When talking trucks and off-road vehicles, a four-letter word in the industry lately comes in the way of three letters: CUV, or Crossover Utility Vehicle. These are often SUV-looking vehicles that are built on car frames. This crossover of car and SUV gives the look of a beefier vehicle with the fuel economy and size of a car. While this seems great, many CUVs come off as uninspired vehicles that seem more like an afterthought than a planned “truck.”
This general feeling of malaise around the CUV segment didn’t stop Jeep from making their own new entry into the market and thankfully so. The Jeep Renegade has been touted as an amazing on and off-road vehicle that’s far more capable than just about every other CUV out there and now that it’s in the wild those claims are nothing short of true.
Another Compact Crossover?
I know what you’re thinking; who needs another compact crossover, right? The market has had their share and most have seen lackluster sales, which is the exact reason Jeep introduced the Renegade, which is built on the Fiat platform. This amazing little CUV was designed in the US and is being built in Italy. This means it’s receiving a high level of care in both the design and assembly process.
There’s a lot in this little package, making the Renegade possibly the best small utility vehicle since the Suzuki Samurai. For starters, there are a total of 16 powertrain combinations; including the 2.4-liter four-cylinder that’s good for 180 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque in a much-needed 4x4 layout.
There’s a removable ceiling, killer styling, and Easter eggs hiding all over the Renegade. In short, it’s pretty great. Interested yet? Here are all the details.
As mentioned above, the powertrain options on the new Renegade are nothing short of amazing. The 180-horsepower engine listed above comes with a nine-speed automatic transmission, but if a stick-shift is more your thing then you can go with the 1.4-liter MultiAir turbocharged setup that’s good for 160 HP and 184 lb-ft of torque. The six-speed transmission features short throws and a smooth shift that’s hard to find on anything other than a sporty hatchback.
Starting with the Sport edition, you can expect to get 16-inch steel wheels and a basic interior, but step up to the Trailhawk edition and you’ll get 17-inch aluminum wheels with aggressive tires, a much more stylized exterior, and a host of other features including red tow hooks, skid plates, a black accent roof, and roof rails.
Inside, the Trailhawk edition comes with leather embroidered seats and a red-accented interior that’s subtle yet sharp. The navigation information center screen is the focal point of the interior, topping of an expertly designed dash.
The Trailhawk edition also nets you the 4x4 system with a 20:1 crawl ratio and the Selec-Trac system that includes five different modes including Rock Mode.
Jeep wanted to make the Renegade special, so theyhid as many Easter eggs throughout the CUV as possible. There’s topo maps in the ocin tray and center console storage bin for starters. Moving outside you’ll find the original Jeep’s grille hidden in the headlight bulb support as well as stamped into the taillight lenses. The grille outline can even be seen in the speaker grills, too. Heck, they even put the grille in the sides of the rearview mirror assembly.
If you’re liking the love for the original Jeep, then you’ll want to check out the Willys Jeep painted on the Trailhawk wheels, too.
Finally, you should be able to find a few Yetis hiding in the Renegade, you just have to look around a little.
Overall, the Jeep Renegade is a pretty amazing little CUV, and starting at just over $17,000 makes it surprisingly affordable for what it’s capable of.