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The Renegade is Jeep’s entry into the subcompact SUV segment. It’s small and adorable like its rivals the Kia Soul, Fiat 500, and the Hyundai Kona. But it’s also tough like the Jeep Wrangler. It’s also become a bit safer.

The 2020 Jeep Renegade was recently awarded an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick designation. According to Fred Meier at, Jeep had to make some improvements in order for the SUV to win this award. The Renegade needed some adjustments to improve one of its crash test ratings.

How Jeep modified the Renegade to qualify for the safety award

In order for a vehicle to be considered for an IIHS Top Safety Pick, it must earn good ratings in the driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests. It also must receive a good or acceptable rating in the passenger-side small overlap front test, which IIHS made stricter in 2019. A superior or advanced rating for vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention and a good or acceptable headlight rating are also required.

Following a refresh in 2019, the 2020 Jeep Renegade had gotten good ratings for the moderate overlap front test, side crash tests, roof strength, and head restraint tests. It received an acceptable rating in the passenger-side small overlap front test.

The Renegade also earned a superior rating on its vehicle-to-vehicle crash prevention as an option only for the Sport, Latitude, and Limited trim levels. IIHS rated its headlights as acceptable only as higher-end options for the Latitude, Altitude, Limited, and High Altitude trim levels.

The driver-side small overlap test was where the Renegade fell short. This test duplicates what happens when a vehicle hits another vehicle or a stationary object such as a utility pole or a tree at 40 mph. To receive a good rating, Jeep had to improve the strength and design of the reinforced struts that surround the Renegade’s cabin.

It’s important to point out that IIHS’ Top Safety Pick applies only to Jeep Renegades that were built after September 2019. These Renegades must also have the LED headlights and frontal crash system with automatic braking, both of which are options.

Standard and optional safety features

Even though the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick award is limited to certain models with specific options, all Jeep Renegades have great standard safety features. Interior safety features include seven standard airbags, front-height adjust shoulder belts, front passenger seat belt alert, a center-rear three-point seat belt, LATCH child seat anchors.

All-speed traction control, electronic stability control, electronic roll mitigation, hill start assist, and trailer sway damping also come standard. It has four-wheel ABS, four-wheel disc brakes, electric parking brake, and advanced brake assist.

Other standard safety features are daytime running lights, a tachometer, and a tire pressure monitoring system. The Renegade also has a dual-note electric horn, headlight off time delay, and an outside temperature display. The sole advanced safety feature that is standard is a rearview backup camera.

Optional active-safety features include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-path detection, and lane departure warning with lane-keeping assist.

Additional optional features are forward collision warning with active braking, front and rear parking sensors, and parallel and perpendicular parking assists, and automatic high-beams. Buyers can also opt for LED headlights or a remote-start system.

The history of the Jeep Renegade

Before Jeep debuted the 2015 Renegade, its name referred to optional packages sold for the early 1990s Wrangler YJ and later on the early-to-mid 2000s Liberty. Referencing its seven-slot grille, round headlights, and upright stance, Jeep says that the Renegade is styled after the Wrangler

At five years old, the Renegade is a relatively new Jeep model. An IIHS accolade this early in its life is impressive. It also speaks to the effort Jeep is making to produce a safe yet sturdy subcompact SUV. We hope that Jeep continues to improve the Jeep Renegade so that all of its models can win an IIHS safety award.