Jeep knows how to do 4x4 off-road vehicles, so the brand’s first small sport utility vehicle is noteworthy. As an all-new model in the 2015 model year, Jeep Renegade comes standard with front wheel drive. But the Jeep Active Drive 4x4 system is optional on all four trim levels (Sport, Latitude, Trailhawk, and Limited). And for drivers wanting the best in off-road flavorings, the Jeep Active Drive Low 4x4 system with its 20:1 crawl ratio is standard on the Trailhawk trim. During a one-week Renegade Limited 4x4 test drive, the small SUV showed its bigness by trekking through snowdrift-covered roadways without any noticeable body sway. Renegade’s athletic handling is complimented by best-in-class approach and departure angles.
Renegade is powered by either a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder releasing 160 horsepower at 5500 rpm/184 lb-ft torque at 2500-4000 rpm, or a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder producing 180 horsepower at 6400 rpm/175 lb-ft at 3900 rpm. The 1.4-liter turbocharged engine mates to a 6-speed manual transmission; the 2.4-liter engine mates with a 9-speed automatic transmission. Ground clearance is 6.7 inches for the 4x2, 7.9 inches for the 4x4, and 8.7 inches for the Trailhawk 4x4 trim version. Renegade provides 18.5 cubic feet of cargo space with rear seats upright and 50.8 cubic feet with the backseat folded. The test driven 101.2-inch wheelbase Renegade Limited 4x4 with 2.4-liter engine and automatic transmission carries a suggested price of $26,795 and collects estimated per gallon fuel economy of 21 city/29 highway.