By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 8.3
Riding on the same platform as the Fiat 500X, the 2017 Jeep Renegade shares little else with its Italian stablemate. With ample ground clearance, an advanced 4-wheel-drive system (4WD) and big dose of Jeep styling, the Renegade is all Jeep, larger inside than the Mazda CX-3 and more off-road capable than the Honda HR-V. A choice of turbocharged or normally aspirated engines gives the Renegade an advantage over other small-crossover SUVs, and nobody makes anything comparable to the trail-rated Trailhawk. The Renegade’s most appealing quality, however, is the enormous number of trims, features and variations, allowing customers to create a personalized Renegade that best suits their needs. Even the manual models can be fitted with options such as a heated steering wheel and navigation.
If you’re looking for an affordable compact SUV with loads of optional equipment and the ability to be taken off-road, Jeep’s 2017 Renegade SUV checks all the right boxes. The Renegade offers more features and powertrain choices than a Subaru Crosstrek, plus can be had with 2-wheel (2WD) or 4-wheel drive.
KBB Expert Ratings
Jeep’s 2017 Renegade compact SUV gains Keyless Go on all trims, while the Limited gains standard passive entry. HID headlights and automatic high beams are added to the Advanced Safety package.
In stark contrast to the rugged Jeep Wrangler, the 2017 Jeep Renegade compact SUV delivers a more civilized ride, better handling and a quieter cabin. The base...
... 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder is no powerhouse, but it is a willing participant and sounds much happier at high rpm than the optional 2.4-liter engine. Sadly, the turbo is available only with the 6-speed manual so if you want an automatic or need the ability to tow, the 2.4-liter Tigershark is your only choice. While more powerful than the base engine, the Tigershark feels a bit crude. It’s loud at high speeds and the accompanying 9-speed transmission can sometimes have a hard time finding and holding the right gear. Opt for the Trailhawk trim and you’ll get Jeep’s Active Drive Low with 20:1 rock-crawl mode, better approach and departure angles, 19 inches of water-fording capability, and 8.7 inches of ground clearance.
A vehicle can’t wear the Jeep name if it can’t at least tackle modest off-road trails and terrain. The 2017 Jeep Renegade is pretty good off-road, but the Trailhawk version enhances its ability with more ground clearance, protective skidplates, all-terrain tires and an advanced 4WD system.
Unique for an entry-level compact SUV, the 2017 Jeep Renegade offers a host of advanced driver-assist technologies including lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitor and Jeep’s Forward Collision Warning-Plus, which applies the brakes and can even stop the vehicle in the event of an eminent collision.
The 2017 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 2017 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 2017 comes in four trims: Sport, Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk. The base model's roughly $20,000 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. 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, heated seats and steering wheel, 506-watt Beats audio with nine speakers, the My Sky removable roof system, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone climate control and rear park-assist. Four-wheel-drive models have a 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 2017 Jeep Renegade. Sport and Latitude models come with a turbocharged 1.4-liter engine, 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 2WD (front-wheel drive). The 6-speed manual transmission is easy to use, and the 9-speed models we tested were more refined than those used in earlier Chrysler vehicles. 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 (6-speed manual)
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)
2.4-liter inline-4 (9-speed automatic)
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)
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
The 2017 Jeep Renegade has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $20,000 for a base, 2WD model. 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 well past $30,000. At these prices, the Renegade is in line with its close competitor, the Chevy Trax, above that of the more hard-to-define Kia Soul and but below the Subaru Crosstrek, Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V. 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.