People Are Losing Interest in the Jeep Renegade

The Jeep Renegade is relatively popular on the streets, but it’s not as famous as its larger siblings. This teeny Jeep gets points for its eccentric style and adventure-readiness. But at the same time, it looks like Renegade’s flaws are starting to reduce its fan club.

What does the 2020 jeep Renegade do well?

Man camping on mountain top with the off-roading Jeep Renegade
2020 Jeep Renegade | Jeep

Especially compared to a few of its competitors, the Renegade didn’t get as much love from respected critics. Still, there are few reasons to recognize this model. For starters, the Renegade boasts many of Jeep’s greatest attributes. 

The Renegade is appropriate for city streets and challenging off-road excursions. Of course, the experience this subcompact SUV provides depends on how you customize it. The Renegade’s standard engine is a 180-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder. This four-cylinder is OK for everyday driving and decent for fuel-efficiency. There’s a more powerful, turbocharged 177-hp, 1.3-liter four-cylinder that’s quicker. A nine-speed automatic is standard no matter which engine you pick.

The Renegade’s entry-level Sport trim is pretty bare bones. Some critics recommend at least going up to the Latitude trim, which adds a 7-inch touchscreen (replacing the 5-inch one), Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto as Car and Driver highlights. If you’re in the place to splurge, you might be interested in the top-tier Trailhawk trim. Trailhawk models are best-suited for off-roading excursions and have a removable roof option. 

What’s wrong with the Jeep Renegade?

A 2020 Jeep Renegade navigating  through water
2020 Jeep Renegade in action | Jeep

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A few flaws make the Renegade a less attractive option. Respected critics haven’t been too impressed with the 2020 model, and the same story goes with the new 2021 Renegade. Various reviewers have criticized the Renegade for its pokey engine that often feels underpowered. It has a 0-60 mph rating of 8.7 seconds, which is only average for the class. The ride can also feel overly stiff. 

“It doesn’t take long, though, for the Renegade’s charms to wear thin. For starters, handling proves cumbersome, the ride is choppy, front seats are uncomfortable, and the view out is restricted. What’s more, that fancy nine-speed automatic doesn’t quite have its gear-juggling act together. It’s reluctant to downshift, leaving the 2.4-liter, 180-hp four-cylinder engine feeling underpowered and sounding raspy. At idle, this engine quivers more like a spawning grunion, sending its vibrations through the steering wheel and into the seats.”

Consumer Reports (2020)

Another bummer is the Renegade’s lack of power doesn’t translate into better fuel economy. Rivals like the Honda HR-V  are more remarkable in this area. Additionally, the Renegade’s lack of standard tech features makes it less desirable. 

Reliability isn’t on the Renegade’s side either 

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

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The Renegade is toward the bottom in many class rankings. And its sales figures are starting to reflect the reasons why. According to data from GoodCarBadCar, sales units for the Renegade fell by over 20 percent in 2019. By the end of Q3 2020, its sales were down by around 10 percent compared to the same time last year. 

Drivers might also be steering away from the Renegade because of its below-average reliability score. Consumer Reports gave the 2021 Renegade its lowest possible score for predicted reliability and considers the Renegade as the least reliable Jeep. CR gave the 2021 model a 19 out of 100 for dependability. You’ll want to shop for more tech-focused and dependable options like the Hyundai Kona.