• All-new 1.3-liter direct-injection turbo 4-cylinder
  • Up to 177 horsepower and 210 lb.-ft. of torque
  • Refreshed exterior includes new front fascia and grille surround
  • 19-inch painted alloy wheel option on Latitude and Limited
  • New exterior paint colors, Bikini, Slate Blue and Sting Grey
  • LED Lighting Group offered
  • Pricing starts at $23,520 | Find a new Renegade for sale near you

 

We recently had the opportunity to sample the 2019 Renegade, Jeep’s smallest vehicle in its lineup, with capable off-road chops, a reasonable starting price of less than $25,000 and versatile cargo space and trim options on a trip to Normandy, France for the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

It was June 6, 1944 when American, Canadian and British troops landed on the beach or were dropped behind enemy lines in France, breaching Hitler’s Atlantic Wall in the hope of liberating Europe from tyranny. Impossible to fathom how an undertaking as massive as Operation Overlord might come to fruition, but for the allies, the planning was in the details. One of those more crucial ones being the Jeep.

Fast forward 75 years and Jeep remains a tried and trusted name in purpose-built vehicles. Traveling to France for the anniversary celebration of D-Day, the opportunity to drive a Jeep back where it all started seemed too special an opportunity to pass up. Instead of opting for the robust Wrangler, the stalwart off-road juggernaut, we decided to go another route and drive what would be the closest relative to the original Willys MB, the Renegade.

Where does the 2019 Jeep Renegade land in the Jeep lineup?

The Renegade, due to its size and value proposition, lays claim as Jeep’s best-selling vehicle in Europe. Closest in size to the Willys MB, the Renegade is compact enough that it can fit down narrow European streets and into tight parking spots. Though the Willys MB measured in at a lithe 132.25 inches, the Renegade stands at 166.6 inches. Everything is bigger these days.

New engine featured

Equipped with an all-new 1.3-liter turbocharged engine, the Euro-spec Renegade we drove makes 150 horsepower. U.S. models boast 177 horsepower. Thank the more capable 9-speed automatic transmission employed on U.S. Renegades for that extra oomph. Our European powertrain featured a dual-clutch 6-speed automatic. Let’s leave it as saying we’re pleased the U.S. market opted for that 9-speed over the Fiat-sourced DDCT that left us a bit wanting for initial power off the line and less-than-smooth shifts.

A firm chassis and serviceable suspension provided a pleasant enough ride on the Renegade. At highway speeds it’s smooth and comfortable, and while there is body roll it’s not a deal-breaker. You won’t any drag races in this Jeep, but you’ll be comfortable when you come in behind. Incidentally, that powertrain on this littlest Jeep can tow up to 2,000 pounds.

Can the 2019 Jeep Renegade drive off-road?

Our Renegade was the Limited, that lands in the middle of the trim ladder that includes the High Altitude, Trailhawk, Altitude, Latitude, Sport and Upland. All trims are available in either front- or all-wheel, though on the Trailhawk that low gear with a 2-speed electronic transfer case comes standard. You can also upgrade with an excellent AWD system that costs $1,500.

Our tester was the FWD version, but necessity is the mother of invention and French country roads aren’t always paved, so on dirt we drove. The Renegade navigated narrow hedge rowed paths with enough guts and gumption, and its 7.9-inch ground clearance got us where we needed to go.

What tech comes on the 2019 Jeep Renegade?

Both the Safety and Tech packages are available on the Renegade, and while in the U.S. that Safety package isn’t available on the Limited as an option, in France it was. Blind-spot and rear-cross traffic alerts chimed and chirped from Paris to Normandy as we made our way safely notified on the motorway.

In the tech department, Jeep’s excellent Uconnect system comes standard, though our Renegade got the optional upgrade to the 8.4-inch touchscreen with navigation and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard. You’ve never been so happy as to have GPS in a car as when you’re zig-zagging through verdant French fields with little or no cell service. And when the Gendarme closed all roads for the presidents of both the United States and France to attend the 75th Anniversary of D-Day ceremony, ours managed to find some narrow paths to get through road blocks.

What else comes on the 2019 Renegade?

Some nice extras are available on the Renegade, including a dual pane panoramic sunroof, which is as close to a Willys MB with no top and the windshield down as we could get. Certainly, it afforded some spectacular views of the C-130s and C-47s bulging with paratroopers about to re-enact the drops of the 101st and 82nd Airborne divisions 75 years ago over Sainte-Mère-Eglise, a small French provincial town famous for trooper John Steele getting his chute caught on the church spire and being captured by the Germans.

Sting-Gray paint, with a special American star decal to commemorate the 75th anniversary occasion, swathed the sheet metal, and 18-inch wheels with all-season tires served us well. Other amenities such as leather-trimmed and heated bucket front seats and heated steering wheel as well as a Beats Audio premium sound system are options.

How much does the 2019 Jeep Renegade cost?

As tested, our Renegade clocked in at a comparable $31,900, though the base model Sport starts at $23,520. Fuel efficiency is what you’d expect from this segment with 22 city and 31 highway EPA estimates.

If you’re looking for a compact SUV capable of battling both city and off-road driving with aplomb, that has excellent tech and safety features and unique styling, then the 2019 Jeep Renegade is one to gather your troops in and win the day. 

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