The SUV has never been as popular as it is today, and this runaway train of a category does not show signs of slowing down anytime soon. A veritable smorgasbord of makes, shapes, sizes, drivetrains, and other characteristics have empowered consumers to select precisely the SUV that suits their lifestyle and needs in the context of their means. It is in this crowded pool that the 2020 Jeep Renegade continues to make waves, standing out in the multitude of bland offerings in the market.
Boxy and Foxy
The little Italian-made small SUV/Crossover has been on sale since 2015 and has found many fans in the process. Sporting a delightfully boxy and yet charmingly utilitarian profile with its tall wagonesque exterior, it looks as playful as a 3-month old puppy seemingly begging you to take it out and play.
Despite the half-decade old looks, the exterior design has aged well with its funky styling language and unmistakable, “big brother Wrangler” cues. It out-charms most of its direct competitors, eschewing some odd designs from Toyota and Hyundai (with the C-HR and Kona respectively). The 19-inch wheels that are available in some lower trims for 2020 help this chunky SUV appear more even purposeful and geared for fun. The good looks are undeniable.
The Inside Scoop
The interior of the Renegade isn’t quite as daring as its exterior but is awash with small touches that underline the heritage of the brand and its mission statement. These include “Since 1941″ graphics on the dash, maps of Moab, Utah embossed in the cupholders as well as numerous other tips of the hat to the institution that is Jeep.
The Renegade seats five and comes standard with cloth upholstery. However, leather upholstery, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel are available. The available “My Sky” removable roof panels do much to bring in the Great Outdoors to the moderately spacious interior.
Headroom and front legroom are more than adequate for this class, although that is a bit offset by a somewhat cramped back seat, at least for taller passengers. The seats themselves are supportive and comfortable, and they all do a commendable job of folding flat to offer more of the precious cargo area that is on the less generous side, even for the class. And yet, the overall interior packaging is tidy and above-average for a vehicle of this size and ilk.
All Renegades are equipped with Fiat Chrysler’s excellent and well-regarded UConnect infotainment system. New for 2020 is the enhanced UConnect 4 system with its higher resolution graphics, in addition to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and a multitude of Google and Apple-based features. Base models have a 5-inch touchscreen, but 7 and 8.4-inch displays are available on higher trim models, providing a nice touch to an already great interior.
All the Trimmings
The 2020 Jeep Renegade subcompact crossover SUV comes in four trims, plus four special editions, in a long-standing Jeep tradition that will keep Jeep aficionados happy. The varied offerings allow the buyer to create an almost bespoke version of the vehicle to truly tailor to their individual tastes and preferences. The trims include: Sport, Latitude, Trailhawk and Limited and are supplemented with the Upland, Altitude, High Altitude, and North Edition Special Editions.
The base Sport model is the price leader at $22,620, with its standard front-wheel drive and a 2.4L Tigershark I-4 engine pumping out 180 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. In addition, there are 16-inch wheels, power windows, and locks, a backup camera, a 60/40 split-folding back seat, Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port, a 5-inch touchscreen with the aforementioned UConnect infotainment system and a 6-speaker sound system with a media player interface are standard.
A 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, dual-zone automatic climate control, and satellite radio are optional. 4WD can be had for an extra $1,500 on all trims except on the offroad-focused Trackhawk on which it’s standard. All Renegades are equipped with a 9-speed automatic transmission.
A step above the Sport is the Latitude (starting at $24,640), which gives you all the goodies of the Sport and as well as 17-inch alloy wheels, the upgraded 7-inch display, leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, and upgraded interior materials. If you are looking for a bit more motivational force, you can shell out an additional $1,500 for the 1.3L turbo engine that cranks out 177 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque.
The turbo is available as an option on the lower trim Sport and Latitude models (standard on the Trailhawk and Limited), and also has the start/stop feature that will help you to eke out a bit more mpg in stop-and-go driving. If you live in a colder area, an optional Cold Weather Group is available and adds a heated steering wheel and front seats, all-season rubber floor mats, and automatic windshield wipers with de-icers.
Should you wish for a more visually-arresting Latitude, you can opt for the Altitude Edition, which is essentially a Latitude in a tuxedo. Black deluxe cloth with black accent stitching covers the interior with high-gloss black interior accents adding to the black-out theme. Like the Latitude, it is equipped with the UConnect 4 infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen. A leather-clad steering wheel is standard, as are 17-inch glossy black alloy wheels and high-gloss black exterior elements. But the trim options do not end there.
Beyond the Pavement
The Trailhawk ($28,215) is the undisputed offroad king of all Renegades. Brawnier styling and a higher ground clearance promise a prodigious prowess in the rough, and its many offroad mechanical upgrades back that promise quite superbly. These upgrades include low-range gearing for the standard 4WD/AWD system, the Selec-Terrain system with its multi-mode traction features (optional on other AWD-equipped Renegades), hill-descent control, 17-inch alloy wheels shod with all-terrain tires, skid plates, tow hooks, standard topographic cloth upholstery with red accent stitching (leather is available), rubber floor mats, special red interior accents, and an upgraded instrument cluster. You can also add a 6-way power driver seat, a 40/20/40-split back seat, an auto-dimming mirror, and the Cold Weather Group and opt for an 8.4 touchscreen instead of the standard 7-incher in the Trailhawk.
If you like your offroader with a tad more luxury and a softer edge, you would appreciate the $27,245 Limited, packing the turbo engine as standard. For your extra cash, you will also be able to indulge in more goodies such as standard 18-inch alloy wheels, Premium LED lighting, chrome exterior trim, proximity entry, and push-button start (optional on all other trims), keyless ignition and leather upholstery. The excellent 8.4 inch UConnect infotainment is available should you wish to upgrade from the 7-inch standard display.
No matter which version of the 2020 Jeep Renegade you choose- and there are tons of combinations to suit just about anyone- you’ll find yourself in a spirited, stylish, feature-packed and affordable SUV. It is undoubtedly a capable and attractive proposition, and a competent offroader in the Trailhawk trim, punching way above its weight. On the road or out on the trail, the Renegade’s performance is respectable enough, but its fun factor remains off the charts.