Real-World Review

2015 Jeep Renegade: Real World Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Rob Nestora September 2015

An all-new model for 2015, the Renegade offers mild off-road capability to go with its aggressive styling and a removable roof system designed to give drivers open-air freedom that conjures images of the granddaddy of all Jeeps -- the Willys MB Jeep. Recently, the team here at Autotrader got our hands on a new Renegade for a week to see if it lives up to the legacy of its storied brand.

Image Is Everything

When it comes to exterior styling, the Jeep Renegade is definitely an eye-catcher. Our team loved the Anvil paint color accented by roof rails and red tow hooks and praised its aesthetically pleasing qualities. One of our data team members received a few compliments on the unique appearance of the Renegade, in which onlookers referred to the tiny Jeep as "cute" and "cool." The team even praised its rugged 17-inch black and alloy rims, wholly appropriate given the rugged image the Renegade seeks to convey.

Raise the Roof

The 2015 Jeep Renegade features a unique roof system that Jeep refers to as My Sky, designed to give drivers the feeling of open air while driving. While this sounds like a remarkable concept, it is better accomplished when the roof is actually easy to remove. In practice, our team found the removable roof to be cumbersome, as well as time-consuming, to disassemble and stow. Actually, removing the roof panels is pretty easy, but reinstalling them is a little more of a chore. In addition, the roof panels take up more space in the cargo area than expected when stowed in their included storage bag. Issues like these create a disincentive to go topless on a hot summer day when there is a slight chance of inclement weather. Given the time and inconvenience needed to stop the Renegade, retrieve the roof panels and then return them back to the top of the car, it doesn't make much sense to drive with the roof open if a chance of rain is in the forecast.

The team also noted the amount of road noise that crept in through the removable roof panels. Most of the Renegade actually has adequate noise insulation, but due to the design of the My Sky roof system, unwanted road noise constantly plagued drivers. While this could be more of a subjective issue, we think noise-sensitive drivers would be best served by being aware of this on a test drive. If you're considering a Renegade with the My Sky feature, be sure to test drive that version so you're getting the full experience.

Mixed Baggage

The interior of the Renegade is a mixed bag of features that hit and miss. While we loved the spacious interior that accommodates even taller drivers, we found the seats to be uncomfortable. Dwight of our data team even stated that the driver's seat caused numbness in his legs and pain in his back. This was likely due to a raised portion of the driver's seat located under the legs that we were unable to figure out how to change. Also, while the seating was spacious, we found the storage area to be undersized, especially when occupied with the removable roof or even the removable roof storage bags.

Funky, but Clunky

When it was time to judge the driving characteristics of the Jeep Renegade, our team was not impressed in the least. First and foremost, the 9-speed Chrysler automatic transmission of the Renegade seems like maybe it has three speeds too many. Shifts are smooth and positive when accelerating, but in stop-and-go traffic, gear selection seemed odd and occasionally jerky. Even fuel economy was less than stellar compared to segment standouts such as the Honda HR-V. After driving a route comprised of 20 percent highway miles and 80 percent surface streets, the Renegade returned a lackluster 20.2 miles per gallon. In a world where $3 gas prices are commonplace, 20 miles per gallon in a small SUV seems like an unwanted added expense.

Our Take

The 2015 Jeep Renegade looks great, but we think that the diminutive SUV is just another pretty face. No one on our team stated they would buy a Renegade given the chance and generally preferred driving almost any other car. Whether it was the sticky transmission or the poorly designed roof system, the Renegade kept presenting issues that would frustrate any driver. Potential buyers would be best served by fully examining the Renegade and the issues presented before purchasing. If you're set on getting a Renegade based on its cool look and mildly rugged disposition, we suggest getting one without the removable roof.

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RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2015 Jeep Renegade 4WD Latitude
Used 2015 Jeep Renegade
$18,454
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2015 Jeep Renegade 4WD Latitude
Used 2015 Jeep Renegade
$15,725
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2015 Jeep Renegade 4WD Latitude
Used 2015 Jeep Renegade
$15,680
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2015 Jeep Renegade 4WD Limited
Used 2015 Jeep Renegade
$16,310
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Jeep Renegade: Real World Review - Autotrader