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2021 Jeep Renegade Review

The 2021 Jeep Renegade ranks near the back of the subcompact SUV class. The Renegade sports a relatively spacious interior, a user-friendly touch screen, balanced handling, and impressive off-road ability, but it also has weak acceleration and a poor predicted reliability rating.

Pros & Cons

  • Solid off-road capability
  • Composed ride and handling
  • Easy-to-use infotainment system
  • Rock-bottom predicted reliability rating
  • Sluggish acceleration
  • Subpar fuel economy ratings

New for 2021

  • Many active safety features now standard
  • 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto join standard features list

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Jeep Renegade's #12 ranking is based on its score within the Subcompact SUVs category. Currently the Jeep Renegade has a score of 6.9 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 35 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

6.9

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.2
Performance: 6.8
Interior: 7.0
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 8.5 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

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Is the Jeep Renegade a Good SUV?

The 2021 Jeep Renegade is a decent subcompact SUV. The Renegade has a stylish cabin with relatively roomy seating space, a sizable cargo area, and an easy-to-use infotainment system. It remains stable around turns, and it rides comfortably over rough pavement. Despite its diminutive size, the Renegade is a surprisingly plucky off-roader, especially in its Trailhawk configuration. This Jeep comes standard with lots of active safety features as well.

That said, the Renegade seems to have just as many drawbacks as highlights. Its engine options feel underpowered, and they are saddled with a transmission that shifts slowly and sometimes erratically. The Renegade’s gas mileage is below average for such a small SUV, and there’s pronounced road and wind noise at higher speeds. Worse still, the Renegade rates poorly for predicted reliability.

Why You Can Trust Us: 35 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve analyzed 35 Jeep Renegade reviews, as well as data points like reliability ratings and fuel economy estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

This 2021 Renegade review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2015.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Jeep Renegade?

You may want to consider the 2021 Jeep Renegade if you’re looking for an affordable small SUV that can double as a weekend off-road vehicle. If you don’t plan to hit the trails, however, there are better and more affordable subcompact SUVs to choose for everyday driving, like the Hyundai Kona, Mazda CX-30, and Kia Soul.

Find a 2021 Jeep Renegade for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Jeep Renegade: What's the Difference?

The main difference between the 2020 and 2021 Renegade is its standard features. Jeep adds a 7-inch touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to the base model Renegade for 2021, along with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and lane keep assist. These features were previously optional.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 Renegade »

Jeep launched the Renegade as an all-new vehicle for 2015. Here are its key changes over the last few years:

  • 2018: gained standard rearview camera; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto became available
  • 2019: refreshed exterior styling; updated turbocharged engine option added; hands-free park assist and adaptive cruise control made available; manual transmission discontinued
  • 2020: no notable changes
  • 2021: more previously available features now standard

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 Renegade, 2019 Renegade, and 2020 Renegade reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Jeep Renegade Cost?

The 2021 Jeep Renegade has a $22,830 starting price, which is higher than average for the subcompact SUV class. The price rises to $28,680 for the range-topping Trailhawk model.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Jeep dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Jeep deals page.

Jeep Renegade Versus the Competition

Jeep Renegade vs. Jeep Compass

The Jeep Compass is a compact SUV, and it sits just above the Renegade in Jeep’s lineup. There are some similarities between these models. Both offer good off-road performance and the same user-friendly infotainment system, and both SUVs also struggle to accelerate quickly and rate below average for predicted reliability. The Compass is a bit larger than the Renegade, which translates to more back-seat space and cargo room. On the other hand, the Renegade’s starting price is lower than the Compass’ by about $1,000, yet it provides far more standard active safety features. Ultimately, neither of these Jeeps are top picks in their respective classes.

Compare the Renegade and Compass »

Jeep Renegade vs. Jeep Cherokee

The Jeep Cherokee is the other compact SUV in the brand’s lineup. Much like the Renegade, the Cherokee has the same great infotainment system and many standard active safety features. It’s also anchored to the same unrefined 2.4-liter engine that comes in Renegade base models, but it’s available with punchier V6 and turbocharged variants that make the Cherokee zestier to drive. The Cherokee can also haul a bit more cargo and tow considerably more (up to 4,500 pounds), and it performs better off road. The trade-off is price. The Cherokee’s starting price is higher than the Renegade’s by about $3,700.

Compare the Renegade and Cherokee »

Compare the Renegade, Compass, and Cherokee »

Renegade Interior: Form Follows Function

Renegade Cargo Space

The Jeep Renegade has 18.5 cubic feet of cargo space with its rear seats upright and 50.8 cubic feet with those seats folded. That’s better than average for a subcompact SUV, though rivals like the Kia Soul, Honda HR-V, and Subaru Crosstrek offer more cargo room.

How Many People Does the Renegade Seat?

The Jeep Renegade is a two-row SUV with five seats. The front seats are soft and supportive, and there’s surprisingly generous headroom and legroom up front for taller occupants. The high driving position provides a commanding view of the road that most SUVs in this class don’t offer. Outward visibility is fine to the sides as well, though rear visibility is limited by the thick roof pillars. The Renegade’s rear seats aren’t as cushy, but they are still spacious enough for two adults or three kids to sit comfortably on short trips.

Cloth upholstery and manually adjustable front seats are standard. Leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and a heated steering wheel are available.

Renegade and Child Car Seats

The Jeep Renegade has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats and a tether anchor for the rear middle seat. This LATCH system is generally easy to use, though the lower anchors may be set too deeply in the seats.

Renegade Interior Quality

The Jeep Renegade has a distinctive cabin with chunky styling and sleek metallic accents. Most surfaces are covered with hard black plastics, but on the plus side, these panels feel durable and well put-together. There’s a lot of road and wind noise that seeps into the interior at highway speeds, though that’s fairly common in this segment.

Renegade Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Jeep offers the Renegade with a standard 7-inch touch screen or an available 8.4-inch touch screen. These displays are easy to see and reach, the menu structure is straightforward, and there are additional buttons and knobs for the main audio and climate controls, making the system a cinch to use while driving. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, allowing users to seamlessly integrate their smartphone apps on-screen.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a USB port, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and six speakers
  • Available infotainment features: an 8.4-inch touch screen, navigation, HD Radio, nine speakers, and an additional USB port
  • Additional standard features: remote keyless entry, push-button start, and dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Other available features: proximity keyless entry, remote start, and a 120-volt household-style power outlet

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

Renegade Performance: Slow and Steady

Renegade Engine

The 2021 Jeep Renegade is offered with two engine options: a 180-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder and a 177-horsepower 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Both come standard with a nine-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive; all-wheel drive is available.

Neither engine is particularly inspiring. The 2.4-liter engine sounds coarse at higher rpm, and it struggles to move the Renegade with any authority. The optional turbocharged engine sounds a bit more refined, and its extra oomph at lower rpm improves acceleration from a stop, but it still feels short on power in daily driving. Part of the problem is the nine-speed transmission. Shifts are slow and occasionally erratic, leaving the Renegade flatfooted and without passing power when it’s needed.

Renegade Gas Mileage

The Jeep Renegade gets an EPA-rated 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway with its available 1.3-liter turbo engine. Models with the standard 2.4-liter engine get just 22/30 mpg city/highway. Both ratings are below average for the subcompact SUV class.

Renegade Ride and Handling

Despite its unrefined powertrain, the Jeep Renegade actually rides and handles quite well. The steering is quick and nicely weighted, and a small turning radius makes the Renegade easy to park and maneuver in tight areas. The Renegade feels fairly stable around turns, and its brakes provide fine stopping power. The suspension soaks up most bumps and dips comfortably as well, though the ride quality diminishes a bit in Trailhawk models, which feature stiffer springs and shock absorbers.

Renegade Off-Road Performance

The Jeep Renegade may be the smallest SUV in the brand’s lineup, but it’s still capable off road, especially in its Trailhawk configuration. The Renegade scampers easily over loose gravel and along forest trails thanks to its advanced traction control system, which fights to maintain grip. The Renegade has up to 8.7 inches of ground clearance and multiple skid plates, allowing it to safely ride up and over obstacles. The Renegade’s biggest limitation off road is its short suspension travel. Opt for the Jeep Wrangler or Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk for greater off-road ability.

Renegade Towing Capacity

The Jeep Renegade can tow up to 2,000 pounds when equipped with all-wheel drive and the Class III tow package. The front-wheel-drive Renegade is not rated for towing.

Read more about performance »

Renegade Reliability

Is the Jeep Renegade Reliable?

The 2021 Jeep Renegade has a poor predicted reliability rating of two out of five.

Jeep Renegade Warranty

Jeep covers the Renegade with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Renegade Safety

Renegade Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2021 Jeep Renegade an overall safety rating of four out of five stars. The Renegade received four stars in the frontal and side crash tests. The front-wheel-drive Renegade received four stars in the rollover test, while the all-wheel-drive model received only three stars.

At the time of writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash tested the 2021 Renegade, but the similar 2020 Renegade earned Good ratings in five of six IIHS crash tests.

Renegade Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist

Available advanced safety features:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Hands-free parallel park assist

Read more about safety »

Renegade Dimensions and Weight

The Renegade is 13.9 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,159 to 3,527 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Jeep Renegade Built?

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) builds the 2021 Jeep Renegade in Italy alongside the Fiat 500X.

Which Jeep Renegade Model Is Right for Me?

The 2021 Jeep Renegade is available in seven trim levels: Sport, Jeepster, Latitude, Upland, 80th Anniversary, Limited, and Trailhawk. The entry-level Sport trim is a fine starting point for most shoppers since it offers a lot of standard tech and safety features. If you’re looking to drive off road, however, you’ll want to opt for either the Upland or Trailhawk trim. These models add tow hooks, skid plates, and lower-profile bumpers.

Jeep Renegade Sport and Jeepster

The base model Renegade Sport has a $22,830 starting price, and it comes equipped with a 180-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, a nine-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. Upgrading to all-wheel drive costs $1,500.

Standard features include a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, a USB port, satellite radio, six speakers, remote keyless entry, push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, cloth upholstery, halogen headlights, heated side mirrors, and 16-inch steel wheels with all-season tires. Standard safety features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and lane keep assist.

The Renegade Jeepster starts at $24,725 for front-wheel-drive models and $26,225 for all-wheel-drive models. This trim adds proximity keyless entry, remote start, and 19-inch alloy wheels.

Jeep Renegade Latitude

The Renegade Latitude starts at $24,815 for front-wheel-drive models and $26,315 for all-wheel-drive models. This trim includes the Sport’s features plus an additional USB port and 17-inch alloy wheels.

Two option packages are available. The Luxury package costs $2,495 and adds an 8.4-inch touch screen, navigation, HD Radio, parking sensors, hands-free park assist, adaptive cruise control, and LED headlights with automatic high-beam headlights. If you buy the Luxury package, you also get a 177-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

The Convenience package is a $1,195 upgrade, and it adds heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, a heated steering wheel, a 120-volt household-style power outlet, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. Individual options include a panoramic sunroof, a nine-speaker stereo, proximity keyless entry, and remote start.

Jeep Renegade Upland

The Renegade Upland starts at $25,725, and it’s offered solely with all-wheel drive. This trim includes the Sport’s features plus remote start, 17-inch alloy wheels, a front skid plate, tow hooks, and a restyled front bumper to improve off-road ground clearance.

Jeep Renegade 80th Anniversary

The Renegade 80th Anniversary starts at $26,095 for front-wheel-drive models and $27,595 for all-wheel-drive models. This trim includes the Latitude’s features plus an 8.4-inch touch screen, navigation, HD Radio, and 19-inch alloy wheels. A turbocharged four-cylinder engine is a no-cost option. The Luxury and Convenience packages are also optional.

Jeep Renegade Limited

The Renegade Limited starts at $28,680, and it’s offered solely with the turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive. This trim includes the Latitude’s features plus leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, a heated steering wheel, proximity keyless entry, remote start, an 8.4-inch touch screen, navigation, HD Radio, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. The Luxury package is optional.

Jeep Renegade Trailhawk

The Renegade Trailhawk starts at $28,680, and it’s offered only with the turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive. This trim includes most of the Limited’s features, but it trades leather seats for a higher-riding suspension, skid plates, tow hooks, a lower gear ratio, and all-terrain tires. Leather upholstery is still optional as part of the Luxury package.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Jeep dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Jeep deals page.

See 2021 Jeep Renegade specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2021 Jeep Renegade does many things well. It’s capable off road, it boasts a fairly roomy interior, and it’s loaded with standard features. Ultimately, however, these perks are overshadowed by big deficiencies. The Renegade’s transmission is sluggish, and engine power is limited in day-to-day driving. The Renegade also rates poorly for predicted reliability. This subcompact SUV is worth a look for off-road enthusiasts, just not as a top pick.

Don't just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "… both engines are saddled with the same frustrating and slow-witted 9-speed automatic transmission that plagues all three small Jeep models. During a test drive, make a passing maneuver to see if it’s bearable. That blemish aside, the Jeep Renegade is an otherwise well-rounded yet distinct vehicle in its class." -- Autotrader
  • "Depending on how you spec it, the 2020 Jeep Renegade can either be as adorable as a plush toy or tough enough to share the trail with the legendary Jeep Wrangler off-roader. The Trailhawk model earns off-road credibility with skidplates, all-terrain tires, and a two-speed transfer case. Most buyers will be better served by one of the many road-oriented trims, but those Renegades are easily outclassed by other subcompact crossovers that offer better fuel economy, performance, and packaging—such as the Hyundai Kona, the Kia Soul, or the Nissan Kicks." -- Car and Driver (2020)
  • "Looking for a small SUV that provides some personality? The 2020 Jeep Renegade could be for you. For one, its baby-Wrangler looks immediately differentiate the Renegade from its anonymously styled rivals. And unlike competitors, the Renegade has real off-road chops." -- Edmunds (2020)
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