By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 8.4
The 2016 Jeep Renegade compact- crossover SUV may not be what purists expect from the Jeep brand, but there is no denying this is one cute ute. Although derived from the Fiat 500 platform, Jeep has peppered its newest family member with plenty of Jeep favorites, including a capable off-road Trailhawk trim. Sure, the Mazda CX-3 looks sleeker, as does the Honda HR-V, but neither can go far off road nor offer the option of a turbocharged engine. The Renegade also leapfrogs most others in this class by offering such unique options as dual removable roof panels, a heated steering wheel and a Beats sound system. With pricing starting around $19,000, the Renegade is also extremely price competitive.
Like the idea of Jeep off-road versatility and open-air fun, but need something that is also practical, fuel-efficient and affordable on any budget? The 2016 Jeep Renegade is the answer to these and so many more questions. Opt for the Trailhawk trim and you’ll get genuine Jeep off-road fortitude.
The Renegade’s base turbocharged engine comes only with a manual transmission. If you want an automatic, you’ll have to step up to the 2.4-liter Tigershark, which we think lacks refinement. The Renegade’s 9-speed automatic got off to a shaky start, although the company promises the 2016 version is good to go.
KBB Expert Ratings
Jeep’s 2016 Renegade compact SUV gains some new options, including rain-sensing wipers, 506-watt, 9-speaker Beats audio system and some new colors.
Unlike the rugged Wrangler, the 2016 Jeep Renegade compact-crossover SUV offers a much more civilized driving experience, thanks to its unit-body platform and suspension supplied by Fiat. While neither the...
... 1.4-liter turbo nor the 2.4-liter Tigershark 4-cylinder engines are terribly powerful, both have their charms. The turbo actually produces more torque than the Tigershark, but it comes only with a 6-speed manual, making us think most buyers will never even test it. The 2.4-liter offers more horsepower and comes standard with a 9-speed automatic, a transmission that has had issues in the past, but seems up to snuff in the 2016 model. In Trailhawk trim, the Renegade gains nifty features such as Jeep Active Low with 20:1 rock crawl mode, disconnecting rear axle, unique front and rear fascia providing improved approach and departure angles, 8.1 inches of wheel articulation and 19 inches of water fording.
True to its Jeep heritage, the Renegade for 2016 offers an off-road package no other vehicle in this class can match. The Trailhawk trim is trail-rated, adding additional ground clearance, protective skidplates, off-road tires and a more sophisticated 4-wheel drive (4WD) system.
Jeep’s 2016 Renegade compact-crossover SUV offers the latest safety and driver-assist features. Among the more notable are Lane Departure Warning, blind-spot monitoring and Forward Collision Warning-Plus, which will apply the brakes in the event a collision is eminent.
The 2016 Renegade's 5-passenger interior is more spacious than you might think. The secret is the Renegade's shape. Its blocky design yields good legroom in both rows, plus 18.5 cubic feet of storage capacity behind the rear seats. That expands to over 50 cubic feet with the rear seats folded, and in all but base models the front-passenger seat folds to accommodate longer items like surfboards. The driver's position is high and comfortable, with a good view out. Sprinkled throughout are details like a map inlay in the front storage bin and the impression of mud splatter on the tachometer.
One of the best things about the 2016 Jeep Renegade is that it looks like a Jeep. Present are the traditional 7-slotted vertical grille and round headlights, but it’s the Renegade's angles that tie its design with that of the iconic Wrangler and, long before that, the Willys MB. At the same time, the Renegade is its own modern take on what a Jeep can be. Optional and recommendable are the My Sky removable roof panels, which truly bring the outside in. Trailhawk models are beefed up with 8.7 inches of ground clearance, skidplates and red tow hooks front and rear.
Jeep’s Renegade for 2016 comes in four trims: Sport, Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk. The base model's roughly $19,000 starting price is tempting and grants immediate access to the Jeep brand, but is rather light on content with simpler features like an AM/FM radio with USB input, 6-way adjustable driver's seat, power windows and door locks, and 16-inch wheels. Most glaring is its lack of standard air conditioning and Bluetooth connectivity. We recommend stepping up even one trim level to Latitude, which brings those two basic features along with a 5-inch Uconnect touch-screen infotainment system, rearview camera and fog lights.
Four-wheel drive is optional on all models except Trailhawk, where it's standard. And remember, if you want an automatic transmission, you'll have to opt for the larger, 2.4-liter engine. It's standard on Limited and Trailhawk models, optional on all others. Other options that vary by trim include blind-spot monitoring and lane-departure warning, leather seats, navigation, 506-watt Beats audio with nine speakers, the My Sky removable roof system, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone climate control and rear park-assist system. Four-wheel-drive models have a nifty terrain-select system that optimizes the Jeep's traction for settings like snow, sand, mud and – on Trailhawk models – rocks.
Two 4-cylinder engines are available for the 2016 Jeep Renegade. Sport and Latitude models come with the base turbocharged 1.4-liter, while the larger 2.4-liter is optional on those models and standard on Limited and Trailhawk variants. Which engine you choose may rest on the transmission you want. The 1.4-liter is available only with a 6-speed manual, while the 2.4-liter only comes with a 9-speed automatic. Both can be had with 4WD instead of the standard 2-(front) wheel drive (2WD). The 6-speed manual transmission is easy to use, and the 9-speed models we tested were more refined than those of earlier Chrysler vehicles using it. The Jeep Renegade can tow up to 2,000 pounds with the 2.4-liter engine and 4WD. Towing is not recommended for 1.4-liter models.
1.4-liter turbocharged inline-4
160 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
184 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/31 mpg (2WD), 24/31 mpg (4WD)
180 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
175 lb-ft of torque @ 3,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/31 mpg (2WD), 21/29 mpg (4WD)
The 2016 Jeep Renegade has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $19,000 for a base, 2WD model. As noted, that's an attractive price but offers few frills. With popular features such an automatic transmission, air conditioning and a touch-screen infotainment system, expect costs to rise to the low- to mid-$20,000 range. At the upper end, loaded Trailhawk and Limited models can reach past $30,000. At these prices, the Renegade is in line with one of its closest competitors, the Chevy Trax. Its starting price is above that of the more hard-to-define Kia Soul and below the Subaru XV Crosstrek. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying for their new Jeep Renegade. As for the Renegade's resale, it seems to hold about average values, well below the Honda HR-V and Subaru Crosstrek, but on par with the Chevrolet Trax.