• 2020 Jeep Renegade - Driven

After spending a week with the Jeep Reneage, we’ve learned a lot about what has changed and what hasn’t

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The Jeep Renegade entered the market back in 2014 as a 2015 model and, despite the fact that it was expected to replace the Jeep Compass, the two models share a home in Jeep’s Lineup. The Renegade has changed a little bit with each model year, but the first official facelift didn’t happen until 2019 when a handful of subtle tweaks offered up a marginally fresh look. Curious to see how the updated Jeep Renegade compares to the launch model that we drove back in 2015, we asked FCA for a new loaner, and this is our thoughts after a week-long experience with the 2020 Jeep Renegade.

Jeep Renegade Driving Experience and Impressions

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As far as driving is concerned, the Renegade isn’t exactly a blast to drive, but it’s not necessarily boring, either.

The 2.4-liter four-banger does offer impressive power for the subcompact segment, but the models it competes with accelerate a bit quicker. Our testing got us to 60 mph in 9.3 seconds, which is quicker than expected, but on the high-end of average for the segment. It does feel somewhat quick, though, because the engine delivers excellent low-end power. Unfortunately, we found it impossible to the like the nine-speed automatic transmission to the point that we’d actually favor a CVT, which is something we’ve never really said before. In short, the transmission felt clunky, confused about what gear it should be in at cruising speeds, and just didn’t really evoke that feeling of confidence you’d expect.

At least some of this is remedied by the fact that the Renegade feels very confident when it comes to braking. We were able to appreciate the medium level of firmness from the pedal, and this in itself makes the Renegade daily as a daily driver. Add in the fact that steering is near perfect, with a nicely weighted wheel and decent feedback, and you can appreciate it even more.

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In terms of comfort, the Renegade is impressive, but it’s basically a Fiat 500X, so it’s built in a place where making small things feel large has become a prideful artform.

Front passengers have more than enough headroom and legroom, but larger folks might find that the Renegade is a little too small for them. The rear seats are okay for those on the smaller side, but taller adults will be itching to get out after even short trips due to a lack of acceptable legroom. The biggest downside we found was that the boxy design of the Renegade does lead to a lot of wind noise at higher speeds and the fuel economy (we averaged just 23 mpg, which seems quite low for this segment.

Overall, the Renegade isn’t bad to drive, but you can definitely tell that it has aged since its introduction, and you can certainly feel the Fiat 500X DNA that runs through its veins.

Jeep Renegade Exterior Design – What’s New For 2020?

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When Jeep Facelifed the Renegade for 2019, the tweaks and adjustments to the exterior were so subtle that most people can’t really tell the difference.

In the front, the only real change came via the front fascia, where the round fog lamps were moved out of the corner vents and positioned directly next to the lower air dam. The aforementioned corner vents were shrunk and now house the daytime running lamps at the top. The front fascia is a little sleeker and more attractive than before, and the other real difference is the revised insert around the grille that has changed at the bottom.

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It’s the same story around back, where the rear fascia is now void of the weird mesh that made it stand out, and the red lower markers are now clear on some models. The taillights were also changed, not in shape or size, but the weird silver “X” was removed from the center, but the X still remains in the same color as the taillight lens. Despite this, the weird concave center still remains. At this point, it should be noted that the Renegade isn’t a thoroughbred Jeep. It’s produced exclusively in Italy next to the Fiat 500X. So, while it bears the Jeep name and Jeep Grille, it’s really just more of an upscale Fiat in Jeep clothing.

How Big is the Jeep Renegade?

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The Jeep Renegade is a Subcompact SUV that measures 166.6 inches long, 74.2 inches wide, and 66.5 inches tall. It also sits eight inches off the ground with an approach angle of 21 degrees and a departure angle of 32.1 degrees.

In terms of garaging, the Renegade will fit into most single-car garages, but if you have a 1.5-car or two-car garage, then you’ll have plenty of extra space.

For the sake of comparison, the Renegade fights on the market against the Honda HR-V and the Mazda CX-3. It’s actually the shortest of the three but is wider and taller than both. It’s also the heaviest at 3,210 pounds, at least 200 pounds higher than both the CX-3 and HR-V. Check out the full specs in our table below:

Jeep Renegade Exterior Dimensions Comparison
Jeep Renegade Honda HR-V Mazda CX-3
Length 166.6 Inches 170.4 Inches 168.3 Inches
Width 74.2 Inches 69.8 Inches 69.6 Inches
Height 66.5 Inches 63.2 Inches 60.7 Inches
Wheelbase 101.2 Inches 102.8 Inches 101.2 Inches
Ground Clearance 8.0 Inches 7.3 Inches 6.1 Inches
Angle of Approach 21.0 Degres TBA TBA
Angle of Departure 32.1 Degrees TBA TBA
Front Track 60.6 Inches 60.4 Inches 60.0 Inches
Rear Track 60.6 Inches 60.6 Inches 59.9 Inches
Curb Weight 3210 LBS 2959 LBS 2952 LBS

Available Exterior Colors

  • Alpine White Clear Coat
  • Bikini Clear Coat
  • Black Clear Coat
  • Colorado Red Clear Coat
  • Glacier Metallic Clear Coat
  • Granite Crystal Clear Coat
  • Jetset Blue Metallic Clear Coat
  • Omaha Orange Clear Coat
  • Slate Blue Pearl Coat
  • Sting Grey Clear Coat

Jeep Renegade Interior Design

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As far as interior design goes, it’s hard to say if Jeep made any changes during the 2019 facelift. As best as we can tell, the interior is identical. It still features the same semi-digital instrument cluster with a small screen in the center and the unless you opt for the Uconnect 8.4-in Nav group, in which case you’ll get a seven-inch TFT LCD display cluster. As for the infotainment system, the seven-inch display is standard, but the 8.4-inch display comes standard on higher trim levels. As long as you opt for a Uconnect 4 system, you’ll have Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. Voice command with Bluetooth and the media hub are standard across all trims. There are a handful of interior colors that include the following:

  • Black Sandstorm with Metal Diamond accents
  • Trespass Black with Metal Diamond accents
  • Black leather with Grillz accents
  • Polar Plunge with Metal Diamond accents
  • Polar Plunge leather with Grillz accents
  • Trailhawk Black with Ruby Red accents

Of course, not all colors are available on the lower trim levels, so if you’re looking for a specific color combination, don’t be surprised if you have to move up-trim.

How Much Passenger Room Does the Jeep Renegade Have?

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The Jeep Renegade is a subcompact SUV, so don’t fool yourself into thinking that it’s overly spacious. It’s not bad for its size, though, and it beats out both the HR-V and CX-3 in terms of front and rear headroom, and there’s more rear passenger space in the Renegade, with the exception of legroom where the Honda beats it out by some four inches. Basically, if you’re a tall person, you probably want to avoid the rear seat. Here’s a full list of interior specs for the Renegade and the competition.

Jeep Renegade Interior Dimensions Comparison
Jeep Renegade Honda HR-V Mazda CX-3
Front Headroom 41.1 Inches 37.6 Inches 38.4 Inches
Front Shoulder Room 55.9 Inches 56.8 Inches 53.5 Inches
Front Hip Room 53.1 Inches 53.1 Inches 52.3 Inches
Front Leg Room 41.2 Inches 41.2 Inches 41.7 Inhes
Rear Head Room 40.5 Inches 38.3 Inches 37.2 Inches
Rear Shoulder Room 55.1 Inches 54.5 Inches 50.4 Inches
Rear Hip Room 51.9 Inches 47.4 Inches 49.0 Inches
Rear Leg Room 35.1 Inches 39.3 Inches 35.0 Inches

How Much Cargo Room Does the Jeep Renegade Have?

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When it comes to cargo room, the Renegade is a bit of a mixed bag and falls right between the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3 with a minimum capacity of 18.5 cubic-feet or a maximum of 50.8 cubic-feet. In comparison, the HR-V offers a minimum of 24.3 cubic-feet and a maximum of 58.8 cubic-feet while the Mazda CX-3 is good for just 12.4 cubic-feet or 44.5 cubic-feet with the rear seats folded down.

Jeep Renegade Cargo Room Comparison
Jeep Renegade Honda HR-V Mazda CX-3
Minimum Cargo Capacity 18.5 CU-FT 24.3 CU-FT 12.4 CU-FT
Maximum Cargo Capacity 50.8 CU-FT 58.8 CU-FT 44.5 CU-FT

Jeep Renegade Infotainment and Technology

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Make no mistake, the Renegade is not a tech-focused SUV, but it does excel in some regard here.

The infotainment display, regardless of size, is easy to reach, and the Uconnect4 system is easy to operate and customize. The 8.4-inch display is certainly worth considering as it does provide clear, crisp graphics and snappy response. This holds true most of the time, but we did notice that the built-in navigation was a bit sluggish and was often inaccurate when it came to traffic information. It also reported driving instructions a little too late on a few occasions.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto work as you’d expect, but you’ll have to pay up for the optional Advanced Technology Group if you want the important driver and safety aids, including:

  • Full-speed Forward Collision Warning with Active Braking
  • LaneSense Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist
  • ParkSense rear park assist system
  • Auto high-beam headlamp control (requires Safety & Security Group)

Jeep Renegade Powertrain, Capability, and Performance

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The Jeep Renegade is powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that’s good for 180 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque.

Those figures, believe it or not, make it significantly more powerful than both the Honda HR-V at 141 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque and the Mazda CX-3 at 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. This does come at the cost of fuel economy, though, but we’ll talk about that more later on. As is the case with the competition, you’re able to choose between either FWD or 4WD models and, since this is a Jeep, you’ll get the benefit of four-wheel independent suspension – something neither the CX-3 or HR-V have.

How Much Can the Jeep Renegade Tow?

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The Jeep Renegade can tow a maximum of 2,000 pounds when equipped with 4WD, a 2.4-liter engine, full-size spare tire, and the Trailer-Tow Group Option. The Trailer-tow Group includes a Class III hitch receiver and four-pin wiring harness. Trailer-sway control, oddly enough, is standard on all models, but the Trailer-tow Group isn’t available on the entry-level Sport trim. For comparison purposes, the Honda HR-V can tow 1,500 pounds under similar conditions while the CX-3 matches the Renegade at 2,000 pounds maximum capacity.

Is the Jeep Renegade Capable of Off-Roading

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In theory, the Renegade is capable of doing some light off-roading, but make no mistake, this isn’t a Jeep Wrangler. It has an approach angle of 21 degrees and a departure angle of 32.1 degrees with a total ground clearance of eight inches, so it can traverse some mild terrain, but you’re also limited to the nine-speed automatic transmission. The Renegade is basically a badge-engineered Fiat 500X, so it’s not necessarily designed for hardcore off-roading as other models from the brand are. On that note, it is one of the few subcompact SUVs with four-wheel independent suspension, so it’s more capable for off-roading than models like the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3.

How Fast is the Jeep Renegade

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The Jeep Renegade can run the 60-mph sprint in as little as 8.7 seconds and tops out at 122 mph. In comparison, the Honda HR-V offers up a 9.6-second sprint to 60 mph and a top speed of 125 mph. The Mazda CX-3 is quicker to 60 mph at 8.4 seconds on a good day, but it falls short in top speed at 114 mph.

How Much Does the Jeep Renegade Cost?

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The Jeep Renegade is offered in 8 different trim levels, with pricing ranging from $22,470 for the entry-level Sport model up to $28,835 for the range-topping High Altitude trim level. A full breakdown of pricing can be seen in the chart below.

Jeep Renegade Pricing (MSRP)
Jeep Renegade Sport $22,470
Jeep Renegade Upland $25,070
Jeep Renegade Latitude $24,125
Jeep Renegade Altitude $25,315
Jeep Renegade North Edition $26,670
Jeep Renegade Limited $26,840
Jeep Renegade Trailhawk $27,990
Jeep Renegade High Altitude $28,835

How Does the Jeep Renegade Compare to the Honda HR-V?

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The Honda HR-V is another main competitor in the subcompact crossover market, and you’ll find that it features a more attractive, less-boxy design that makes it sleeker and sportier than the Renegade. One could also argue that it’s the sportiest crossover in Honda’s lineup thanks to the gently sloping roof that nothing else in Honda’s SUV and Crossover lineup has. The interior of the HR-V feels more modern than that of the Renegade, which is strange considering the second-gen model was introduced around the same time. The infotainment system resides in the center stack and is wider than it is tall, while functionality and ease of use make it one of the best on the market. You get all the standard features, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, etc.

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Where the HR-V doesn’t excel, however, is in the power department where the standard 1.8-liter four-cylinder delivers just 141 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque. That makes it nearly 40 ponies and 50 pound-feet below the Renegade. It also falls short of the CX-3 by seven horsepower and 18 pound-feet. It can be had in FWD or AWD configurations and can hit 60 mph in 9.6 seconds on the way to a top speed of 125 mph. Towing capability comes in at just 1,500 pounds, which isn’t bad for its size, but below the Renegade, but fuel economy is impressive at 26 mpg in the city, 31 mpg on the highway, and 28 mpg combined – figures that blow the Renegade out of the water in the long-term. The HR-V starts out at $20,820 and climbs to as high as $28,890 in range-topping Touring trim.

Jeep Renegade vs. Honda HR-V
Jeep Renegade Honda HR-V
Engine 2.4-Liter Four-Cylinder 1.8-Liter Four-Cylinder
Transmission 9AT CVT
Horsepower 180 HP 141 HP
Torque 175 LB-FT 127 LB-FT
Fuel Regular Regular
Fuel Economy 21/29/24 26/31/28
Suspension Four-Wheel Independent Front Independent
Turning Circle 36.3 Feet 37.4 Feet
Front Tire Size 215/60R17 215/55R17
Rear Tire Size 215/60R17 215/55R17
Max Towing Capacity 2000 LBS 1500 LBS

Read our full review on the 2020 Honda HR-V.

How Does the Jeep Renegade Compare to the Mazda CX-3

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In terms of general shape, the Mazda CX-3 is a lot like that Honda HR-V – it has a sporty character inside and out, stylish design, and that gently sloped roof that is all the rave these days. The interior can best be described as somewhat minimalistic with a simple display perched on top of the dash, and a center console that isn’t too crowded. There’s actually a lot of open dash space, too, and that helps to give the impression of space – something that comes at a premium in the subcompact crossover\SUV segment.

Under the hood sits a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that’s good for 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. That make sit under-powered in comparison to the Renegade, but it’s still capable of towing up to 2,000 pounds and manages to pull the best fuel economy of the group at 27 mpg in the city, 32 mpg on the highway, and 29 mpg combined. It also beats the Renegade and HR-V to 60 mph by getting there in 8.4 seconds, but top speed falls short at 114 mph. Pricing for the CX-3 starts out at $20,390 for the entry-level Sport trim and climbs to as much as $25,745 for the range-topping Grand Touring trim.

Jeep Renedage vs. Mazda CX-3
Jeep Renegade Mazda CX-3
Engine 2.4-Liter Four-Cylinder 2.0-Liter Four-Cylinder
Transmission 9AT 6AT
Horsepower 180 HP 148 HP
Torque 175 LB-FT 145 LB-FT
Fuel Regular Regular
Fuel Economy 21/29/24 27/32/29
Suspension Four-Wheel Independent Front Independent
Turning Circle 36.3 Feet 34.8 Feet
Front Tire Size 215/60R17 215/60R16
Rear Tire Size 215/60R17 215/60R16
Max Towing Capacity 2000 LBS 2000 LBS

Read our full review on the 2020 Mazda CX-3.

Philippe Daix
Philippe Daix
Obsessive and Compulsive Automotive Expert - phil@topspeed.com
Always on the lookout for the latest automotive news, Philippe Daix is our most senior editor and founder of TopSpeed.com. He likes to see himself as a consumer advocate with a mission to educate motorheads of all ages.  Read full bio
About the author

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