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The Renegade is an Italian-flavored Jeep:
A taste of Olive Garden
By Scott SturgiS
The PhiladelPhia inquirer
2019 Jeep Renegade: The Jeep
with the flavor of Italy.

crossovers its size, the Renegade
really feels like a truck. With its
wide, upright windshield and tall
stance, buyers can feel like king of
the road for a pretty low entry fee.
(Well, maybe prince of the road.
Or princess.)

FiatChrysler fare and are easy
to read and operate.
And, yet, some drawbacks
must be noted.

Up to speed: The Renegade is
not going to win any races. The
2.4-liter four-cylinder engine
Handling is far better than a
creates a respectable 180
Wrangler, of course _ which
horsepower and 175 poundactually falls below certain pieces feet of torque, but there’s still
of heavy equipment for steering
not a lot of oomph. It takes a
feel. Furthermore, Renegade’s
painfully long 10.3 seconds to
steering feels more accurate
get to 60 mph, according to Car
Conventional wisdom: Car and
than many other crossovers out
and Driver.
Driver liked the “solid off-road
there, and the ride is less bumpy
I tested a 2018 (in November;
capability, toy-truck style and
than the other boxy wannabe
not sure why that was still in fleet).
brand recognition, relaxing ride
crossover, the Kia Soul.
The 2019s get a 1.3-liter turbo
quality” but not that it was “slower
Friends and stuff: More people
four in Limited trim; it makes
than a three-legged turtle, poor
fit more easily into the Renegade just 177 horsepower, but torque
fuel efficiency, lacks storage.”
than the two-door Wrangler, and boosts to 200 pound-feet.
Marketer’s pitch: “Legends aren’t Renegade rear-seat comfort
Shifty: The 9-speed automatic
born, they’re made.”
pleased lanky Sturgis Kid 4.0.
always seemed like an ambitious
Reality: The flavor may be Olive Legroom and foot room are good,
move, and its functioning can
Garden; the Renegade is perfect while headroom is incredible.
be less than stellar. During my
for the suburbs.
Up front, the passenger side
Renegade week, I found the first
Jeepish: The Renegade should
boasts a large grab bar, which
day’s drive got off to a slow start,
actually satisfy most ordinary
certainly looks the Jeep part, if
and engaging Drive took a second
buyers’ secret cravings for a
kind of cheap and plasticky.
or so, and then cold shifts could
Jeep Wrangler. The vast majority
be fairly abrupt.
Cargo space also beats the
of Jeep enthusiasts hardly need
Wrangler by far _ 50.8 cubic feet
The transmission also made
the off-road capability of the
with the seats folded.
passing and other on-the-fly
Wrangler, which until recently also
acceleration disappointing,
Driver’s Seat: The seat in the
meant forgoing a whole bunch of
Renegade tester provided plenty as the gearbox evaluated its
creature comforts.
choices more thoroughly than the
of comfort as well. The headrest
In fact, the Renegade gives
philosopher Chidi in “The Good
runs up quite high, and comfort
buyers a lot more for a lot less.
and support are balanced nicely. Place.” Manual shifting helps, but
Controls and gauges are standard nine choices is a lot.
On the road: More than most
Price: $33,670 as tested
($27,445 for the Limited trim).
Options include Advanced
Technology Group ($995) and
Safety and Security Group ($895)
for all sorts of safety features;
$1,595 for panoramic sunroof;
more noted below.

Fuel economy: All the
accelerational and shifterational
shortcomings might be forgiven
if the Renegade had hit one out
of the park saving fuel, but nope.
I averaged about 23 mpg in my
usual test course. Maybe the new
engine corrects that.

Keeping warm and cool: The
HVAC controls sit under the stereo
and so even lower to the ground.
The dial for fan and toggle for
fan source are fine, but a pair of
buttons for temperature control
are difficult to find on the fly.

In addition, one couldn’t depend
on the “miles remaining” portion
of our dashboard in the test
vehicle, though: It was all over
the place, adding 50 miles here
and subtracting them there so
frequently that it was useless.

How it’s built: Consumer Reports
gives the Renegade a predicted
reliability rating of 3 out of 5 _ it’s
been as high as 4 and started as a
1 in 2015.

Where it’s built: Melfi, Italy.

In the end: My wife covets a
Renegade, but she’ll have to sell
her Soul for it _ her Kia Soul, that
is. But I have a soft spot for the
boxy off-roader wannabe, much
like Europeans, who seemed to
be driving this model in large
quantities when I last traveled
there.

Play some tunes: Stereo
interface and operation are also
standard FiatChrysler, except
residing fairly low and out of
the driver’s line of vision. The
sound quality from the 8.4-inch
UConnect system ($1,245) is
an A-minus or so _ too much
It’s definitely a sportier
tinniness and treble, but guitar
experience than most small
seemed to get a new emphasis in crossovers, and it gets my vote,
but, ack, that transmission!
some familiar songs.

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