The Jeep brand keeps turning out more and more SUVs that the American people are happy to buy. Proving to be the off-roading kings, Jeep is determined to conquer every SUV segment. Enter the 2021 Jeep Renegade; the smallest of Jeep’s SUVs. Although many are excited to see a pint-size Jeep enter the subcompact SUV segment, there’s one big reason people may not buy it. And it’s not what you think.
The 2021 Jeep Renegade’s biggest downfall
Although Kelley Blue Book experts state that the 2021 Jeep Renegade is one of the most affordable new Jeeps in the lineup, that doesn’t mean its price should be placed in the “pros” column. When compared to other Jeeps, especially popular giants like the Wrangler, the Jeep Renegade is certainly affordable.
But as the smallest Jeep, the Renegade falls into one of the most competitive classes on the market: the subcompact SUV segment. And when stacked against the competition, its price may be the worst thing about it.
How its price stacks up against the competition
The same KBB experts say that the 2021 Jeep Renegade comes with an average starting price of more than $24,000. And it’s one of the cheapest Jeeps you can buy. But that starting price gets you the most barebones Renegade possible, and if you want all the bells and whistles, new owners could easily pay more than $35,000. Again, this isn’t nearly as pricey as many other top-trim Jeeps, but in the world of the subcompact SUV, it could be considered expensive. And many subcompact SUV shoppers are searching for efficiency and value.
KBB experts say that even with plenty of options and equipment, competitors like the Kia Soul and Nissan Kicks are significantly cheaper. Even more expensive rivals like Toyota C-HR and Hyundai Kona are “appreciably less expensive.”
The 2021 Jeep Renegade’s starting price is not only higher than others, but it also provides fewer features for the price. What’s worse is that the “Jeep Renegade’s resale value is expected to be below average.”
What the 2021 Jeep Renegade’s price gets you
The biggest struggle the Jeep Renegade appears to have is its identity. According to Car and Driver, the 2021 Jeep Renegade “is more capable off-road and offers its own unique features” that set it apart from other subcompact SUVs. And as its name implies, the Renegade “rejects the conventional traits of other subcompact crossovers.”
But many buyers interested in subcompact SUVs aren’t prioritizing its off-road capability, but rather its price, fuel-efficiency, and comfort. And shoppers looking for an off-road giant have plenty of better (and larger) options. Unfortunately for the Renegade, it is capable, but “isn’t as fuel-efficient or refined as its rivals.”
But for the small niche of shoppers who value off-roading fun in a smaller package, the Jeep Renegade “can tackle serious off-road challenges,” with “adorable-meets-adventurous styling.” Base 2021 Jeep Renegades (the Sport trim) feature a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine making 180 hp, while higher trims receive a turbocharged 1.3-liter four-cylinder that makes 177 hp.
Fuel efficiency for base engines is estimated at up 30 MPG on the highway, while the turbocharged engine earns up to 24 MPG in the city and 32 MPG on the highway. All powertrains come paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and optional four-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive variants of the Renegade have the capability to tow up to 2,000 lbs.
The 2021 Jeep Renegade is easy to drive and maneuver, with cool added features like a folding front passenger seat, short overhangs for rock climbing, and military-esque accents. Standard features in base Renegades include dual-zone automatic climate control, heated side mirrors, a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen, and more safety features like automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-keeping assist.