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2020 Jeep Renegade Performance Review


Performance: 6.8

The 2020 Jeep Renegade is the best off-roader in the subcompact SUV class. On pavement, it maintains a composed and relatively agile ride, but its underpowered engine, slow-shifting transmission, and poor fuel economy bring it down in the ranks.

  • Drivability is also suspect due to the transmission. But braking is excellent, handling is surprisingly nimble, and it's quite capable off-road." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • On the road, the Renegade’s performance is adequate for daily commutes, but a far cry from the more athletic performance of the Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V and Toyota C-HR." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
  • "Unfortunately, the glacial throttle and transmission responses constantly frustrate, particularly when passing." -- Autotrader (2019)

Acceleration and Power

A 180-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine comes standard in the Renegade. It provides a decent amount of power for your daily commute, but models with this engine take a while to accelerate. Therefore, consider opting for the available turbocharged 1.3-liter four-cylinder that puts out 177 horsepower and delivers improved acceleration.

Models with the turbocharged engine also get better fuel economy: 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway compared to the base model's 22/30 mpg city/highway. Unfortunately, all models come with a nine-speed automatic transmission that's slow to downshift.

  • "We're further unimpressed by the 2.4-liter engine — acceleration is slow, the nine-speed transmission is easily confused, and fuel economy is lackluster." -- Edmunds
  • It's a good thing that Jeep owners enjoy raw experiences, because there is no polish to the Renegade's standard four-cylinder engine. With a zero-to-60-mph time of 9.0 seconds, the optional turbocharged 1.3-liter four-cylinder isn't much of improvement in either refinement or performance. It makes a few less horsepower than the base 2.4-liter engine, but the turbo engine's redeeming trait is the extra 25 lb-ft of torque (200 total) it develops low in the rev range to help the Renegade accelerate away from stops." -- Car and Driver
  • "You'll punch the accelerator and wait an interminable amount of time for something to happen. By the time it does, the transmission often doesn't pick the right gear and your passing opportunity has likely closed. This is the case regardless of whether you get the underwhelming and unrefined base engine, or the new, punchier turbocharged one." -- Autotrader (2019)

Handling and Braking

The Renegade delivers a comfortable ride with fairly agile handling. Additionally, its steering is well-weighted and provides a good amount of feedback from the road. The Renegade comes standard with front-wheel drive, and four-wheel drive is available.

  • While it can feel stiffly sprung in its most off-road-oriented Trailhawk version, the ride in other versions is generally composed and comfortable. Steering is quick to respond to driver inputs, and there's less body roll around corners than you might expect from a vehicle shaped like a Christmas ornament. If an engaging driving experience is an important factor, the turbocharged Kia Soul and the Mazda CX-3 both offer better performance and much more fun." -- Car and Driver
  • "If you're expecting slow, nebulous Jeep steering, you will be pleasantly surprised. The wheel is nicely weighted and generally precise, and it offers an acceptable amount of feedback. It contributes to the car's generally nimble feel." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "On paved roads, the Renegade is pleasantly nimble and the ride comfortable, though the Trailhawk does add some harshness." -- Autotrader (2019)


In terms of off-roading, the Renegade is a class leader. Even the base trim can tackle rough terrain when four-wheel drive is added. Step up to the Trailhawk trim, and you'll gain loads of off-roading equipment, including full-time four-wheel drive with low-range gearing, skid plates, tow hooks, a higher ride height, and all-terrain tires. A Selec-Terrain system with Auto, Snow, Sand, Mud, and Rocks settings is also available.

  • "And despite being based on a car platform (shared with the Fiat 500X and Jeep Compass), it has ample ground clearance and short overhangs. These are enhanced considerably in the Trailhawk, which also gains low-range gearing, and boasts off-roading capability that nothing else in the segment approaches." -- Autotrader (2019)
  • "However, when the paved road ends, most of the Renegade’s competitors lack the ability to follow, the one exception being the Subaru Crosstrek." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
  • "This wee little Jeep tackles obstacles far more daunting than most civilians would attempt." -- Motor Trend (2019)
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2020 Jeep Renegade

MSRP: $22,375 - $28,500

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