Trucks & SUVs

2020 Subaru Crosstrek vs. Jeep Renegade Trailhawk: The Better Choice Is Clear

Sometimes, when you square up two vehicles in a head-to-head comparison, all you’re left with is a really tough buying decision. But when it comes down to considering a 2020 Subaru Crosstrek versus the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk, the choice for many is far more obvious.

There is clearly one victor in this face-off of crossovers. And according to Kelley Blue Book, as well as a few other critics, there’s only room for one of these SUVs in your garage.

Standard features as an apples-to-apples comparison

When comparing these two small SUVs, it’s best to start at the bottom. Standard equipment for the 2020 Subaru Crosstrek is robust and includes a range of extras, like rearview camera, Bluetooth phone, smartphone integration, great audio streaming capability, auto climate control, all-wheel drive with torque vectoring, knee airbags for the drivers, and a sizable 6.5-inch touch screen. If you need more and plushier features, you can find your ideal combination at the Premium or Limited trim levels.

The Jeep Renegade Trailhawk is no slouch in terms of extras either and comes ready for off-road, with four-wheel drive, tow hooks, skid plates, and a raised suspension. But many of the basic features, including some of the plushier perks, you won’t find here unless you pay extra for it.

The Renegade Trailhawk didn’t perform as well in crash tests either and fell short, compared to the Crosstrek in a few key safety areas, too. At first glance, just looking at standard rosters of equipment for both, it seems the Subaru Crosstrek has more to offer.

Plenty of buzz around the 2020 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk

A Jeep Renegade Trailhawk drives down a dirt road
A Jeep Renegade Trailhawk driving down a dirt road | Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

In all fairness, the Jeep has plenty to get excited about, and with the Renegade Trailhawk, you can expect serious off-pavement chops. According to Car and Driver, this SUV is fun and brings a youthful style to the class.

In terms of personality and for those who seek adventures, the 2020 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk won’t disappoint. To some, it’s even ranked as the best in class for capability.

What the 2020 Subaru Crosstrek does better

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Not everyone recommends the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk. Some critics point out setbacks like limited cargo, slow transmission response, and unimpressive fuel economy. The 2020 Subaru Crosstrek does each of these areas better and has far better safety ratings.

Kelley Blue Book listed one of its favorite Subaru Crosstrek features as the X-Mode with hill descent control. This futuristic capability allows the driver to push the X-Mode button when climbing a steep or slippery hill. The mechanism engages and handles easing descent automatically, allowing drivers to concentrate only on steering.

Value when it comes to MSRP

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For many consumers, it boils down to price and value. Of course, the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk is perfect for adventures off the beaten path. But those beefy capability features come with a price tag. Window stickers for this smaller SUV will be nearly $28,000.

In comparison, the Subaru Crosstrek, with more standard features ideal for everyday use, starts at $22,145 according to Edmunds. The 2019 Crosstrek won Kelley Blue Book’s Best Resale Value Compact/SUV award, too.

This means while you might compromise in some of the off-road extras the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk provides, you will find better value with the 2020 Subaru Crosstrek instead.

If you have narrowed down your compact SUV selection to the Subaru Crosstrek and the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk, the best choice is clear, at least for the critics.

Ultimately, only you can decide how you plan to use your new crossover and what extras you’ll need. But you may agree with everyone else and decide that in this head to head comparison, the Subaru Crosstrek is the best buy.