 3,170 lbs for the 4x2 trims equipped with the new 1.3-liter engine, to a maximum of 3,532 lbs for the 4x4 Trailhawk variants. The Jeep Cherokee is substantially heftier (around 500 pounds in base model comparisons), while the Kia Soul is just under 3,000 lbs in entry-level guise.

As a formidable off-roader, the Renegade also offers approach, breakover, and departure angles of 21/24/32.1 degrees in 4x4 mode, and even better in the Trailhawk edition at 30.5/25.7/34.3 degrees. With ground clearance of between 6.7 inches and 8.7 inches, the baby Jeep can wade up to 19 inches deep in Trailhawk trim.

Exterior Colors

Eleven no-cost choices are available when selecting an exterior color for your Renegade, including the new-for-2019 shades of Sting-Gray, Bikini, and Slate Blue. Colorado Red, Omaha Orange, Granite Crystal, Jetset Blue, Glacier Metallic, Black, and Alpine White are also on offer but to our eyes, Solar Yellow makes the Renegade really stand out from the crowd. Not all colors are available to all trim levels, so best pick your model before settling on a paint job.

  • Alpine White Clearcoat
  • Bikini Metallic Clear Coat
  • Anvil Clearcoat, Build Out: 10/15/2018
  • Black Clearcoat
  • Colorado Red Clearcoat
  • Glacier Metallic Clearcoat
  • Granite Crystal Metallic Clearcoat
  • Hypergreen Clearcoat, Build Out: 10/15/2018
  • Jetset Blue Clearcoat
  • Sting-Gray Clearcoat
  • Omaha Orange Clearcoat
  • Solar Yellow Clearcoat, Build Out: 02/14/2019
  • Slate Blue Pearlcoat, Build Out: 04/11/2019
  • Solar Yellow Clearcoat, Build Out: 12/04/2018

Renegade Performance

All models, barring the Upland and Trailhawk, are available as either front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive. The standard powertrain for the entry-level models in the Renegade range is a fiercely-named 2.4-liter Tigershark inline-four that makes 180 horsepower, with the option of upgrading to the all-new 1.3-liter motor. The latter is standard on the top two Limited and Trailhawk trims producing 177 hp.

With 8.7 inches of ground clearance and an improved 21:1 crawl ratio, the Trailhawk is designed to tackle whatever you throw at it. Skid plates, hill descent control, and the ability to ford into 19 inches of water makes it ideal for off-roading adventures. Jeep Active Drive and Active Drive Low 4x4 systems include Selec-Terrain that has five different modes, namely Auto, Snow, Sand and Mud, Rock mode, which allows for superior off-roading or all-weather traction. Appropriately equipped, the Renegade will also tow up to 2,000 pounds.

With all these mechanical bells and whistles, the Renegade is equipped to work hard, but it fails dismally at offering a speedy take-off with either of the two engine options, making it feel more suited to off-road driving; with a 0-60 mph time of nine seconds or just under for the Trailhawk and Limited trims which are equipped as standard with the torquier 1.3-liter turbocharged engine, the Renegade is still pretty sluggish.

2019 Jeep Renegade Front View Driving Jeep
2019 Jeep Renegade Front View Driving 1 Jeep
2019 Jeep Renegade Wheel Jeep

Engine and Transmission

For the 2019 Renegade, there are two powertrains available. The standard configuration on the entry-level models is a 2.4-liter inline-four that produces 180 hp and 175 lb-ft. Optional to all, and standard on the Limited and Trailhawk, is the new 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, that kicks out 177 hp and 210 lb-ft. Both powertrains come paired to a standard nine-speed automatic transmission; the transmission and the base engine, however, are both a little uninspiring. Added to the motor's gutless power delivery, the gearbox seems confused from time to time, especially when you urge it onwards - there isn't really a sense of intuitive switching, and it seems lazy to downshift when you want to overtake or accelerate hard, making it a rather frustrating experience overall. The 1.3-liter turbo engine is the better option, although it still has the disadvantage of being paired to the same transmission, and doesn't substantially improve things performance-wise.

  • Engines
    1.3-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    9-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    4X4, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Smaller than most of its Jeep siblings, the Renegade benefits by being more nimble and agile. Some body roll is bound to be felt around corners, especially at speed, but in general, it feels smooth and composed. The firmer setup of 4x4 trims, especially the off-road-focused Trailhawk edition, makes for a little more bumping about and jostling, which is better soaked up in mid-level trims like the Latitude. The cabin is adequately insulated from road and engine noise, although some wind-noise is expected from an SUV that is not quite as aerodynamically-shaped as others. Opting for the My Sky Open-air roof system significantly exacerbates this.

On the plus side, the steering offers some relief: accurate and precise, there is a good amount of feedback that makes it easy to place the vehicle and get it to do what you want. Tight parking spaces and rougher-terrain are managed with equal ease. To supplement its agility, the Renegade is also fitted with excellent brakes, which feel responsive, firm, and effective.

While there isn't much excitement to be had in terms of day-to-day driving, off-roading is another cup of tea altogether. The low-range gearing on the Trailhawk means that hitting the ruts and trenches of the Wild West are nothing short of effortless - the Renegade is more at home off-road than it is on the freeway, and stands head and shoulders above rivals in this regard.

Renegade Gas Mileage

In comparison to rivals, the Renegade's fuel economy figures are rather poor - not as awful as a fully-fledged off-roader, but middling enough to be seen as a disadvantage. With EPA estimates of 24/32/27 mpg in its most efficient guise (configured as front-wheel-drive with the 1.3-liter turbo engine), the Renegade's least efficient variant - using the 2.4-liter motor and four-wheel-drive - only manages 21/29/24 mpg. The Kia Soul achieves 26/31/28 mpg, while the Subaru Crosstrek does the best, at 27/33/29 mpg. The Trailhawk, which is the off-road-focused variant of the Renegade range, can achieve 22/27/24 mpg.

With a 12.7-gallon fuel tank, the most frugal Renegade will be able to drive for around 343 miles before needing to top up.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    12.7 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 21/29 mpg
* 2019 Jeep Renegade Sport 4x4

Renegade Interior

Much like many of the competitors in this segment, the Renegade's cabin features a mix of soft-touch materials and some hard plastics, with the entry-level models fitted with cloth upholstery. Leather features higher up in the range, and power-adjustments and heating functionality can be optioned on additionally. The cabin itself is relatively spacious, with the driver and front passenger benefitting the most from the setup - although able to seat five, the rear seat passengers may struggle if they have long legs and are seated behind someone who needs to push their seat all the way back. An optional sunroof or My Sky Open-Air roof system can also be fitted, and infotainment is taken care of by Jeep's Uconnect system in various guises, depending on trim. The base model kicks off the offerings with a five-inch display.

2019 Jeep Renegade Dashboard Jeep
2019 Jeep Renegade Steering Wheel Jeep
2019 Jeep Renegade Steering Wheel Details Jeep
See All 2019 Jeep Renegade Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

As is expected of the small SUV segment, there is enough space to seat five in relative comfort. The front seats are manually adjustable as standard, with six-way settings from the base model increasing in range for higher trims - power-adjustability can be optioned on, together with heating. Headroom and legroom in front are generous, beating out even the Cherokee for space, although the Subaru Crosstrek offers more legroom. As far as the rear seat goes, the Renegade provides more than 40 inches of headroom, which is better than most - rear legroom, by contrast, is dismal, with only 35.1 inches available - the Jeep Cherokee gives 40.3 inches for rear passengers to stretch out. Visibility for the driver is great, with a big broad windshield, large exterior mirrors, and a standard rearview camera to help when parking.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

The Renegade isn't built for ultimate luxury, but is generally on par for the segment - cloth low-back bucket seats are equipped to the Sport trim in Black or Black and Sandstorm, while the Upland and Altitude feature black cloth only. The Latitude trim has premium cloth bucket seats finished in Black or a combination of Black/Ski-Grey or Black/Sandstorm. The Limited upgrades to leather-trimmed bucket seats in Black or Black/Ski-Grey. At the top of the range, the Trailhawk offers premium cloth low-back bucket seats in Black as standard, or premium leather-wrapped buckets also in Black. The Trailhawk has unique console trim and paneling that sets it apart from the rest of the range, too.

Renegade Trunk and Cargo Space

With 18.5 cubic feet of cargo space available behind the rear seat, the Jeep Renegade fares rather moderately against rivals. The Kia Soul offers only a fraction more, while the Subaru Crosstrek provides 20.8 cubes. With the rear seats folded down, the Renegade has storage space of 50.8 cubic feet to offer, which isn't overly impressive. There is an underfloor storage bin that can be useful, but if you option on a full-size spare, you lose this functionality as well. The narrow width of the Renegade, the high floor of the cargo area, and shallow rear hangover make for a somewhat impractical cargo bay overall.

Small-item storage, on the other hand, is not too bad: the door pockets are adequate and can hold a water bottle each. There's also a moderately-sized bin in the center console under the armrest, and a small cubby ahead of the gear shifter. Two additional cup holders up front are nicely sized and have additional grip to prevent tip-overs.

2019 Jeep Renegade Side View Driving Jeep
2019 Jeep Renegade Rear View Driving Jeep
2019 Jeep Renegade Top View Jeep

Renegade Infotainment and Features

Features

It seems that the designers of the Renegade were opting for a more functional approach to the interior of the vehicle, and while it is comfortable and nicely appointed, it isn't really luxurious. Still, it offers cruise control, manual air conditioning, a urethane steering wheel with multi-function controls, manual seat adjustments, push-button start, brake assist, rearview camera, and a tire pressure monitoring system as standard from the entry-level model. This upgrades to dual-zone automatic climate control, adds ambient LED interior lighting, power-adjustable front seats, advanced brake assist, hill descent control, leather-wrapped steering and shifter, and keyless entry as you move up through the trim levels. Heated seats, a dual-pane panoramic sunroof or My Sky Open-Air Roof system, and various advanced driver aids (like blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning, lane-keep assist, and park/unpark assist) can be optioned on by means of available packages.

Infotainment

The Renegade Sport is the entry-level model in the range, and it is equipped with a five-inch infotainment display tethered to the Uconnect 3 system. A six-speaker audio system, integrated voice command with Bluetooth, as well as USB/Aux inputs are standard. From the Latitude trim upwards, the infotainment display is swapped out with a bigger seven-inch screen featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard and an upgrade to the Uconnect 4 system. This also includes SiriusXM with a one-year trial subscription, while adding a second USB port behind the center console. Lower spec trims can be upgraded by means of the Uconnect 7.0 Group, which brings the five-inch screen into line with what is offered on the top-end trims. For the upper-level models, the Uconnect 8.4 Nav Group is available, which replaces the screen with an 8.4-inch touchscreen, GPS navigation, HD radio, and a seven-inch full-color driver information display. The Uconnect system is a good one, using customizable menus and good graphics.

Renegade Problems and Reliability

While J.D Power hasn't officially rated the Renegade for reliability, it was given predicted reliability of two-and-a-half out of five, which is just about below average. Worryingly, the Renegade was also subject to two recalls during the course of 2019, both pertaining to a malfunctioning Occupant Restraint Controller (ORC) module, which could potentially deactivate passive safety features or incorrectly deploy airbags. Only a small number of units were affected by the airbag error, however, and it was predominantly limited to the Upland trim.

For added peace of mind, Jeep provides a three-year/36,000-mile full warranty, five-year/60,000-mile powertrain coverage, and three years or unlimited miles of corrosion protection.

Renegade Safety

Putting the Renegade through its paces, the NHTSA awarded it a total overall front rating of four stars out of five, with the same score given in rollover tests. The IIHS has not put the Renegade through any evaluations for 2019, but 2018 models were tested, returning only three Good scores, one Average, and one Poor - a mixed overall scoring.

Key Safety Features

Seven airbags are standard across the range, and - according to Jeep - the Renegade boasts up to seventy available safety and security features in total. Although we didn't count them, we did find a few standard features that seemed to bolster the Renegade's reputation for safety, namely speed-sensitive power door locks, stability control with roll mitigation, hill start assist, trailer sway control, all-speed traction control, brake assist, rearview camera, and battery rundown protection - all on the base model. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic detection, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and parking assist can be optioned on by means of Technology and Safety packages.

Verdict: Is the 2019 Jeep Renegade a good SUV?

The Renegade seems like a bit of a black sheep in the Jeep family - it's not quite off-road-focused unless you opt for the Trailhawk trim, and it's not quite luxury-oriented, although the Limited variant tries really hard to be. With below-average predicted reliability and average safety scores, the Renegade doesn't really blow your socks off. Still, it has good standard safety features and has a proven track record for being a capable vehicle - it can manage itself really well as an off-roader, and can be quite widely customized to suit your budget and your needs. Unless you are expressly looking for an urban ride characterized by comfort and class, you won't regret buying it. If you're hoping for a bit more comfort and convenience, you'd do well to take the Kia Soul (which is also much, much cheaper) for a test drive first.

What's the Price of the 2019 Jeep Renegade?

The cheapest Renegade available is the front-wheel-drive Sport trim, with an MSRP of $22,275. Moving one trim up to the Latitude requires you to budget $24,125 while the Upland model has a starting price of $25,070. In the middle of the range, the Altitude has a sticker price of $25,120, while the Limited costs $26,645. At the top of the range, the Trailhawk is priced at $27,795. To add all-wheel-drive configuration to the Sport, Altitude, Latitude, or Limited will set you back an additional $1,500. And, if you'd prefer your model with the optional 1.3-liter engine (excluding the Limited and Trailhawk that have it equipped as standard), you need to add another $1,495 to the invoice. This excludes licensing, registration and taxes, as well as a $1,495 destination fee.

2019 Jeep Renegade Models

The 2019 Jeep Renegade is released in six models, namely the Sport, Upland, Latitude, Altitude, Limited, and Trailhawk trim levels. The first four are released with the standard 2.4-liter inline-four engine that produces 180 hp and 175 lb-ft, with the option of fitting the 1.3-liter engine, which is standard on the top two trims - this motor is a four-cylinder turbo unit that produces 177 hp and 210 lb-ft. All models use a nine-speed automatic transmission, and with the exception of the Upland and Trailhawk, can be configured in either front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive.

The Sport is the base model and features halogen headlamps, power windows, cruise control, manual air-con, cruise control, manual six-way adjustable driver's seat, keyless start, a six-speaker sound system, and a five-inch infotainment display, installed with the Uconnect 3 system.

On the Upland trim, 4x4 is standard, and 17-inch wheels replace the 16s on the base model and feature in stylized black. The seating is low-back bucket seats in black cloth.

Although very similar, the next model, the Altitude, adds deluxe cloth high-back bucket seats and a seven-inch display featuring Uconnect 4. It is also available with more packages to upgrade safety and convenience features.

Mid-range is the Latitude, which comes with ambient LED interior lighting, dual-zone climate control, additional USB ports behind the center armrest, and can be customized with 17, 18 or 19-inch wheels.

Second from the top is the Limited edition, which features the 1.3-liter four-cylinder as standard, and can be configured as either 4WD or 2WD. It boasts unique exterior enhancements, a seven-inch driver information display, leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel, heated front seats, power adjustments on the driver's seat, and rain-sensitive wipers.

The Trailhawk sits at the top of the range and is fitted with all the necessary off-roading equipment including Active Drive Low, hill descent control, an increased ride height, off-road suspension, skid plates for the fuel tank, transmission, a dual-range transfer case, and off-road suspension, as well as unique badging.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Sport
2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$22,275
Upland
2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
$23,775
Altitude
2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$24,125
Latitude
2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$24,125
Limited
1.3-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$26,645
See All 2019 Jeep Renegade Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

The base model has access to the Sport Appearance package for $895, which adds black side roof rails and 17-inch aluminum painted silver wheels. It can also be upgraded with the Uconnect 7.0 Group for a seven-inch touchscreen display and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto functionality, together with SiriusXM. It costs $775.

The Latitude and Limited trims get access to an Advanced Technology Group to upgrade to auto high beams, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, and parking assist at a cost of $1,295.

For the Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk models, the following options can be chosen: The Cold Weather Group ($745) adds heated front seats, heated leather steering wheel. The Popular Equipment Group ($595) upgrades seating to power-adjustable and adds a 115-volt power outlet, auto-dimming rearview mirrors, and 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats. The Trailer Tow Group equips the Jeep with a Class III hitch receiver ($445). Additionally, the $1,345 Uconnect 8.4 Nav Group fits an 8.4-inch display, GPS navigation, HD Radio and Smartphone integration to the Renegade. Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic detection can also be added on by means of the Safety and Security Group for $695, while the Premium Leather Group unique to the Trailhawk fits luxury upholstery with Ruby Red accent stitching for the price of $1,695.

What Jeep Renegade Model Should I Buy?

This seems like a bit of a loaded question because the way Jeep has set out the Renegade range allows for you to decide between wanting a luxury (or at least semi-luxurious) small SUV, or a capable off-roader, which means the model to buy depends on what you want. Opting for one of the mid-level trims to try and get the best of both worlds here may leave you frustrated, as you will likely have to opt on so many additional packages that the price would climb quite high, quite quickly. Instead, we'd recommend deciding on what your focus is - if you want a smaller vehicle that is off-road capable, don't even waste any time - opt for the class-leading Trailhawk. With its extra ground clearance, off-road suspension, front and rear tow hooks, low range crawl ratio, and skid plates, it's ideal for going off-road. If you're dead set on a Renegade and want some luxury, you'll have to go for the Limited trim at the very least to capitalize on the heated leather seats, upgraded infotainment system, and access to the driver aids.

2019 Jeep Renegade Comparisons

Jeep Compass Jeep
Kia Soul Kia

2019 Jeep Renegade vs Jeep Compass

From the same stable, the Jeep Renegade and the Jeep Compass share numerous similarities, not the least of which is the base 2.4-liter inline-four engine. The Compass costs at least $3,000 more, and for this increase in price, you get a mechanically similar vehicle, although it weighs around 500 lbs more at a base level. The Compass is quite a bit bigger, with more than 15 inches in length over the Renegade, and five inches in wheelbase. As a result, there is a bit more space in the rear seat for passengers with longer legs, and a whole lot more space behind the back seat for cargo storage - 24.6 cubic feet over the 18.5 of the Renegade. If it weren't for the Renegade's secret weapon, the brilliant 1.3-liter engine, we'd be inclined to choose the Compass instead; however, if you disliked the 2.4-liter motor on the smaller Jeep, we can guarantee it won't be any better with more weight to lug around.

See Jeep Compass Review

2019 Jeep Renegade vs Kia Soul

With equally intriguing looks, the Kia Soul comes in at more than $5,500 cheaper than the Renegade. However, while the Renegade stands out for its off-roading ability, the Soul offers sublime city driving but is really not designed to go off-road at all and isn't even available with all-wheel-drive. While the Renegade offers a less-than-ideal urban drive, the Soul makes up for its lack of off-roading ability with a smooth, comfortable town driving experience. With a lighter bodyweight, the Kia Soul offers better fuel economy, too. There's isn't all that much difference in terms of interior space, however, so the choice really comes down to what you want the vehicle for. If you are a regular off-roader, the choice is obvious. If you want the look of a crossover and the practicality of an SUV, the Kia Soul is ideal.

See Kia Soul Review

Jeep Renegade Popular Comparisons

$22,275 - $28,145
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