In a day and age where SUVs have become king, there’s a fierce war going on between the smallest, yet still popular, of the bunch. It’s the battle of the subcompacts, and, today, there’s an interesting one to be had. It’s the 2020 Jeep Renegade vs 2020 Toyota C-HR.
So, without further ado — let the battle begin!
2020 Jeep Renegade
The Jeep Renegade first burst onto the scene in 2015. It was Jeep’s first entry into the small SUV market, and it looks like the Renegade may be doing well enough to stick around. Interestingly, some models are built-in Italy alongside the Fiat 500X (Jeep is owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), although the design is still quite clearly, American.
The Renegade features a very bold front, with the prominent Jeep logo displayed above an iconic seven-slot grille and round headlamps. Clearly, this is reminiscent of the ever-popular Jeep Wrangler. Everything about the front screams (in a good way) that this is a Jeep, which is a huge part of the appeal. The backside, however, is a different story.
When you look at a Jeep Renegade from the back, it’s a little off-putting. The giant tail lights are like the eyes of some enormous bug, and they’re just sitting there staring at you. However, the history behind the design is quite interesting (inspired by military themes and the gas cans associated with Willys MB vehicles from WWII), but to actually see it in person doesn’t live up to the story. Basically, it’s much less Wrangler-ish than one would’ve hoped for (which is the epitome of rugged adventure) and actually makes you wonder what this little vehicle is if your first glimpse is from behind.
Fortunately, there’s a lot going right with the Renegade to make up for its unfortunate backside, the biggest positive being the availability of Four-Wheel Drive (4WD). Honestly, it’d be a bit strange if the Jeep wasn’t 4×4-capable, but stranger things have happened. Now, the availability of 4WD means exactly what you might think; it doesn’t come standard on all models. One would think a person is getting a Jeep because they want some kind of off-road capability, but, in many cases, one would be wrong. These days, SUVs have become more like your everyday commuter car. People just use them to get around and aren’t necessarily heading off into unknown, dirt-lined territory. But, some people also want that capability there for the off-chance a spontaneous weekend adventure might occur. And, they’d be more than satisfied with the Renegade’s capabilities.
If you’re headed to the outdoors for some off-roading adventures, the Trailhawk trim is ready to take you there and back because that is exactly what it’s built for. With standard Active Drive Low (with 20:1 crawl ratio) and Selec-Terrain Traction Management System, the Trailhawk is more than ready to hit rough terrain and continue on just fine. Also, with these features, the Renegade was awarded Best-in-Class 4×4 Capability. That’s how you know it’s truly a Jeep.
Still, even with off-road capability, the Renegade can still perform on the highway. You may hear more wind noise than you’re used to, especially if you have the My Sky roof panels added on, but the overall ride will be comfortable enough. You can expect a combined estimated fuel efficiency of 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, which is reasonable for an SUV, although this isn’t a large SUV by any means.
With the introduction of the 2020 Renegade, you’ll see a few changes. Most notably, you’ll find some of the options and packages can now be found on the lower trim levels. This will greatly enhance the customization aspect for prospective buyers since not everyone will want to jump right up to a Trailhawk or High Altitude trim. As for the MSRP, you can expect $22,275.
2020 Toyota C-HR
The Toyota C-HR first went on sale in North America in 2017, which would be the 2018 model. If this particular vehicle went under your radar, then there’s no need to worry because it’s actually quite new, and a lot of people probably missed it. There have been so many SUVs flooding the market (or that have already been around for a while), it’s tough to keep track of it all. However, now that you know about, you’d be remiss to write it off.
The C-HR is an interesting vehicle. The first thing you’ll notice is that it looks different. There’s a futuristic vibe happening with how sleek the styling comes off, which is the complete opposite of the slightly boxy Renegade. It actually looks lean (if vehicles can even be described that way), almost like it’s ready to pounce. Obviously, Toyota wanted this newer SUV to stand out.
Along with sleek looks, you’ll find a lot of cutting-edge technology, such as Toyota’s suite of safety features, Toyota Safety Sense. This includes the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Automatic High Beams, and Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. The real kicker, though, is the fact that these features actually come standard on all three trim levels (LE, XLE, and Limited), which is something you won’t find with the standard safety features on the Renegade.
Comparing the fuel efficiency, the C-HR should top the Renegade in all categories, but it falls just a little short. The EPA-estimated fuel efficiency for the C-HR (all trim levels) is 27 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, which puts it above the Renegade for fuel efficiency for city driving, but not highway driving. This, however, may come down to the fact that the C-HR, although an SUV, only has Front-Wheel Drive (FWD) capabilities. There is no option for All-Wheel Drive (AWD), let alone 4WD.
On that note, it’s easy to see where the C-HR will also fall below the Renegade, and that’s clearly in the adventure zone. If you’re planning a lot (or even a little) off-roading, then you would definitely want something built for it. With FWD, the C-HR really doesn’t seem off-road-ready, but it still might be better than your average sedan.
If anything, the C-HR seems like it’s a sedan in an SUV’s body. You’ll get similar or better mileage to a gas-powered car (compared to something like the 2020 Chevy Impala), you only have FWD, and the price range is pretty reasonable (MSRP from $21,295 – $26,350). Basically, if you’d just rather have an SUV instead of a sedan (without wanting specific SUV options), this might be a good option to consider.
Which is the Better Performing SUV? The Renegade or the C-HR?
Otherwise, if you’re looking for a bit more versatility, the Renegade would be the better option. It actually looks, sounds, and behaves like an SUV. Technically, the C-HR is an SUV, but vehicles like the RAV4 and 4Runner seem much more well-aligned for what prospective SUV-owners are looking for.