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2021 Jeep Renegade Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 6.8

The 2021 Jeep Renegade has well-rounded handling, both on and off road. However, its engine options and unrefined transmission struggle to hustle the SUV around confidently.

  • "On paved roads, the Renegade is pleasantly nimble, and the ride is comfortable, although some harshness creeps in with the Trailhawk." -- Autotrader
  • "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)

Engine Options, Horsepower, and Acceleration

  • Base engine: 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 180 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque
  • Available engine: 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 177 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque
  • Drivetrain: standard front-wheel drive; available four-wheel drive
  • Transmission: nine-speed automatic

The Renegade’s biggest issues are found under the hood. The standard 2.4-liter engine sounds harsh and provides sluggish acceleration around town and at highway speeds. The optional 1.3-liter turbocharged engine feels slightly zippier, but it’s still out of breath at higher speeds. The Renegade’s nine-speed automatic transmission doesn’t help things. It tends to change gears slowly and often selects a gear that’s too high or low for the driving situation.

  • "Our complaints are reserved for the transmission, whose responses are free from any noticeable haste. Between pressing the accelerator and waiting for something to happen, that window for overtaking will probably have closed. Even when it finally kicks in, selection of the correct gear isn’t necessarily guaranteed. This issue applies to both the underwhelming, unrefined base engine, and the punchier turbocharged unit." -- Autotrader
  • "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 (2020)
  • "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 (2020)

MPG Estimates

The 2021 Renegade gets mediocre fuel economy for the class.

  • Four-cylinder, FWD: 22/30 mpg city/highway
  • Four-cylinder, 4WD: 21/29 mpg
  • Turbo-four, FWD: 24/32 mpg
  • Turbo-four, 4WD: 22/27 mpg

Handling and Braking

The Jeep Renegade isn’t particularly fun to drive, unlike some subcompact SUVs, but it does feel poised and stable around turns, and its ride quality is comfortable for everyday commutes. The brakes provide fine stopping power, and the steering is responsive. The Renegade shines off road, with the ability to tackle terrain that few other vehicles in this segment can.

  • "Despite being based on a car platform shared with the Fiat 500X, the Renegade offers a surprising amount of ground clearance to go with its short overhangs. These are enhanced considerably in the Trailhawk, which also gains simulated low-range gearing and enables off-roading capability that only the Subaru Crosstrek can approach." -- Autotrader
  • "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 (2020)
  • "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)
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2021 Jeep Renegade

MSRP: $22,830 - $28,680

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