Buying a Used Jeep Renegade: Here’s What You Should Know First

I’ll admit it. When the Jeep Renegade first came out, I was sold. A compact SUV from Jeep! How could I resist? But, in the end, I did. And you know what? I’m happy that I did, because as it turns out, the Jeep Renegade isn’t all that great. That’s why, if you’re in the market for a used SUV, it would probably be best to avoid the Jeep Renegade

Jeep Renegade Trailhawk on the trails
Jeep Renegade Trailhawk | Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times

The inside scoop on the Jeep Renegade

The Jeep Renegade was introduced in 2015. It offers plenty of traditional Jeep features and is recognized as the automaker’s first foray into the subcompact SUV segment. Driven by a 1.4-liter turbo engine or a 2.4-liter engine, most models come outfitted with a nine-speed automatic transmission, though a six-speed manual transmission is available too. 

Because the Jeep Renegade was introduced not too long ago, it has yet to undergo a significant redesign. However, 2018 models did benefit from the addition of a standard rearview camera and available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. In 2019, Jeep refreshed its exterior, made hands-free park assist and adaptive cruise control available, and discontinued its manual transmission. 

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

How the Jeep Renegade fared in crashworthiness tests

Safety features will vary by model. Especially when considering the Jeep Renegade didn’t come standard with a rearview camera until 2018. It hasn’t added many standard safety features since either. The 2020 model, however, is recognized by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) as a Top Safety Pick. Unfortunately, previous model years didn’t fare quite as well in the IIHS’ crashworthiness tests. 

This Jeep isn’t exactly reliable

There’s no beating around the bush here. This Jeep isn’t all that reliable. In fact, according to U.S. News & World Report, the Jeep Renegade boasts a rock-bottom predicted reliability rating. U.S. News & World Report isn’t the only one to think so either. According to Consumer Reports, several model years earned a one out of five reliability verdict. 

The most common complaints you should know about

According to CarComplaints.com, Renegade owners have plenty to complain about. However, it’s the 2015 Jeep Renegade that ranks as having the most complaints. CarComplaints.com reports that the most common complaints concerning the 2015 model included electrical problems, transmission problems, and problems with the SUV’s interior accessories. Many owners lodged complaints to do with the SUV’s engine and its brakes too. All in all, however, CarComplaints.com reports that the most common complaints involve the SUV’s check engine light, squealing brakes, and transmission issues.

There are better options out there

The Jeep Renegade doesn’t make for a great used SUV. It’s known for being unreliable and doesn’t fare very well in crashworthiness tests. Current owners of it don’t seem to like it either. According to Consumer Reports, when it comes to the 2018 model, only 22% of owners surveyed would buy it again. Not exactly what we would call a shining recommendation.

Fortunately, a used Jeep Renegade isn’t your only option. If you’re after a vehicle that’s capable of hitting the trails, consider a used Toyota 4Runner or a used Jeep Grand Cherokee. Of course, there’s always the Jeep Wrangler too. And if it’s a reliable SUV that you’re after? Consider a used Toyota RAV4. Don’t forget options like the Hyundai Kona or the Honda HR-V too.

RELATED: Best Alternatives to the Jeep Renegade If You Don’t Care About Off-Roading

If you have to have one, buy a certified pre-owned one

But if you really have to have a used Jeep Renegade? At least buy a certified pre-owned one. Then, at the very least, you’ll know that the vehicle went through a thorough multi-point inspection and reconditioning process, and is covered by a factory-backed 7-Year/100,000-Mile Powertrain Limited Warranty.