Jeep’s Renegade subcompact SUV stays mostly the same for 2020, but more equipment is now available on lower trim levels, including LED lighting, a suite of driver assistance features, a safety and security package, and 19-inch wheels. All models get a new telematics unit, and a nine-speaker Kenwood premium audio system is newly available.
Renegade comes in Sport, Latitude, Trailhawk, and Limited trim levels. Base pricing starts at $22,375. The Trailhawk is four-wheel-drive only, but the other three are available with either front-wheel or four-wheel drive configuration.
A 2.4-liter four cylinder engine with 180 horsepower is standard on Sport and Latitude models, and a 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 177 horsepower is optional. The turbo engine is standard on Trailhawk and Limited. It produces 210 lb-ft of torque, which is 35 more than the 2.4-liter’s 175 lb-ft.
All Renegades have a nine-speed automatic transmission.
I drove the Renegade Trailhawk model, the one intended for people who like to venture off-highway onto routes more rugged than the other Renegades can cope with. It has 8.7 inches of ground clearance, skid plates, red front and rear tow hooks, up to 8.1 inches of wheel articulation, hill descent control, and a 2,000-pound towing capacity. It comes standard with the Jeep Active Drive Low full-time 4×4 system with low range for a 21:1 crawl ratio.
The Renegade in Sport, Latitude, and Limited versions has a generally unruffled ride, but the Trailhawk is Jeepier, more Wrangler-like. Which I like.
With a $1,495 destination charge included, my Renegade Trailhawk’s base price is $29,290.
If you were taken aback by an amount so close to $30,000, wait till you see the total price as driven: $37,015.
A Uconnect infotainment system is standard on the Trailhawk, featuring a 7-inch display, SiriusXM radio with a one-year subscription, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, integrated voice command with Bluetooth, and a 115-volt power outlet. My tester had the optional ($1,245) upgraded Uconnect with an 8-inch touchscreen, navigation, HD radio, and additional SiriusXM services including travel and traffic information.
Another premium package, aimed at owners who want more gentility in their Jeep, included heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and power adjustability for the front seats including lumbar for the driver.
My tester was also equipped with the more expensive turbo engine, an extra $1,495. Its fuel economy rating is 22 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined.
The Renegade has two removable roof panels for open-air driving, and the tester was embellished with the My Sky sunroof, which adds power operation. It’s an extra $1,595 and I’d consider it essential, not just for the convenience but also to accommodate our Pacific Northwest weather that can change from sunny to rainy and back again many times within one day.
The sunroof didn’t get opened at all while I was driving the Renegade. Not because it was rainy. I wish it had been. The roof stayed closed because the outside air was toxic with smoke from the West Coast wildfires.
2020 JEEP RENEGADE TRAILHAWK 4×4
Base price, including destination charge: $29,290
Price as driven: $37,015
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.