Home » fresh car ratings 2017 » Ratings and Review: two thousand seventeen Jeep Renegade – NY Daily News

Ratings and Review: two thousand seventeen Jeep Renegade – NY Daily News

Ratings and Review: two thousand seventeen Jeep Renegade has slew of ‘show’ but less ‘go’

Of all the vehicles I’ve ever driven, it’s not been the supercars and sports cars or big, unapologetic trucks that have been the most-loved by friends, family, and passersby; it’s been the Jeeps.

Pick anyone up in a Wrangler and they’ll be undoubtedly pleased, overlooking the harsh rail, copious road and wind noise, and Play Skool interior in favor of all that indisputable, intoxicating charm. Heck, I even have a massive soft spot for the Wrangler’s charm and capability. How else could you explain the SUV brand’s record sales despite being at the bottom of dependability lists every year?

The Renegade is the very first sub-compact SUV from Jeep since Fiat Chrysler’s founding. The question is: does the beloved charm of the iconic Jeep Wrangler translate to a smaller package?

With the Renegade, its very first sub-compact SUV suggesting since the founding of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Jeep has gone all-out on kitsch and capability, but has left much of the rest of the vehicle to the Italians’ behest, much to the driver’s dismay. I took the wheel of a two thousand seventeen Jeep Renegade Limited for a week to find out if this SUV’s charm can still carry the weight of its shortcomings a few years into its sales run.

Design: 7.Trio Rating

Jeep determined to take every stereotypical design feature of a Jeep and condensed it into the Renegade, making for a unique, if not “cutesy” design.

From almost any angle, inwards or out, there’s no mistaking the Renegade for anything but a Jeep. One of the most common complaints I get from car buyers at large is that all fresh cars are kicking off to look more similar than ever. It’s become nigh unlikely to tell the difference inbetween a Hyundai Sonata and Subaru Legacy at a glance.

Not so for Jeep. In fact, the only complaint you could possibly have about the brand’s latest designs is that all Jeeps are beginning to look alike.

The Renegade is all of the Jeep brand’s character distilled into its smallest SUV suggesting. Boxy wheel arches, squared-off dimensions, round headlights, and that seven-slat grille that’s become a sort of logo on its own make this lovely ‘ute unmistakable for any other brand, even its platform mate, the Fiat 500X.

This Jeep is better suited for taking a journey to the mall with Ken than going on an excursion through the wilderness.

If anything, the Renegade’s looks are a bit too much. I used the word “cute” fairly cautiously in the passage above, as the Renegade has been described to me as anything from “a bit too cutesy” to “an actual Barbie Jeep.” Select a more vibrant color like crimson, yellow, or orange, and the effect is multiplied exponentially. There are also uncountable Jeep-themed Easter eggs via the design, like the “Sarge” face in the headlights and “Jerry Can” shaped taillights. Still, it’s a splendid, rugged looking SUV with more design highlights than almost any of its competitors, save the sleek Mazda CX-3.

The theme proceeds on the inwards, with a pleasing dashboard design and little Jeep-specific styling cues like the logo on the speaker surrounds, “Since 1941” emblazoned atop the infotainment screen, and “To Fresh Adventures!” embossed right underneath the ignition switch. If you didn’t know this was a Jeep walking up to it, you’ll surely make no mistake sitting inwards it.

You’ve already got one of the strongest brand identities in the industry, Jeep designers. Don’t hit us over the head with it.

Convenience: Five.Five Rating

It’s a taut squeeze for passengers in the Renegade, and some glaring blind catches sight of don’t do the driver any favors.

A Grand Cherokee, this little SUV certainly is not. The front seats are hard and keep you in a very upright position to be able to see out of the vehicle at all, and trust me, you’ll want to. The blind catches sight of are immense, especially the massive A-pillar, however the tall, upright glass gives better visibility than some competitors.

For whatever reason, the front foot well is cramped too, to the point where an average-height passenger’s knees will be right up against the glove box for extended periods of time, and the bump-out for the wheel well digs into lateral space, too.

Rear seat passengers don’t fare much better, however headroom is ample thanks to a tall, boxy design. Legroom is low for the segment, lagging Four.Five inches behind the Honda HR-V, but if you’re looking for more passenger space, it may be clever to upgrade to a Cherokee or similarly-sized vehicle.

Controls: 7.0 Rating

The console and controls of the Renegade are placed in a logical manner, and the UConnect infotainment system is effortless to use with knobs and buttons and large fonts on the 6.5-inch touchscreen.

Gratefully, the Renegades utilitarian pretenses make for a relatively plain console and control design, with climate controls separated from the infotainment unit, around which everything is placed in a logical manner.

Three dials control driver and passenger temperature and fan speed, and the controls below control a drive-setting dial for different terrains and charging ports. The shifter is gratefully conventional unlike the awful unit in the Grand Cherokee, and an electronic parking brake rests on the shift boot.

The 6.5-inch UConnect infotainment screen (a Five.0-inch non-touchscreen is standard) is relatively effortless to use thanks to large touch buttons on the screen, but too many functions are managed through the touchscreen, making interchanging it out for an aftermarket head unit relatively unlikely. Gratefully, conventional knobs and buttons permit you to switch volume and access different menus with ease, and large fonts are effortless to read for drivers with any level of vision.

Utility: 7.0 Rating

The boxy design of the Renegade may help make it practical, but it still lags behind other competitors in the segment in terms of usable trunk space.

Crossovers and SUVs have become popular for one very good reason: capability. No longer do buyers have to trade fuel economy and drivability for the sake of utility, and the industry has followed the trend.

The Renegade’s boxy design makes for a relatively practical little SUV, tho’ cargo space lags behind the segment-leading Honda HR-V. The Renegade 4×4 packs Eighteen.Five cubic feet with the seats in place, while the Honda boasts 23.Two cubic feet, tho’ the square form of the little Jeep makes for a usable trunk space, and a lift-up floor with more storage space meant for the optional removable roof panels increases usability when the roof isn’t taking up that space.

There are also ample storage cubbies in the cabin, like large usable door pockets and a decent sized glove box and center console, but it’s not as utilitarian as the Honda.

Technology: 6.Five Rating

While functions are effortless to use on the UConnect infotainment system, the touchscreen’s placement is too low for the eyes to lightly glance at while driving.

The aforementioned UConnect system is plain to use, but unlike the larger units in other Fiat-Chrysler products, the user interface of the 6.5-inch system is different. The processor is on the slower side, and the high seating position and low touchscreen placement makes it difficult to glance down at the map without distracting yourself from the road.

The petite size of the touchscreen also thresholds the functions that can be displayed on screen, and puny quirks like the disappearance of the car’s only clock when turning off the display make everyday living with the UConnect system a bit on the annoying side. Bluetooth functionality works excellent, with prompt, effortless connectivity and clear phone calls and audio sound.

Jeep does suggest optional navigation and 3G (unluckily not 4G) Wi-Fi in the Renegade, but with more fresh cars suggesting similar features, the Renegade is commencing to fall behind. Also, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not yet available for UConnect, and a backup camera is only available on touchscreen units.

Safety: Four.Five Rating

Sharing a platform and sporting the same crash-mitigating safety features as the Fiat 500X, which did well with both the NHTSA and IIHS, it’s odd that the Renegade didn’t receive similar accolades.

The Renegade’s safety ratings are a confusing case, because the two major safety rating boards don’t fairly seem to agree on whether or not the little Jeep hold up in a crash test. The federal government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the Renegade a four-star overall rating, docking it one starlet for a four-star frontal crash rating, three-star rear passenger side rating and three-star rollover rating for the 4WD model.

That’s concerning for a vehicle that’s only two years old, as most modern cars are expected to pass all crash tests with flying colors.

However, the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the Renegade “good” ratings in front overlap, side, and roof strength, but headlight spectacle was “poor” – a fact that I can confirm – and the ease of use of child seat anchors is “marginal” because they’re located on the back side of the rear seats.

The NHTSA and IIHS seem to be at odds on whether the Renegade is a safe car.

Strangely, the Fiat 500X, the Renegade’s platform and powertrain sibling, receives a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS, thanks to better-than-average crash-avoidance technology that the Renegade also shares.

Front collision warning with automatic emergency braking is available on the Renegade, and blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and lane keep assist are also available. The aforementioned backup camera only comes with the largest touchscreen, however, and does not include guides for reference, and the car’s bumpers are not visible on screen, making it hard to judge distance.

Until the two agencies can confer on whether or not the Renegade is safe, it’s hard to recommend over award-winners like the Mazda CX-3 in terms of safety alone.

Power and Spectacle: Five.Two Rating

The Limited trim Renegade’s engine has more horsepower than the base engine, but less torque, which was noticeable as the ‘ute whined and struggled to get to sixty mph.

The Renegade’s standard engine, a 1.4-liter turbocharged four cylinder, is available with a 6-speed manual and front- or four-wheel drive, while the higher-trim engine option is a Two.4-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder with both drivetrains available too. The latter powertrain comes exclusively with a 9-speed automatic from Chrysler’s parts bin, and the off-road-ready Trailhawk trim comes only with four-wheel drive.

The Renegade Limited I drove for the week had the Two.4-liter engine and all-wheel drive, which makes one hundred eighty horsepower and one hundred seventy five lb.-ft. of torque, more horsepower and less torque than the base engine. That fact is apparent when stepping on the accelerator, as it takes almost nine seconds for the Renegade to get up to sixty mph, with a coarse sound and lots of wind noise across the cabin. The 9-speed automatic doesn’t help things as well, with slick shifts in normal driving, but clunky, indecisive downshifts and no build up in the fuel economy department.

The Jeep Renegade falls behind the rest of the segment in the fuel efficiency department with a twenty four mpg combined rating by the EPA.

The Renegade Limited 4×4 is rated at twenty four mpg combined by the EPA, which is far below the rest of the segment, the rest of which treatment thirty mpg on average, even with all-wheel drive tooled. I eyed an average of 23.8 mpg over seventy miles of combined driving, a less-than-impressive figure when larger and more powerful crossovers like the Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V boast better numbers.

Reliability is also suspect, as is the case with many Fiat-Chrysler products, with Consumer Reports providing the Renegade a “Poor” rating and other boards confirming their assessment.

Rail and Treating: 6.0 Rating

It’s evident in the suspension that the Renegade is made in Italy, but its tall stance and blocky design take away from what should be a better driving practice.

The Renegade is actually built in Italy, a product of the Italian-American marriage of Fiat and Chrysler, and this cross-pollination is apparent in the car’s driving dynamics. The suspension and chassis is taut, almost to the point of annoyance on sub-par roads, and steering is on the stronger side, more like a petite Italian hatchback than an American SUV.

Unluckily, the tall stance of the Renegade makes for lots of assets roll, and its stronger curb weight can contribute to understeer in the corners. The brakes treat the Renegade’s size well, however, so stopping distance is relatively brief. There’s less wind noise on the highway than you’d expect from such a blocky design, tho’ it’s still more apparent than many other competitors.

Our Recommendation:

In summary, the Renegade scores big in uniqueness and charm, but not much else.

The Renegade wins big on character and curb appeal, looking less like a penalty box or glorified hatchback than any of its competitors, and that alone has gotten ems of thousands of buyers into the showroom. Car buyers still want Jeeps by the dozens, and the Renegade stands to benefit from that for how Jeep-like it looks and feels upon very first impression.

Unluckily, the rest of the Renegade practice doesn’t indeed stand up to snuff, with suspect reliability, poor engine and fuel economy spectacle, a less-than-comfortable rail, and sub-par interior space despite boxy dimensions.

With the top-of-the-line package coming up to almost $32,000, you’re better off getting a well-equipped mid-size SUV with better usability.

Value is also an issue, as my test car came in at almost $32,000, and at that price, you could have a well-equipped compact or mid-size SUV instead with better power, spectacle and usability.

Gratefully for the Renegade, the relatively fresh subcompact SUV segment is still without a clear frontrunner, and most models remain a compromise over their larger and more established counterparts. That should give Jeep enough time to make the next Renegade a lot better.

Total Vehicle Score: 120/200

Overall Vehicle Rating: 6.0

Learn more about the Jeep Renegade

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