Although it may look like it shares DNA with Jeep’s legendary Wrangler, the 2015 Jeep Renegade comes from the car side of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Built on Fiat’s Small Wide 4×4 platform and derived from, of all things, the Fiat 500L wagon/minivan, the 5-passenger Renegade features unitized body construction, all-independent suspension and a choice of front-wheel drive (FWD) or 4-wheel drive (4WD). Assembled in Italy alongside the Fiat 500X, the Renegade is Jeep’s entry in the hot-selling subcompact crossover SUV segment, melding classic Jeep styling and surprising off-road capability with precise steering and carlike ride and handling. All new for the 2015 model year, it supplants the Patriot (which is being phased out over time) as the smallest Jeep offering. With 18.5 cu ft. of cargo space behind the rear seats and 50.8 cu ft. with the rear seat folded, the Renegade offers surprising room considering its abbreviated 166.6-inch overall length. The Renegade’s cargo floor is height-adjustable to accommodate varying loads.
On 4WD models, a Selec-Terrain system allows drivers to tailor throttle response, gear changing and other parameters according to Sport, Snow, Mud and Sand settings. Unique to Renegade is a My Sky removable sunroof panel for quasi-open-air motoring. See the 2015 Jeep Renegade models for sale near you
What We Like
Maneuverable; spunky styling; Trailhawk model’s off-road capability; good seats; Uconnect infotainment; My Sky sunroof
What We Don’t
Huge windshield pillars block visibility; lots of vertical body motion; lazy acceleration with 1.4-liter turbo; automatic has slow downshifts; no spare tire on most models
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
Standard on the Sport and Latitude is a 1.4-liter single-overhead-cam (SOHC) MultiAir 4-cylinder turbo producing 160 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. It runs on regular unleaded but 91-octane premium is recommended. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard. No automatic transmission is available with this engine. Both front- and 4-wheel-drive models are Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-rated at 24 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Towing is not recommended.
Limited and Trailhawk models come with a Tigershark 2.4-liter SOHC 4-cylinder with 180 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. It’s mated exclusively with a 9-speed automatic transmission. With front-wheel drive, it has an EPA rating of 22 mpg city/30 mpg hwy, while 4WD models with Active Drive are rated at 21 mpg city/29 mpg hwy. Front-drive models have a 2,000-lb tow rating. The 2.4-liter runs on regular unleaded or E85 ethanol.
Standard Features & Options
The 2015 Renegade is available in Sport, Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk 4×4 trims.
Sport standard fare includes cloth seat trim, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, remote keyless entry, a 4-speaker AM/FM stereo with a 3.5-in display, a USB port, a split-folding rear bench, 16-in steel wheels, stability and traction control, hill-start assist, dual front airbags, front-seat side airbags, overhead airbags, driver’s-knee airbag, anti-lock 4-wheel disc brakes, Active Drive transfer case (4-wheel drive only), a tire-inflator kit and power door locks and windows.
The Latitude trim gains a backup camera, air conditioning, 16-in alloy wheels, fog lamps, deep-tinted glass, roof side rails, auto head lamps, heated power mirrors, cruise control, a 6-speaker Uconnect 5.0 AM/FM with Bluetooth and SiriusXM, a fold-flat front passenger seat and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with auxiliary audio controls. 4WD versions get Selec-Terrain with Auto, Snow, Mud and Sand modes.
Upgrading to Limited nets 18-in alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, leather seat trim, heated front seats and steering wheel, a power driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment, a windshield wiper de-icer, a leather-wrapped shifter, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a 115-volt outlet.
The Trailhawk 4×4 trim brings a Trail-Rated off-road suspension with increased ground clearance, skid plates, an Active Drive Low transfer case, all-terrain 17-in tires, a full-size spare and cloth seats with red stitching. Selec-Terrain adds a Rock mode.
Options include lane-departure and forward-collision warning systems, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic detection, rear park assist, a My Sky sunroof and a navigation system with an 6.5-in touchscreen.
The Renegade blends classic Jeep design with small-car versatility. The all-weather/all-road ability of 4-wheel-drive versions always command higher prices.
To get a good idea of the prices of 2015 Renegades, check out the used-car values at KBB.com. You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see what models are for sale in your area.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the following recalls for the 2015 Jeep Renegade:
Some radios have software vulnerabilities that allow hackers to access some vehicle control systems, creating a crash risk.
Renegades with a factory-installed trailer hitch may have an insufficient number of fasteners, and the hitch may detach, increasing the risk of a crash with the towed vehicle.
Automatic transmission models may suddenly shift into neutral, increasing the risk of a crash.
When equipped with an accessory 1.5-in lift kit, a small number of Daystar replacement rear suspension control arm brackets may have insufficient welds that can allow the axle to move while driving, increasing the risk of a crash.
Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.
Safety Ratings & Warranties
NHTSA did not rate the 2015 Renegade for frontal impacts, side impacts or rollover performance.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2015 Renegade an Acceptable rating for small-offset front impacts, head restraints and seats, but a Good rating for moderate-overlap front impacts, side impacts and roof strength.
Jeep covered the 2015 Renegade with a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain and 5-year/unlimited distance corrosion-perforation warranties.
Jeep certified pre-owned vehicles cannot have more than 75,000 miles on the odometer and must be 5 years old or fewer. Those that pass a 125-point inspection receive a 3-month/3,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, plus a 7-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty from the car’s original date of sale. Also included is a Carfax report, 24-hour roadside assistance, car-rental allowance and a SiriusXM radio 3-month trial.
Other Cars to Consider
2015 Chevrolet Trax — Chevy’s smallest 5-passenger SUV offers a standard infotainment touchscreen and available OnStar 4G LTE with in-car Wi-Fi. A 138-hp 1.4-liter 4-cylinder is teamed with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Front-drive models are EPA-rated at 26 mpg city/34 mpg hwy; AWD versions at 24 mpg city/31 mpg hwy.
2015 Kia Soul — The stylish Soul sports a surprisingly well-fitted and roomy interior. Base models run a 130-hp 1.6-liter 4-cylinder EPA-rated at 24 mpg city/30 mpg hwy, while upscale versions come with a livelier 164-hp 2.0-liter with 23 mpg city/30 mpg hwy ratings. Both 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic gearboxes are available, but the Soul is front-wheel drive only with no AWD option.
The Renegade Latitude offers good bang for the buck with standard air conditioning, alloy wheels, a backup camera, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and Uconnect 5.0 with Bluetooth and SiriusXM. But the Limited with the larger 2.4-liter engine, 6-speed automatic and leather seats is the best choice for an everyday driver. Always get a Carfax vehicle-history report and look for a Jeep that’s seen obvious care. Certified pre-owned is a smart way to go, and check with the dealer to make sure the Renegade you choose has had all applicable safety recall items addressed.