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A red 2020 Ford Ecosport is driving past pine trees.

2020 Ford EcoSport vs 2020 Jeep Renegade: Clash of the Subcompacts

Hopefully, the title did not mislead or give the impression that a demolition derby of the flyweight SUV division will be taking place (although that sounds like an excellent idea). Instead, this will be a description of two models in the subcompact SUV class. The subcompact SUV is starting to gain more attention and momentum. This meets the demands of the consumer who wants the SUV experience, but due to prices out of their range, they have never seriously considered them. The 2020 Ford EcoSport, for example, has a price tag starting around $5,000 less than its Ford compact counterpart, the Escape. And there are advantages as well to purchasing a subcompact, such as the usually increased fuel efficiency over their larger SUV cousins. Suffice to say that it is good to see the subcompacts welcoming a new group of SUV buyers into the fold. Here, though, the focus will be on the features and benefits of two exciting and affordable American subcompact SUVs, so you can decide if one is right for you. Now without further ado, may I present the 2020 Ford EcoSport vs 2020 Jeep Renegade debate.

2020 Ford EcoSport

The EcoSport is available in four trims in 2020 (7 configurations total) including two models of the EcoSport S, two of the SE, two of the Titanium, and one of the SES EcoSport.

The Ecosport S is available in two configurations, a front-wheel drive option with Ford’s award-winning 1.0L EcoBoost engine (3-cylinder) available in one, and a 2.0L Ti-VCT engine with all-wheel drive in the other. These are the two engine compositions for all of the 2020 EcoSports, by the way. The SE and Titanium each have one configuration with the 1.0L EcoBoost engine and the other with the 2.0L Ti-VCT engine with all-wheel drive. The EcoBoost SES only has one configuration, which sports the 2.0L Ti-VCT engine with all-wheel drive under the hood.

The EcoBoost 1.0L engine has received a lot of buzz in the automotive industry, to say the least. And this provides a nice incentive to the lower-priced configurations for consumers. Carsten Weber, a manager in research and advanced powertrain engineering at Ford of Europe, proclaims: “The 1.0L EcoBoost continues to set new benchmarks for compact petrol engines, even seven years and 11 awards after its first International Engine and Powertrain of the Year victory.”

A silver 2020 Ford Ecosport, which wins when comparing the 2020 Ford EcoSport vs 2020 Jeep Renegade, is parked with mountain views.

The 2020 SE is upgraded to an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android compatibility, a five-year prepaid Sirius XM subscription, voice-activated Sync 3 navigation, heated front seats, and BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) safety feature with cross-traffic alert. It also comes standard with a power moonroof with sunshade. All of these features are available in the SES, plus you get a little more, including an upgrade of the cloth seats to Ford’s ActiveX material that comes in a two-toned black and grey. This matches the Black Appearance Package on the exterior (black hood decal, black painted roof, and black spoiler). The sport-tuned suspension upgrade makes SES the sportiest EcoSport inside and out. The leather-wrapped steering wheel is heated, as are the side view mirrors for defrosting pesky ice in the colder months.

Finally, with the 2020 EcoSport Titanium, you have the option to choose between the 1.0L EcoBoost or the 2.0L Ti-VCT engine with all-wheel drive. Rain-sensing windshield wipers, leather-trimmed seats with micro-perforated inserts, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror are a few of the perks. For the audiophiles in the crowd, the sound system gets a considerable upgrade sponsored by B&O, adding three additional speakers (including a subwoofer). On the exterior, chrome accents, silver-painted roof-rack side rails, and 17-inch premium dark stainless-painted machined aluminum wheels are the final touches that tell shoppers, in so many words, that Titanium is the top of the line trim for EcoSport.

2020 Jeep Renegade

One look at the 2020 Jeep Renegade will make any driver want to take it for a spin, primarily due to its Jeep name and look (the fun little off-roader that could). The Renegade has an impressive following in its fifth year in the U.S. As of 2020, there are four main Renegade trims (Sport, Latitude, Limited, and Trailhawk) and three special editions (SE), which are essentially add-ons to three different Renegade trims. The Upland is the SE of the Sport, the Altitude is the SE of the Latitude, and the High Altitude is the SE of the Limited. This totals seven configurations in all (the Trailhawk does not have a SE).

There are two engine options, the 2.4L Tigershark engine comes standard, and the 1.3L 16V MultiAir2 turbo direct engine is available with the higher horsepower that gives the Renegade some added acceleration and pops. The 2020 Renegade gets high grades when it comes to its agile handling on the paved roads, but it really shines when it comes to leaving the road for the trail. This is because Jeep uses multiple four-wheel drive systems on their vehicles. The Renegade makes the Active Drive and the Selec-Terrain systems available for all its models. The Active Drive provides full-time 4×4 capability, and the Selec-Terrain gives you the ability to choose the terrain in front of you (snow, sand, mud, rocks, auto).

The roof systems of the Renegade may be the most talked-about feature. There are two main options available in every model: the dual-pane My Sky open-air roof system and the dual-pane panoramic sunroof. The dual-pane panoramic sunroof spans just about the entirety of the roof space (as does the My Sky), and it works by simply flipping the switch. The front panel slides back and above the second tinted pane for fresh air. When it is closed, the tinted pane is still an impressive feature if the passengers want to star-gaze. The My Sky system is a bit different. Instead of tinted pane spanning the roof, there are two counterpart panels. Flip the switch to open the front panel, and it will slide back for fresh air. But there is an added option to use the roof key to remove not only the front panel but also the back panel as well. The panels are light and easy to remove and store.

A red 2020 Jeep Renegade is driving in the wet sand at the beach.

EcoSport or Renegade?

This comparison is a close one, but the EcoSport has the edge for a couple of different reasons, with one caveat. Overall the EcoSport is not as specialized as the Renegade, so unless you are planning on spending a lot of time off-roading- the EcoSport should be your choice. If you are looking to spend a lot of time off the pavement, however, the Renegade is the way to go. This is especially true for the Trailhawk trim. Now, if this is not the case, consider the game-changing 1.0L EcoBoost engine that comes standard in the EcoSport. This allows the EcoSport to boast better fuel efficiency than the Renegade by a few gallons, which is one of the benefits of purchasing a subcompact SUV. There is money to be saved here over the life of the vehicle. Besides, you can save money by choosing the 2020 Ford EcoSport.

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