The Jeep Renegade is likely one of the most unique of any car presently on the market in America. For starters, it is nearly solely made in Italy. Fiat Chrysler Cars has taken a platform used for the Fiat 500X and made it right into a Jeep. Mathematical perspective, 62% is car bella figurera Italian, whereas 22% is pink, white and blue – or simply pink and white as a result of some elements come from Canada.
Sure, it is a Jeep that can drive President Donald Trump to spit his Eating regimen Coke into Steve Bannon within the Oval Workplace.
However in a white-hot compact SUV market, customers do not care about the place the Renegade was stacked collectively: FCA bought about 61,000 models because it was launched in 2015, and the one is ready to double in 2016. When the sale ended inside the month, 106,000 examples of the car rolled off the vendor lot.
It is not exhausting to see why the Renegade has been successful for Fiat. Now we have a really Jeepy “cute ute” crossover SUV right here that positively feels prefer it desires to get dirtier than a Mazda CX-3 or Honda HR-V.
Jeep was variety sufficient to borrow me a 2016 Renegade Restricted 4×4, stickered at $31,500 after including a couple of tempting choices. I drove it for every week within the suburbs of New Jersey. I did not make a stream, nor did I rock-hop. However I went procuring and took my children to highschool, which is a testomony to the capabilities of a small SUV in actual American life.
The Renegade, after all, has that unmistakable Jeep look: boxy form, slotted grille, spherical headlights, squared-off wheel arches—you realize, that purposeful Jeep aesthetic that goals to make Jeep stand out as a rugged car. The legacy of the Nineteen Forties and World Struggle II units them aside from later copycats who, regardless of a couple of weeks of fundamental coaching, could not know find out how to dodge shell craters.
Frankly, I hated it at first, due to all of the Jeeps I see that are not a traditional, no-frills Wrangler or an historic Grand Wagoneer. However as is all the time the case with Jeep, the design dawned on me and after a couple of days, I used to be smiling after I noticed the Renegade in my driveway. It helped that my first-grader was instantly and utterly hit by the automobile. I am unable to deny that there is one thing infantile about Jeeps, and within the case of smaller automobiles, the more-than-cute type of cute you get from a Mini Cooper.
My tester was a cool “Granite Crystal Metallic,” which is fiat for “charcoal grey.” The inside featured black upholstery that was a synthetic-leather composite and regarded like it might be fairly sturdy. The structure combines a pleasant, excessive driving place with a not-too-nonsense association of options, plus a reasonably spacious rear seat and a superb quantity of cargo area. For comparability, you may need to try A Subaru Forester. Autos just like the Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V are extra car-like, plasticy and compact. The underside line is that the Renegade Jeep is the profitable downsize Jeep somewhat than the up-and-coming Fiat.
I initially discovered the journey horrible: uncooked and bumpy. However then I reminded myself that It is a dang jeep. The entire level of the journey is to distract you from the crushed path and put together you to forge a brand new path and discover the virgin forest… properly, you get the concept. We’re not placing for Lexus Nation.
Once I tailored to the seems and adjusted ourselves alongside for the journey, the Renegade and I have been automotive besties. The straight 2.4-liter four-banger motor serves up 180 horsepower and is fairly peppy, and I feel the fast-shifting 9-speed automated makes the EPA-rated 21 mpg metropolis/29 freeway/24 an inexpensive estimate of gas financial system. Is. , It is not nice, but it surely’s not unhealthy both, and provided that the Renegade’s all-wheel-drive system provides weight however makes up for it with actual off-roading reliability, the compromise could also be value it.
Heated entrance seats and a heated steering wheel are superb—and commonplace on the base-priced $26,995 Renegade. The principle extras value for a 6.5-inch heart infotainment touchscreen and an uncommon moonroof that has detachable panels. There’s additionally a windshield-wiper de-icing system that I feel can be helpful within the Northeast.
In any other case, infotainment and navigation are par for the phase (FCA’s Uconnect system is easy-to-use), with SiriusXM satellite tv for pc radio, Bluetooth pairing, USB and AUX ports, and loads of airbags throughout. Some shoddy parts are current, such because the plastic plaque above the infotainment display that reads “From 1941”, old-school stencils like army lettering that highlights Sherman tanks and ammunition bins. However they rapidly fade into the general bundle.
Driving the Renegade was by no means satisfying, however in the long run it was a extra strenuous, if much less snug, expertise than I’ve encountered with different beloved utes. It is also not a giant car, so you may zip and dart in methods which might be in contrast to what you are used to going with a bigger SUV. Steering is responsive, and acceleration is ample.
The underside line is that the renegade feels completely nothing like that an italian automobile. That flamboyant feeling of the boot has been ruthlessly crafted and changed with secure Jeep values. And if you consider it, which means renegade is a piece of genius.