Jeep Renegade — Engaging small crossover

By David Finkelstein

The 2016 small “city size-cutesy” SUV Jeep Renegade is a vehicle that builds on the Jeep Wrangler’s powerful reputation featuring fresh, new artistic styling and a rugged body design that offers an aggressive yet charming look. It seats five and has a winning combination of best-in-class off road capabilities together with outstanding fuel efficiency on the highway. The approach and departure angles are purposely designed to deliver what Jeep owners demand and certainly welcome.

The magnetizing Renegade further offers up engaging versatility, world class engineering, notable maneuverability and head turning dreamy styling. All of this coupled with innovative safety and advanced technologies help to frame the description of Renegade. It tends to symbolize the Jeep's American branded design and heritage that goes back to its 1941 roots.

And for dazzling exclusive panoramic views, two available “My Sky” open-air type roof panel systems conveniently stow, to provide passengers that welcomed open-air freedom with ease. The My Sky retractable option up charge runs about $1,395 on the build sheet.

First offered as a 2015 model, the 2016 version is available with additional features including a Beats Premium Audio System with nine speakers and with 506 watt's of studio sound reproduction fidelity. Also new for 2016 are rain-sensing windshield wipers and 10 exterior colors on the pallet chart.

The exterior certainly is “all Jeep” with its branding DNA, including the traditional grille and rounded headlamps. As for as trim levels Renegade offers Sport, Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk versions.

The Renegade offers two of the most uniquely developed and advanced intelligent 4X4 systems in this specialty segment. They are referred to as their “Jeep Active Drive” and “Active Drive Low” 4X4 systems. Both include their Selec-Terrain hardware, providing up to five selectable driving modes. This list is as follows: Automatic, Snow, Sand, Mud plus the exclusive Rock Crawl mode. Rock Crawl is featured only on the Trailhawk model. This results in some of the best four-wheel-drive performance “on-or-off” road plus superior tire grip in just about any weather conditions. 

Under the heading of technology, Jeep's Uconnect Access system utilizes embedded cellular technology to allow occupants to get directly in contact with local emergency services with the push of the 9-1-1 overhead ASSIST button. It also allows the driver to instantly gain access to a roadside assistance operator. Uconnect can also be linked with the touch screen audio system in the center of the instrument panel for hands free communication's, entertainment and available navigation.

The well thought out interior should appeal to most people who have an active lifestyle as their regular routine. The reconfigurable electronic color gauge cluster is easy to use and operate for the most part. Quality materials used along side bright colors will help entice you behind the wheel just that much quicker. Major surface touch points use sculpted pleasant soft-touch textiles. The passenger grab handle idea was mimicked from it's big brother Jeep Wrangler for helping with those planned off road bumpy adventures.

To be 100% certain that all of the necessary passenger gear fits, Renegade is designed with an efficient and flexible interior package that includes a fold-forward front-passenger seat and a removable/height-adjustable cargo floor panel.

Powering the new Renegade is one of two different engines. Jeep's refined 2.4-liter Tigershark I-4 engine uses an electro-hydraulic fully variable valve timing system and a unique internal oiling/lubrication system. This high-tech engine produces 180 horsepower and 175 lb.-ft. of torque. Its paired exclusively to a nine-speed automatic transmission. With the 2.4 engine, this vehicle can safely tow up to 2,000 pounds, making it ideal for pulling personal-size boats, trailers or outdoors camping equipment.

Additionally, they make available their 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo four-cylinder engine. It generates 160 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque, to provide a spirited driving experience overall. Its offered on Renegade Sport and Latitude 4X2 and 4X4 models. It's linked with a six-speed manual gearbox.

The Renegade is available with up to 70 safety and security features, including the segment’s first availability of Forward Collision Warning-Plus and LaneSense Departure Warning-Plus.

This adorable Jeep is sold in more than 100 countries worldwide and manufactured at FCA's plant in Melfi, Italy, along side of Fiat branded vehicles.

The Renegade comes with a 3-year/36,000 mile base warranty and with 5-year/100,000 mile powertrain coverage. At road test, the 2016 “tantalizing” Renegade Limited 4X4 with the automatic transmission I drove had an MSRP of $31,120 after a few options and the $995 destination charges added. With the 2.4 - liter engine, it got 21-mpg city/29-mpg highway.