Jeep is well and truly ensconced in the compact SUV field as its Renegade enters its fourth model year in 2018 alongside a second-generation Compass now celebrating its second birthday.
The Renegade is a product of the corporate tie-up that created the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles conglomerate that serves as Jeep's parent company: Under the Renegade's boxy styling is the same platform and running gear as the more shapely Fiat 500X.
While the Renegade's basics remain the same, it does get a few updates, including new Uconnect infotainment systems across the range. A standard backup camera reflects forthcoming legislation that will require this safety device in every new car sold in Canada starting in 2018 and you can now order your Renegade with a wi-fi hotspot for your passengers to share.
A redesigned interior gets new seat fabrics and boasts more small-item storage, and a dual-pane power sunroof is an option in certain trims, alongside an open-air removable roof panel system that continues to be offered across the range.
Trim levels include Sport, North, Limited and Trailhawk. The former two can be had with front- or all-wheel drive, while the latter pair come exclusively with AWD. Engine choices are a 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder (160 hp/184 lb-ft of torque) that comes with a six-speed manual transmission in Sport and North trims with FWD. Opt for AWD in those two and Jeep swaps that little motor out for a 2.4L (180 hp/175 lb-ft) with a nine-speed automatic, a pairing that's standard in Limited and Trailhawk models.
To our eyes, the Renegade is the best expression yet of the Jeep aesthetic in a compact package. It looks cute and unique without verging into the ridiculous or twee, and the Trailhawk gains a number of nice styling touches that allude to that trim's extra off-road ability, which comes thanks to low-range gearing, tow hooks, underbody skid plates and a driver-selectable traction management system.
There's more choice than is typical for a class of vehicle dominated by vehicles like the Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax and Mazda CX-3, and while the Fiat 500X gets similar options under the hood as the Renegade, it lacks the Jeep's off-road-friendly items.
If there's a downside, it's in the Renegade's relatively thirsty fuel consumption, which is rated 9.9/7.7 L/100 km (city/highway) with the 1.4L/six-speed combo, and 11.2/8.0 with the 2.4L, automatic transmission and AWD.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed