The 2019 Jeep Renegade is the smallest model in the brand’s lineup, but it’s not the most affordable.
In 2015, the Renegade arrived on the market as the brand’s smallest model, filling the subcompact SUV segment that’s been expanding for the past 10 years. The 2019 Jeep Renegade receives some changes this year as part of the model’s mid-cycle refresh.
The Jeep brand is arguably the most desirable in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ portfolio, and along with Ram, the most profitable. With the arrival of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator pickup and the upcoming seven-passenger Wagoneer SUV, more and more segments are being covered by Jeep. The Renegade has the peculiar mission of being its smallest model, but it’s not the most affordable of the lineup.
For 2019, the Renegade receives some mild cosmetic tweaks. The front grille has been reshaped ever so slightly, to the point where we wonder why they even bothered, while LED headlights and taillights are now part of an option package, and new alloy wheel designs round out the exterior changes.
Inside, the driver instrument panel is revised with new graphics, while the drive mode dial was relocated to allow more console storage. The centre stack houses new climate controls and the Uconnect 8.4 infotainment screen received an update as well.
Gone are the front-wheel drivetrain and the six-speed manual transmission in the 2019 Jeep Renegade. The turbocharged 1.4-litre has also been ditched, so the base engine became the 2.4-litre inline-four that develops 180 horsepower, matched to the nine-speed automatic transmission.
A new turbocharged, 1.3-litre four is introduced for 2019 as the upgrade engine, which develops 177 horsepower as well as 2010 point-feet at 1,750 rpm. It too is paired to the nine-speed auto. This engine is up to the task of getting the little Jeep up to speed, and the generous torque makes the SUV more enjoyable to drive. On the other hand, the 1.3L mill is noisy during acceleration, and that noise isn’t very refined. During our test, we averaged 9.6 L/100 km.
The 2019 Jeep Renegade also benefits from a stiff platform, so everything feels pretty solid. The Active Drive 4×4 system in the Renegade may not be a skilful in off-road situations as the Jeep Wrangler’s Command-Trac, Selec-Trac and Rock-Trac systems, but the Renegade is the most capable SUV in its segment. The 221-millimetre ground clearance of the Trailhawk trim level is also tops—a hair higher than the Subaru Crosstrek’s.
Why You Should Buy a 2019 Jeep Renegade
- Its rugged good looks make the Renegade stand out in the subcompact crossover category largely filled with cookie-cutter models. Owning a Jeep is cool, no matter which one it is.
- The new turbocharged 1.3-litre engine serves up good power and torque, and is more fuel-efficient than the base 2.4-litre four.
- The Active Drive 4×4 system, which includes a low range in the Trailhawk, is very capable off the beaten path. The Renegade is the most adventurous truck in its class. If that’s what we’re looking for, of course.
- The Renegade’s Uconnect 8.4 infotainment system is extremely easy to use, with a reactive touchscreen and big button zones. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration is standard as well. A benchmark in the industry.
- It’s not the most spacious subcompact SUV, but the Renegade’s square shape allows for plenty of interior room for four adults—or two adults and three kids with a fair amount of back-seat squabbling. Cargo space is average, but still very useful.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 2019 Jeep Renegade
- Base price for the Renegade is set at $28,445 before freight and delivery charges. All-wheel drive is included, but still, most subcompact crossovers with four-wheel traction cost thousands less. Maybe if it was built in North America instead of Italy, it would be a little more affordable.
- We can pay cash or finance a 2019 Jeep Renegade, but we can’t lease one. In addition, finance rates aren’t all that enticing, which means the monthly payments of this Jeep will be higher than a similarly equipped Honda HR-V, Nissan Qashqai or Hyundai Kona. Our Trailhawk tester with a slew of options hit the $40K mark. Ouch.
- The Renegade’s front pillars are very wide, creating important blind spots. We must always be careful when we’re turning on street intersections as the pillars hide pedestrians and other vehicles.
- We like the new 1.3-litre engine, but have no idea about its long-term reliability or maintenance costs yet.
- The little Jeep’s steering is somewhat stiff, as if the wheel was spring-loaded to rotate back to its centre position. Nothing major, but a little more effort is required at slow speeds, which might not please everyone.
It’s a shame the 2019 Jeep Renegade is pricey, because it’s an interesting subcompact SUV that offers the looks, the off-road capabilities one needs to tackle on-road construction zones and crumbled city streets. For another few grand, we’d seriously consider stepping up to a Wrangler, which is not only more spacious, but holds it value better.