There are tons of options in the subcompact SUV market and that’s definitely not a bad thing. We say the more the merrier when it comes to this growing marker. But when it comes to subcompact SUVs with off-roading capability, there aren’t as many options. One stand out model is this realm is the 2020 Jeep Renegade, but you should also seriously consider the 2020 Subaru Crosstrek as a subcompact SUV that can go off-roading.
Performance and capability
OK so performance-wise, the off-roading capability is basically the main selling point on both the Renegade and the Crosstrek. The Renegade is pretty exceptional when it comes to off-roading and the Crosstrek is decent. Aside from being able to go off-road, the powertrains on these SUVs leave much to be desired.
The Renegade comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes a 180-horsepower. This engine works just fine but it’s slow to accelerate. For faster acceleration, you can go for the available 1.3-liter four-cylinder with a 177-hp. No matter which engine option you choose on the Renegade, its fuel economy rating is below the class average with a combined 24 mpg.
With the Crosstrek, you get a smooth, capable ride that also has a decent fuel economy with a combined 29 mpg. Although, there is only engine option on the Crosstrek and that’s a 152-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. It’s not very powerful and also takes a while to accelerate. On a more positive note, the Crosstrek handles bumps in the road with ease and all-wheel-drive is standard.
On the inside
The Crosstrek offers a more upscale feeling cabin compared to the Renegade. Plus, the Crosstrek provides great driver visibility and plenty of head- and legroom. The Renegade feels pretty comfortable on the inside too but the passengers in the rear may feel a tad cramped.
As far as in-car electronics go, the Crosstrek wins out here. The Crosstrek has a very user-friendly infotainment system that comes standard with a 6.5-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. On the other hand, the most notable standard infotainment features on the Renegade are a 5-inch touchscreen and Bluetooth connection.
The Renegade has good crash-test safety scores but the Crosstrek has superior scores from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. To prevent car crashes altogether, both the Renegade and Crosstrek are available with advanced safety features such as forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control. What sets the Crosstrek apart though is that a rear-seat reminder comes standard.
Since it was first introduced in 2015, the Renegade’s reliability scores have been pretty terrible each model year. Owner satisfaction ratings are terrible too according to Consumer Reports. Also according to CR, the Crosstrek has higher predicted reliability scores and good owner satisfaction scores.
The final verdict
If you are looking for a well-rounded subcompact that is versatile enough for the occasional off-roading adventure, the Crosstrek fits the bill. The Renegade is one-track minded and its low-reliability ratings make it less appealing.