2021 Jeep Renegade
2021 Jeep Renegade
2021 Jeep Renegade
When Jeep first introduced the Renegade in 2015, it was among one of the first subcompact SUVs on the market.
Today, that category has exploded, where virtually every carmaker now offers one in its lineup. These little “trucks” have become so popular, that they’ve, in some cases, even rendered cars obsolete.
To better take on its new competition, the Renegade was submitted to a slew of significant updates in 2019.
Which is why for the 2021 model year, it remains relatively unchanged. Except for perhaps a simplification of the entire lineup and the integration of standard safety equipment, like blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist and rear traffic alert, this is mostly a carryover vehicle.
Why Choosing 2021 Jeep Renegade?
The most noteworthy change during the 2019 facelift was the addition of a 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. It’s good for 177 horsepower and a stout 210 lb-ft of torque. The old naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four, which used to only be offered on higher trim levels, is now the entry level engine. It’s good for a more than adequate 180 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. Each engine is paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission, while all-wheel drive comes, of course, standard on all trims.
The update also affected the vehicle’s overall appearance, especially up front where the Renegade gets a new grille, a new bumper and optional LED headlights. Updated wheels and new interior color combinations complete the package.
The Urban Jeep
Allow us to rectify a few facts for the people who don’t believe this is a real Jeep. Yes, it’s true that a Renegade can’t follow a Wrangler or even a Cherokee in a beaten trail, but it’s also not sold at the same price point. This is an all-wheel drive SUV that was designed for the city. But that doesn’t prevent it from being capable.
As a matter of fact, where the Renegade sets itself apart from rivals like a Mazda CX-30, a Kia Seltos or a Nissan Qashqai, is in its slightly higher ride height and innovative all-wheel drive system. This is one of the rare SUVs in its category that allows its driver to modulate between different predetermined off-road settings, like Auto, Snow, Sand and Mud.
Furthermore, the Renegade has this neat “Lock” feature which allows you to electronically lock its differentials for improved grip. This is ideal to get you out of a thick snowbank. Towing is also class-competitive at 2,000 pounds (907 kg), which is perfect to pull a dirt bike or a small camper trailer.
The other area where the Renegade separates itself from its main rivals is with the optional MY SKY panoramic roof, which allows you to slide it, like a conventional sunroof, but also remove its panels. In other words, the Renegade can be convertible, a feature no other subcompact SUV currently offers.
And those panels are light and easy to stow too. Jeep even gives you a bag to store them. They then conventionally slide in the trunk without sacrificing cargo space too much.
Inside, the Renegade greats you with a functional yet surprisingly spacious cabin given its size. Rear head and leg clearance are good, while the many subtle design cues and easter eggs are a nod to Jeep’s adventure-seeking legacy.
The UConnect infotainment system remains clear and intuitive due to its easy to comprehend presentation and quick responding interface. While showing age, it remains highly effective, incorporative a good number of useful functionalities, like the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity or a Wifi hotspot (data plan required).
Once out there on the road
The Renegade exhibits much more carlike driving dynamics than other Jeeps. These are the benefits of having its car-based architecture, making this a charming runabout in a large urban center like Montreal. Its small size also makes it easy to park, and its nimble handling allows it to carve its way effortlessly through traffic.
The turbocharged engine gives way to punchy acceleration, albeit a bit of turbo lag. This is inevitable given its small displacement, as well as a transmission that constantly hunts for the proper gear. But once it finds, it does a bang-up job of exploiting the engine’s available power. While never fast per se, the Renegade’s low-end torque allows it to remain spirited and fun to drive.
Thanks to its small displacement, this engine is rather fuel efficient, capable of easily returning an average combined rating under the 9L/100 km mark, even in winter. For a vehicle equipped with all-wheel drive, that’s excellent.
But what really makes the Jeep Renegade such an interesting vehicle is its charming looks which allow it not only to distinguish itself from a boring segment, but also be charismatic while having its own distinct personality.
Add to that all the subtle design cues that make it a downright fun little machine, and the Renegade comes through as a fresh alternative in its space. Yes, this is a Jeep “light”, but it’s still tougher than anything else in its class. For that reason alone, it deserves its spot within the Jeep lineup.