2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk vs CPO Jeep Grand Cherokee
by James Riswick, New & Used Car Editor on February 19, 2016
"Hey Josh," I ask, peering over my computer screen and desk partition to Senior Editor Josh Sadlier.
"Yes, sir," he responds, his bearded face eagerly anticipating whatever fascinating query I'm about to throw his way.
"For $30,000, would you rather have our 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk," I begin, making sure to say the car's complete year/make/model/trim name in order to properly hyperlink when later describing the scenario. "Or a used Jeep Grand Cherokee?"
"Grand Cherokee," he responds reflexively, as if option number two was going to be the choice regardless of what it was. "CPO?"
"Oh, then yeah, no question at all."
Indeed, you can buy a used, certified pre-owned Jeep Grand Cherokee for around the same price as our new Renegade. A quick search revealed plenty of JGC's from 2012 to even 2015, with mileage around 25,000 to 40,000 miles and trim levels ranging from simple Laredo to high-zoot Overland. I stuck with 4WD models because it's a Jeep, which should be reason enough.
For that, you get a vehicle that is superior in virtually every way to the little Renegade apart from fuel economy and parking ease. Now, I actually like said little Renegade, but when perched in its driver's seat, I find myself looking longingly at every JGC that drives by. The power, the refinement, the looks, the capability — I could go on. Plus, if you get one from 2013 or later, chances are you can get the same tech and comfort features that jack the price up on our top-dollar Renegade.
Now, Grand Cherokees don't have the best reliability ratings. It improved massively after the current generation's first year on the market (2011), but engine and particularly transmission problems are common. Then again, the alternative here is another Jeep. Built by Fiat. In Italy.
Either way, getting a CPO Grand Cherokee seems especially important. Chrysler Group's CPO program includes a 7-year/100,000 powertrain warranty from the original date of purchase along with a 3-month/3,000-mile bumper-to-bumper plan tacked onto the remaining 3-year/36,000-mile coverage or by itself.
Truth be told, that's one of the least desirable programs (here are the best ones!) and is obviously not as good as what's offered by a new Jeep. But hey, it's better than nothing and probably better than living with the Renegade's regrettable powertrain every day.
So would I get a CPO Grand Cherokee instead of a new Renegade? Yes I would.
James Riswick, Used Car Editor @ 15,823 miles