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See all of the long-term updates on this vehicle.
What We Got
The Jeep Renegade was all-new for 2015, and it entered the rapidly expanding compact crossover utility segment. We wanted to know if this Jeep could compete with more mainstream vehicles and remain true to its off-road heritage. With that in mind, we set our sights on a 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4x4, the most rugged version available.
In Trailhawk form, our Renegade had standard four-wheel drive with a nine-speed automatic transmission and a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. Also included were foglamps, skid plates, hill descent control, a 20:1 crawl ratio, knobby 17-inch tires, a slight lift, and modified front and rear bumper fascias. Inside it had a leather-wrapped steering wheel, backup camera, tinted glass and Uconnect infotainment system with a 5-inch touchscreen.
The Jeep we purchased added a black hood decal ($150), remote start ($200), keyless entry and ignition ($295), upgraded speakers ($495), the Safety and Security Group I ($595) with blind-spot and cross-traffic warnings, Uconnect upgrade ($1,245) and the Premium Leather Group ($95). The final sticker price was $31,495 on our 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk, but we were able to negotiate a price of $29,577. It was about as loaded as a Renegade gets, so we expected quite a bit from this tiny Jeep. Here's what we found:
"Reasonable ground clearance and those remarkably stubby overhangs kept its nose and underside from getting hung up on anything. And its knobby tires and four-wheel-drive system with multiple terrain settings kept the party going when the uneven surface set it teetering on three wheels." — Dan Edmunds
"The nine-speed transmission is slow-witted and has inconsistent gear-change speed. This combination makes for a rather unlikable gearbox. There are technical reasons among its inner workings that are responsible, but for brevity let's just say that both its hardware and calibration share the blame." — Jason Kavanagh
"Aside from a heavy snowstorm on Day Three, almost all of the miles on the trip were highway miles. Depending on conditions and limits, speeds were kept between 65 and 80 mph. The Jeep was great at cruising on the highway, but with such a small gas tank and disappointing fuel economy, there were way too many stops." — Travis Langness
"For reference, though, I'll point out a few highway-heavy tanks: 25.9, 26.2, 25.5, 26.1, 27.5 and 26.1. That seems to be the typical mpg our Renegade gets while driving on California highways. ... We've also not yet beat our current 29.9 mpg record set by Travis on his drive to Detroit back in January." — Brent Romans
"Eight-way adjustability helps, yet these seats also have firm cushions and an excellent shape. I've put in some decent time behind the wheel and have yet to get restless legs or a numb backside. There's also plenty of adjustability for my 6-foot-2 frame. ... Combined with the tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, the Renegade's power driver's seat makes it easy to find a comfortable driving position." — Ed Hellwig
"After 1,000 miles in a tiny, four-cylinder Jeep, I only stopped because I couldn't mentally deal with another fuel stop. The Jeep's exceptional seating position and seats, great visibility and relative quietness kept me happy for hours. If the Renegade had a tolerable-size fuel tank, I'd have made Denver easy." — Mike Magrath
"We had a 9'2" longboard, her shortboard, a boogie board, a big tub for rinsing off salt and sand, a big gasoline jug full of water (since California turned off the showers at its state beaches), wetsuits, backpacks with towels and dry clothes, a couple of small folding chairs and a skateboard and Razor scooter. ... We packed all the gear and still had room." — Dan Frio
"I've never been fond of stacking to the brim since it blocks rear visibility and places potentially loose items right behind your rear occupants' heads. But sometimes you've just got to do it. And to the Renegade's credit, its boxy shape allowed me to make the most of that space." — Brent Romans
"The side air vents, gear selector surround and cupholders all have this attractive red treatment. It has the look of a semi-gloss anodized aluminum. I know it's only painted plastic, but man, does it liven up the interior. Thankfully, these treatments aren't on elements that are frequently touched, so you get to keep believing they're not just plastic." — Mark Takahashi
"I appreciate this little crossover's spacious cabin. ... I'm 6 feet, 4 inches, and there are several inches between the top of my head and the headliner. There's also enough legroom for me to sit comfortably in the driver seat. But most unusual is the ability to sit behind myself, a feat not often achieved in a vehicle with the Renegade's dimensions." — Cameron Rogers
Audio and Technology
"The findings back up what I suspected. While most cars resume [Bluetooth] playback quickly, the Renegade took three times as long as the group average. ... Of course, this is not an exact science, but a rough approximation of a mild annoyance." — Carlos Lago
"As Southern California morning temps plummet into the low 50s, seat heater utilization in the Edmunds editorial office skyrockets about 650 percent. Ed Hellwig was first to call out our Renegade's generous offerings in heat conduction. Toasty palms on a brisk morning drive are one of life's underrated luxuries." — Jonathan Elfalan
"Put four N's or four P's on the same car and the net conicity across a given axle will be near zero as the left and right sides cancel each other out. ... All I know is the cross rotation helped and the squared-up alignment did the rest. The pull has subsided, and our Renegade's steering wheel is centered when it's going straight ahead." — Dan Edmunds
"We waited longer than anticipated for parts. The muffler, specifically. Supply was limited for the all-new Renegade, and it added three business days to our wait. Then we ran into the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. By the time we slid back behind the wheel, our Jeep had been out of service for 14 days." — Mike Schmidt
"Some of the other things that make [the Renegade] perfect for him, as a newish driver:
It moves, but it's far from fast. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine does just fine in getting the 3,500 pounds up to speed, but there's no chance whatsoever he'd ever be tempted to race somebody in it. None." — Matt Jones
"I call it the Renegade Rumble, a low-level grumbling sound that comes from down low behind the driver's seat under the back of the vehicle somewhere. It's not terribly loud, but the low frequency nature of the thing hovers on the edge of being an outright vibration." — Dan Edmunds
Maintenance & Repairs
The Renegade requested routine maintenance at 10,000-mile intervals.
We opted for an early service at around 7,500 miles in preparation for a cross-country road trip, which set us back $145. At roughly 15,000 miles we took the Jeep in for an unscheduled visit to address a short list of concerns, including the Renegade Rumble. This lasted three days and, overall, was a bit of a fiasco. A planned dealer stop near 20,000 miles cost $97 and was the last before our test concluded.
A few open recalls were issued during our test. One replaced the wheel stud wrench because the stock tool was cast of material deemed too brittle. A second covered replacement of both front brake rotors and pads. And a third hoped to remedy erratic shift patterns. The process involved reflashes to the numerous systems, but it did nothing to solve our problem.
Fuel Economy and Resale Value
Observed Fuel Economy:
EPA estimates prepared us for 24 mpg (21 city/29 highway) and a total range of 305 miles. In reality we averaged just 22.0 mpg. Our best single tank was 29.9 mpg and our best range 361.9 miles. But on average, we went 250 miles per tank and broke past the 300-mile barrier on just four occasions.
Resale and Depreciation:
We purchased our 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk for $29,577 just over one year ago. After 27,760 miles it was time to sell. Edmunds TMV Calculator valued our Jeep at $19,829 based on a private-party sale. So when CarMax offered us $19,500 we accepted. We'd have easily spent the difference in advertising and time in order to sell the car to a private buyer. The sales price reflected a mediocre 34 percent depreciation.
Comfortable driver and front passenger seats; boxy design gives the interior a very spacious feel; more cargo space than you expect from a vehicle this small; can deliver its EPA mileage estimates if you're careful; legitimate off-road capability that is far superior to that of others in its segment.
Inconsistent performance from the nine-speed automatic transmission; strange rumbling sound from underneath the vehicle that could not be fixed; small fuel tank limits the range on long trips.
If you want a small utility vehicle with a unique look and better than average off-road ability, the Jeep Renegade tops everything else in the class. When it comes to refinement, efficiency and a trouble-free ownership experience, the Renegade sits closer to the middle of its peers.
|Total Body Repair Costs:||$1,614.02|
|Total Routine Maintenance Costs:||$292.71 (over 15 months)|
|Additional Maintenance Costs:||None|
|Warranty Repairs:||Replace wheel stud wrench, replace front brake rotors and pads, reflashes for various vehicle systems.|
|Scheduled Dealer Visits:||2|
|Unscheduled Dealer Visits:||3|
|Days Out of Service:||17|
|Breakdowns Stranding Driver:||None|
|Best Fuel Economy:||29.9 mpg|
|Worst Fuel Economy:||15.2 mpg|
|Average Fuel Economy:||22.0 mpg|
|True Market Value at service end:||$19,829 (private-party sale)|
|What it Sold for:||$19,500|
|Depreciation:||$10,077 (34% of paid price)|
|Final Odometer Reading:||27,760 miles|
Edmunds purchased this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.