Introduced in 2015, the Jeep Renegade looks to capitalize on the legendary Jeep brand of off-road capable vehicles. Smaller than a Jeep Cherokee but larger than a Jeep Wrangler, the Renegade aims to fill that gap in an attempt to capture buyers that cannot decide between the two. Unfortunately, Jeep’s troubles have followed the Renegade as well.
In fact, Consumer Reports has not only placed the Jeep Renegade on its list of 10 Least Satisfying Cars, but it also ranked at the bottom of the list with a score of 48. The Renegade also continues to rank poorly in annual Consumer Reports product reviews for reliability and owner satisfaction.
The Jeep Renegade’s performance
Jeep Renegade owners are certainly not going to win many drag races with a 0-to-60-mph time coming in at 9.9 seconds and transmission performance rated a three out of five. Fuel economy and emergency handling are also rated at three out of five. The Renegade’s brakes are the only performance metric that managed to score above average at four out of five.
Off-road trail running is the only area that Jeep Renegade has the possibility to upstage its competitors. Dressed in the Trailhawk trim, complete with skid plates, lifted ride height, simulated gear reduction, and other traction enhancements create a vehicle that is unexpectedly agile for what is essentially a car disguised as an off-road vehicle.
Consumer Reports has given the Renegade their “worst” rating three of the four years they’ve reported on it, and there was not enough data for the 2019 year model to be statistically accurate. Major and minor engine and cooling system problems including complete engine rebuilds, cylinder head overhauls, head gasket leaks, and radiator repairs top the list of issues.
The Jeep Renegade scores 36 percent on Consumer Reports‘ reliability scale. For comparison’s sake, only the Cadillac XT4 scores lower at 9 percent, and the Lexus UX tops the list by scoring 96 percent, according to the linked chart.
Comfort and convenience
The Jeep Renegade scores low in the comfort and convenience category as well. Above-average ratings for front-seat access and usability are quickly overcome by lower ratings in every other category. Ride and trunk/cargo area ratings are the biggest drawback on the overall rating.
It isn’t a surprise that engineers designing a vehicle aimed at capturing off-road enthusiasts’ dollars did not put a lot of consideration in the comfort or convenience categories. Common complaints include a stiff ride, excessive wind noise, road rumble, and an annoying engine vibration at idle while in drive.
A touchy braking system detracts from comfortable travel as well. While these conditions are somewhat expected in an off-road vehicle, other design issues could have been addressed prior to production.
Large doorposts and passenger compartment pillars create dangerous blind spots. Seats that are comfortable on long trips may be too much to ask of a vehicle in this class, but it seems that Jeep Renegade engineers didn’t even try at all. Low seating position, hard seat cushions that extend forward so far as to touch the backs of shorter people’s calves all make even the shortest trips uncomfortable.
In the Trailhawk trim, you’ll get a full-sized spare tire, but all others come with a tire service kit consisting of tire sealant and a 12-volt air compressor unless you opt for the optional full-sized temporary use spare tire.
Consumer Reports predicts owner satisfaction at the bottom of their scale, and less than half of current Renegade owners surveyed would buy one again. Taking these facts and all the problems reported with the Jeep Renegade line into consideration, in general, we would strongly suggest avoiding the Renegade altogether just to be on the safe side.