2017 Jeep Renegade Altitude new car reviews

If you want to be a new Jeep owner, the Renegade is the most attainable model. Jeep's least expensive model can be purchased for $17,995. However, our test vehicle was an optioned-out example of the Altitude trim, which meant the sticker price ballooned up to $32,195.

That meant we were getting the bigger 2.4-liter engine and all the convenience and safety options you'll usually find in a modern crossover.

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David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

The Renegade and I had the following conversation:

“You’re a Fiat.”

“No I’m not, look at my seven slot grille.”

“You’re a Fiat.”

“No I’m not, look at all of these clever Jeep icons. I got Jeep logos and stuff on my headlights, my taillights, my speaker surrounds. I even have a Jeep hiding on my windshield. Plus right there in the center of the dash is my bonafides: ‘since 1941.’”

“You’re a Fiat.”

“Did mention the Sasquatch hiding on my rear window? Jeep people love Sasquatch.”

“Okay, fine, you’re a Jeep.”

The Renegade is a close cousin of the Fiat 500X but has been fitted with Jeep-like styling, Jeep-like knobby tires and a burly Jeep-like interior. I don’t see people cross-shopping this against a Wrangler, but I can see where it gives the brand an entry-level offering. Want to send the kids to school in a new vehicle that bears the Jeep name? Step right up.

First impressions: It looks like a Jeep. Kinda.

Second impressions: Fairly roomy cockpit. The back seat is ample.

According to the paperwork, our car had the nine-speed automatic transmission. A few of those gears must be hiding. I would have sworn that this had an old-school, four-speed automatic–harsh shifts and much reluctance to kick down a gear.

There’s a fair bit of wind and road noise, too. Fuel economy is only in the mid-20s.

And the price for all of this? Our fairly loaded example–4x4, MySky giant sunroofs and a host of options–stickered at $32,195. That seems a bit steep to me, and I’m going to guess that most consumers go with the FWD model and spend less. The base car starts at $17,995 and comes with a 1.4-liter turbo engine–something you have probably seen before inside a certain little Italian car.

Tom Suddard Tom Suddard
Digital Experience Director

I wanted to like the Renegade. I really did—heck, when they came out, I even found myself test-driving one at the local dealer, convinced I’d found my next daily driver.

But it’s just, so… average. I think it looks cool, and I like the idea of it–a small SUV-ish vehicle with just enough four-wheel-drive to make it to my parent’s cabin, but not enough to tank fuel milage. But it drives like, well, I honestly don’t remember, and I just drove it a few days ago. It’s boring, and that cool, boxy shape doesn’t seem to have translated to interior space. One magazine called its larger brother, the Cherokee, a “reverse Tardis,” referring to the larger-on-the-inside-than-outside phone booth that Dr. Who flies around the universe. I’d go a step further and say the Renegade is like a reverse Tardis on a diet, and I filled the little Jeep from floor to ceiling with a small magazine booth, even stacking magazines on the front seat. It’s just not that big, despite the exterior being larger than it looks in photos.

Don’t get me wrong—I still think the Renegade looks cool. I think it’s awesome that you can buy a turbocharged, manual-transmission four-wheel-drive Jeep for $20k, though our test car was optioned up with the “big” 2.4-liter engine and an automatic, ramping the total up above $32,000. Also cool: Our Renegade had removable roof panels, meaning you could get a Wrangler-esque feel if you were willing to read instructions, find the panel unlock key, and tessellate them into their storage cubby in the trunk. I did do all that, then remembered this is Florida, and one doesn’t drive without A/C in August.

Overall, the Renegade is cool. And I still have a soft spot for it. But it’s not as cool as I think it should be, and it’s not for me.

Ed Higginbotham Ed Higginbotham
Associate Editor

Okay, to start: It's cool that you can get a Jeep for less than $20,000.

But our $32,000 Renegade seemed hard pressed to prove its worth. The removable roof panels were a cool touch, and the navigation and infotainment unit was good. But it just didn't do it for me.

I think if I were looking at the stripped-down version for $17,995, my tune might change a little.

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Comments

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MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt PowerDork
9/1/17 2:39 p.m.

So, were you able to get any "altitude" under hard braking?

Driven5
Driven5 Dork
9/1/17 2:43 p.m.

Altitude?...As in: You'd have to be 'high' to buy one?

Nick (Bo) Comstock
Nick (Bo) Comstock MegaDork
9/1/17 2:54 p.m.

In reply to Driven5:

It's a Jeep thing, you wouldn't understand.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/1/17 3:13 p.m.
Driven5 wrote: Altitude?...As in: You'd have to be 'high' to buy one?

Funny (maybe) I see these things all over the place.

Driven5
Driven5 Dork
9/1/17 3:19 p.m.

In reply to Nick (Bo) Comstock:

I heard getting that 'Jeep thing' makes it burn when you pee, and the Renegade just means you're already sitting down when it happens.

TIGMOTORSPORTS
TIGMOTORSPORTS Dork
9/1/17 4:57 p.m.

The removable roof panels are a must. It took a while for them to be released. My wife likes the bright blue and green colors.

I like the looks for a small SUV.

Since I would not go off road with a new one, I'm OK we bought an AWD Juke but my wife would be happier with the Jeep.

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed SuperDork
9/1/17 8:06 p.m.

So the sticker is $32K? I really don't think anybody pays retail for a Chrysler product. With incentives and rebates....... should be a few thousand off. Heck, you will probably be able to lease it for $179 a month with no money down. I have a friend who's leasing a $57K Dodge Ram for $279 a month with nothing down. Unemployed, bankrupt? Chrysler will finance you. You just have to have a pulse and you are golden. Seriously I don't know how Chrysler/Fiat does it. They can't possibly be making any money on some of their sales/Leases. Anything to move metal.

RealMiniParker
RealMiniParker UberDork
9/2/17 9:52 a.m.
MadScientistMatt wrote: So, were you able to get any "altitude" under hard braking?
Driven5 wrote: Altitude?...As in: You'd have to be 'high' to buy one?

Like this

captdownshift
captdownshift PowerDork
9/2/17 10:27 a.m.

People who hate on the Renegade don't understand that it's more Kia Soul! and Scion xB than Jeep. With the removal roof panels, it gives the open air jeep feel, but buttons up to be an actual car.

Also, if you need a traditional Jeep to do offroad things, you're doing it wrong.

dxman92
dxman92 Reader
9/2/17 10:37 a.m.

I wanted to like these since you can get a manual transmission with 4wd but they are just too small fo me and kinda goofy looking...

Mike
Mike SuperDork
9/2/17 10:56 a.m.

At the bottom of the price range, this is pretty compelling. IIRC, the Renegade can do AWD around $20. Great. That's where the Renegade should be playing.

$32k has me shopping the Mercedes GLA-based Infiniti QX30. Base FWD is $30. Luxury FWD $32,600. Luxury AWD is $34,400.

iceracer
iceracer UltimaDork
9/2/17 11:32 a.m.

The Renegade is on the low cost to insure list. Along with most Jeep vehicles.

DrBoost
DrBoost MegaDork
9/2/17 11:56 a.m.

That ain't a Jeep.

DrBoost
DrBoost MegaDork
9/2/17 11:56 a.m.
captdownshift wrote: Also, if you need a traditional Jeep to do offroad things, you're doing it wrong.

No, you're doing it right. See my avatar.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
9/2/17 12:25 p.m.

Wonder if you can get the big engine, AWD, manual, and zero other options?

mblommel
mblommel HalfDork
9/2/17 1:14 p.m.

In reply to Appleseed:

I'd just buy a base wrangler for $27k instead.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
9/2/17 1:54 p.m.

In all honesty, I'd buy the cheapest running Miata and throw Paco's Off-Roadster kit at it.

EastCoastMojo
EastCoastMojo Mod Squad
9/2/17 3:23 p.m.

I like the looks of the Renegade, but for that money I'll stick with my 20 yr old 4 runner.

Mike
Mike SuperDork
9/2/17 7:23 p.m.

I've just gone down a Jeep rabbit hole. I love the Jeep Wrangler Chief edition. Intellectually, I know they don't depreciate like a normal vehicle, but I wasn't prepared for the used listings for post-2012 Pentastar trucks, and how they compare to just buying new.

fornetti14
fornetti14 Dork
9/2/17 8:29 p.m.

$31.5 out the door bought me a Wrangler JK Blackbear edition.
I wanted one for 20 years and there was no substitute.

The Renegade will have it's own following and is probably better to live with than a Wrangler if you put a bunch of miles on it every month.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
9/2/17 8:53 p.m.
Appleseed wrote: Wonder if you can get the big engine, AWD, manual, and zero other options?

Unfortunately not. Small engine is manual only, big engine is automatic only.

IIRC, the small turbo engine makes the same torque but a tad less horsepower, so it's the better buy in my opinion.

Ransom
Ransom PowerDork
9/2/17 9:47 p.m.
RealMiniParker wrote:
MadScientistMatt wrote: So, were you able to get any "altitude" under hard braking?
Driven5 wrote: Altitude?...As in: You'd have to be 'high' to buy one?

Like this

Love that the video is captioned "too much brake power"... Gah.

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
9/2/17 9:57 p.m.

Friend of mine showed me pics of his JK with water on the floor from off roading. Seemed to hold up well to that, but I would not want to clean the mud out of the carpets after that.

I do not see the renegade doing that, but I do see it doing about what 90% of all JKs do, look good going to the mall, work, store.. basically being a car and being a MUCH better car than the JK

Mike
Mike SuperDork
9/2/17 10:24 p.m.
mad_machine wrote: Friend of mine showed me pics of his JK with water on the floor from off roading. Seemed to hold up well to that, but I would not want to clean the mud out of the carpets after that. I do not see the renegade doing that, but I do see it doing about what 90% of all JKs do, look good going to the mall, work, store.. basically being a car and being a MUCH better car than the JK

Just hose out your Wrangler. I think this is an official Jeep marketing photo.

iceracer
iceracer UltimaDork
9/3/17 11:35 a.m.

My neighbors must really like Jeeps. For some time the "man" drove a Wrangler Limited. The "woman" traded her VW suv for a Wrangler Limited. So now they are a two Jeep family . I doubt either go off road.

wnick
wnick New Reader
9/3/17 7:46 p.m.

We helped my daughter purchase a renegade sport for her first real job. We looked at a bunch of small SUVs. Hyundai and Kia had the best warranties. Now that she is 3 hours away we wanted something that is reliable and all wheel drive. After getting 3k for our 2004 trailblazer we were put the door for 19,500. She loves it. We don't have to and she has payments she can afford.

thunder1335
thunder1335 New Reader
9/3/17 11:40 p.m.

Renegade would be a great daily if it wasn't that garbage 9-speed auto

If you're going to have a car drive and feel sluggish, just stick a CVT in it

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