2018 Jeep Renegade

2018 Jeep Renegade Review

It's no baby Wrangler, but the Renegade offers better off-road performance than other small SUVs.
7.5 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Cameron Rogers
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

Think about any SUV TV commercial from two decades ago. Chances are it featured a blocky truck tearing through muddy puddles along a wooded trail while promising go-anywhere capability. However, most people don't traipse through underbrush on their way to work, and automakers have increasingly favored the on-road experience. But all is not lost for weekend adventurers. The 2018 Jeep Renegade proves you can have comfort and genuine off-road performance in a single, relatively affordable small SUV package.

The Renegade's off-road abilities make it unique in the rapidly growing subcompact SUV class, especially in Trailhawk guise. Its all-terrain tires, increased ride height and low-range four-wheel drive make it the gem in the lineup if you're ready to get a little dirty. Even the trims that aren't trail-rated — from the fire sale-priced Sport to the luxe Limited — can venture off the beaten path more comfortably than rivals.

But the Renegade isn't just for those looking to conquer the great outdoors. With the exception of the Trailhawk (its tires make the ride quite bumpy), the smallest Jeep is downright pleasurable to drive on the road. We think it's one of the standouts in the segment, whether you're keeping the tires on asphalt or trudging through mud.

Notably, we picked the 2018 Jeep Renegade as one of Edmunds' Best Small SUVs for this year.



What's new for 2018

The Jeep Renegade receives a handful of infotainment updates for 2018. A rearview camera, a 5-inch touchscreen and a six-speaker audio system are all now standard. New, upgraded 7- and 8.4-inch touchscreens now include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. All touchscreens are loaded with the newest version of Jeep's Uconnect infotainment system.

We recommend

While the low MSRPs of the Sport and Latitude are undeniably attractive, these are relatively lightly optioned cars. To get the full experience of what the Renegade has to offer, we suggest going with the Limited or Trailhawk trims. Overall, we recommend the Limited for its wealth of desirable features, including leather seating and cargo-friendly rear-seat configuration. More adventurous buyers will be best satisfied with the off-road-ready Trailhawk.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Jeep Renegade is a subcompact crossover with greater off-road abilities than any other vehicle in the class. It's sold in four trims: base Sport, the better-equipped Latitude, the trail-conquering Trailhawk and the luxurious Limited. Front-wheel drive is standard, and four-wheel drive is optional on all trims except the Trailhawk, which is the only model outfitted with 4WD with a low-range setting.

The entry-level Sport model is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine (160 horsepower, 184 pound-feet of torque) paired exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission. Standard equipment includes 16-inch steel wheels, manually adjustable mirrors, remote locking and unlocking, push-button ignition, power windows and locks, a rearview camera, a height-adjustable driver seat, a fold-flat front passenger seat, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, cloth upholstery, a removable cargo floor panel, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a driver information display, Bluetooth, a 5-inch touchscreen, and a six-speaker sound system with a USB port.

There are three primary features packages for the Renegade Sport. A Sport Appearance package adds alloy wheels, roof rails and privacy glass. The Power & Air Group package adds heated, power-adjustable outside mirrors, cruise control and air conditioning. Finally, the Uconnect 7.0 Group includes dual-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio, a 7-inch touchscreen, and smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The Latitude comes standard with those three packages, plus foglights, automatic headlights, body-colored door handles and mirrors, ambient LED lighting, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an additional USB port. The Altitude package adds black exterior styling elements, 18-inch wheels, upgraded cloth upholstery and vinyl door trim.

Optional for both models is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder (180 hp, 175 lb-ft) paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission.

The 2.4-liter engine comes standard on the Limited. The Limited also adds dual exhaust tips, automatic wipers, a windshield wiper de-icer, silver roof rails, keyless ignition and entry (with remote engine start), vinyl door trim, an upgraded driver information display, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, remote engine start, a 115-volt household-style power outlet, leather upholstery, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat (with four-way power lumbar), heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a leather-wrapped shift knob, and a 40/20/40-split folding rear seat with a center pass-through.

The off-road-themed Trailhawk builds off the Latitude's feature set, with the 2.4-liter engine, 17-inch wheels with all-terrain tires, four-wheel drive with low-range settings, hill descent control, a raised suspension, tow hooks, underbody skid plates, a full-size spare, unique exterior and interior accents, all-season floor mats and upgraded cloth upholstery. It also includes some of the Limited's upgrades, including automatic wipers, vinyl door trim, an upgraded driver information display, the 115-volt outlet and a leather-wrapped shift knob.

Many features on the upper trims are available on lower models in a variety of option packages. Other notable packages include the Safety & Security Group (Latitude and above; adds xenon headlights, automatic wipers, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert), Advanced Technology Group (Latitude and Limited only; adds automatic high-beam control, rear parking sensors, lane departure warning and mitigation, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking) and Uconnect 8.4 NAV Group (Latitude and above; adds a navigation system, an 8.4-inch touchscreen, HD radio and the contents of the Uconnect 7.0 package).

Manually removable My Sky sunroofs can be ordered on all Renegades. Except on the Sport model, the front sunroof can also be power-operated. You can also get a nine-speaker Beats premium audio system on Renegades except the Sport model. A tow package is also available for Latitude models and above, providing you opt for four-wheel drive.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2015 Jeep Renegade Latitude (2.4L inline-4 | 9-speed automatic | 4WD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Jeep Renegade has received some revisions, including the addition of a few features that were not originally available, such as 2017's xenon headlights and automatic high-beam control. The 7- and 8.4-inch displays are also new for 2018. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Jeep Renegade.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall7.5 / 10

Driving

7.0 / 10

Acceleration7.0 / 10
Braking9.0 / 10
Steering7.0 / 10
Handling7.0 / 10
Drivability6.0 / 10

Comfort

8.0 / 10

Seat comfort8.0 / 10
Ride comfort8.5 / 10
Noise & vibration6.5 / 10

Interior

7.5 / 10

Ease of use9.0 / 10
Getting in/getting out8.0 / 10
Roominess8.0 / 10
Visibility7.5 / 10
Quality7.0 / 10

Driving7.0

Though its 2.4-liter four-cylinder is more powerful than its competition, acceleration is merely average. Drivability is also suspect due to the transmission. But braking is excellent, handling is surprisingly nimble, and it's quite capable off-road.

Acceleration7.0

Acceleration from zero to 60 mph takes 9.4 seconds, which is average for this segment. In the real world, it feels a bit quicker due to the 2.4-liter's comparatively generous low-end power and quick response.

Braking9.0

Braking in the Renegade Latitude is excellent. It posted shorter than average distances in our emergency braking test, with subsequent stops showing no fade. The brake pedal has a short stroke with a medium-firm feel, which works well for normal driving.

Steering7.0

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.

Handling7.0

It's all about perspective. Most competitors are ultimately more composed and capable, but given the Renegade's off-road capability, it is impressive. The Latitude is certainly more engaging and sharper to drive than the off-road-oriented Renegade Trailhawk.

Drivability6.0

Aggressive driving can flummox the nine-speed transmission, which is also slow to downshift on the highway regardless of driving style. The transmission is clearly not the Renegade's strong suit, but it's probably not a deal-breaker either.

Off-road8.5

Turns out you don't need the Trailhawk trim, which Jeep deems Trail Rated, to venture off-road. The Latitude 4x4 still has ample ground clearance, 4WD Lock and Jeep's Selec-Terrain system. It tackled obstacles that rivals could not and kept going even with one wheel off the ground.

Comfort8.0

The comfortable front seats with a wide range of adjustments stand out in this segment, even if the back seat is merely adequate in terms of comfort and space. The Latitude trim has a relatively pillowy ride for the segment, though wind noise and engine noise are plentiful.

Seat comfort8.0

Cloth upholstery allows for a soft, enveloping seat that the optional leather can't match. There is excellent adjustment range from the optional eight-way power driver seat. Drivers between 5 feet and 6 feet 5 inches tall should fit. The rear seats are a bit flat, and the seatbacks don't recline.

Ride comfort8.5

The Latitude soaks up bumps far better than the Trailhawk trim and doesn't jossle you about. There's plenty of cushion to it, and this might be the plushest ride in a segment of mostly firm-riding entries. If anything, some might find it a tad floaty.

Noise & vibration6.5

Engine noises are largely kept in check. As a brick-shaped vehicle with big mirrors, wind noise is an issue. (The optional My Sky roof increases it further.) Levels of road and tire noise in the Latitude are acceptable. The Trailhawk is noticeably louder.

Interior7.5

For such a small car, the Renegade is impressively roomy inside. There's more than enough headroom for taller folks, though they might find issue with the limited legroom when sitting behind another tall passenger. The My Sky panels are more interesting in theory than execution.

Ease of use9.0

The Renegade's compact cabin ensures that everything up front is easy to reach, from the big, simple climate controls to the touchscreen and the 4WD terrain selector.

Getting in/getting out8.0

The not-too-high, not-too-low seat height should be spot-on for people who otherwise struggle to get into and out of cars. The rear doors are narrow but squared-off, minimizing the chances of bonking your head. They also open to nearly 90 degrees.

Roominess8.0

Excellent headroom for the segment. Ample seat adjustment provides superior front legroom. Backseat legroom is largely dependant on front-seat position, which is typical for the segment, but fitting a rear-facing child seat would be difficult.

Visibility7.5

The upright windshield provides a broad view ahead. Big mirrors and a rearview camera are appreciated while parking, as are the Renegade's overall square dimensions. Lane departure warning and blind-spot monitoring are optional.

Quality7.0

The Renegade offers average materials quality for a segment filled with mostly impressive cabins. Even hard plastics don't look especially cheap, while the soft-touch dash and solid switchgear make the cabin look and feel appropriate for its price.

Convertible top

The optional My Sky roof panels are two large, removable panels fit over the front and rear passenger areas. While neat in theory, they produce too much wind buffeting above 45 mph, and you have to store them in the cargo area when you remove them.

Utility5.0

It doesn't take much to fill up the tiny cargo area, and really, this could be the Renegade's biggest deal-breaker. Even the small underfloor storage area disappears when you get a full-size spare. If you plan a road trip and need the back seat, a roof-mounted box is a must.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.