2021 Jeep Renegade FAQ Review

Jack R. Nerad, Independent Expert | Jul 07, 2021

You might say the 2021 Jeep Renegade is true to its name because it certainly isn't a clone of the garden variety subcompact SUV. Oh, the Renegade is certainly cute enough to check that subcompact prerequisite box, but properly equipped, it will leave all the other cute-utes literally in the dust when taken off-road. Further, its exterior style, interior design, engine configurations, and even country of origin don't match the subcompact SUV stereotype.

Most other subcompact utilities are essentially tall econoboxes that are well-suited to commuting and consider a running stream as daunting as the Grand Canyon. Competitive models like the Hyundai VenueKia Soul, and Nissan Kicks eschew all-wheel drive (AWD) altogether, while others in the segment pay scant attention to anything resembling off-highway use. Why should they? Most of their owners are young urban or suburban singles whose most likely off-road foray is pulling into the gravel entrance of a drive-through specialty coffee stand.

Sure, the Renegade will get some head turns as it pulls into Java Joe, but it will also do a nice turn of rock-crawling or Overlanding. In fact, off the highway is where the Renegade is really in its element.

What's new for the 2021 Jeep Renegade? - Find the best Jeep deals!

The Jeep Renegade carries over mechanically for the 2021 model year, but its safety offering is significantly enhanced. Here's what's new:

  • Standard safety features now include blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic warning, full-speed forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assistance
  • All but the off-road-oriented Trailhawk trim have forward emergency braking
  • 80th Anniversary Edition trim based on Latitude trim that features 19-inch wheels, 8.4-inch touchscreen
  • Jeepster Edition based on Sport trim that includes 19-inch aluminum wheels, 7.0-inch display
  • Islander Edition based on Latitude that includes 19-inch wheels, panoramic sunroof, and remote start

2021 JEEP RENEGADE SPECS - Find the best Jeep deals!

2021 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk Red Front Quarter View

What are the 2021 Jeep Renegade configurations?

Jeep offers several Renegade variants, two engine choices, and the choice of front-wheel drive (FWD) or one of two 4-wheel-drive (4WD) systems. The subject of this FAQ Review is a Renegade Trailhawk 4WD with the 1.3-liter direct-injection turbocharged engine that is standard in that trim.

Jeep makes the Renegade in four trim levels: Sport, Latitude, Limited, and Trailhawk. The Limited and Trailhawk trims are only available with 4WD and the 1.3-liter turbocharged engine. The Sport and Latitude models are available in either FWD or 4WD configurations; each has a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter 4-cylinder power plant. The Jeep Renegade shares its platform and much of its equipment with the Fiat 500X.

What is the 2021 Jeep Renegade price?

Base prices for the 2021 Renegade range from $22,850 for the base Sport trim to $29,525 for the Trailhawk and Limited trims. In addition, each vehicle has a destination charge of $1,495.

What is the 2021 Jeep Renegade cargo space?

The Jeep Renegade offers 18.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat. With the back seat folded, cargo space jumps to 50.8 cubic feet. A hands-free liftgate is not available, but the Renegade's liftgate is lightweight and easy to open and close.

What is the 2021 Jeep Renegade gas mileage?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the 2021 Renegade should return the following fuel economy in combined driving:

  • 25 mpg for Sport and Latitude FWD with the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine
  • 24 mpg for Sport and Latitude 4WD with the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine
  • 26 mpg for Latitude 4WD, Limited, and Trailhawk with the 1.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine
  • 27 mpg for Latitude FWD with the 1.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine

During testing of the 2021 Renegade Trailhawk with the 1.3-liter turbocharged engine and 4WD, the small SUV averaged 24 mpg. With a fuel tank capacity of 12.7 gallons, the expected driving range is about 280 miles. It's wise to re-fuel at the 250-mile mark.

Is the 2021 Jeep Renegade safe?

The Renegade has an array of standard and available advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) across the lineup, including several features that are newly standard for 2021.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says the Jeep Renegade offers no better than Acceptable protection to the front-seat passenger in a small-overlap frontal-impact collision but offers Good ratings in the other crashworthiness categories.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not evaluated the 2021 Renegade, but the structurally similar 2020 Renegade received four out of five stars for overall crashworthiness.

What is the 2021 Jeep Renegade towing capacity?

When properly equipped, Jeep Renegade 4WD models have a maximum tow rating of 2,000 pounds. The optional tow package, which includes a Class III hitch receiver, four-pin wiring harness, and full-size spare tire, is not available on the Sport trim.

2021 JEEP RENEGADE REVIEW - Find the best Jeep deals!

For this review, I evaluated a 2021 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk. It had "Colorado Red" paint and the Sun/Sound Group package that includes a dual-pane panoramic sunroof and Kenwood 9-speaker sound system with a subwoofer. This packaging resulted in a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $33,360, including the destination charge.

How is the 2021 Jeep Renegade interior?

2020 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk Interior Dashboard

Getting into the Jeep Renegade is about as easy as it gets. Just like Goldilocks, you will probably find it neither too short nor too tall but just right. You can simply slide into the bucket-type driver's seat without any difficulty at all.

Once inside, you will find a very conventional and contemporary experience. There are no real surprise-and-delight features, except for some graphic Easter eggs left by the designers. But everything is logically placed and easy to understand.

The Renegade has a large centrally mounted infotainment touchscreen immediately below a pair of vents. It sits slightly lower than some of the competitive models' screens, but it is very legible, and it runs Uconnect—one of the best infotainment interfaces.

Below the screen, the designers placed the volume knob at the left and the tuning knob on the right with discrete pushbuttons in between. The Renegade's panel features a classic round tachometer and speedometer flanking a modest but legible electronic driver information screen.

The thick-section steering wheel increases in size at the 10 and 2 positions—an upscale touch. The steering-wheel-based controls occupy familiar positions and are easy to understand and operate. They include buttons for the audio/infotainment system, driver information system, and cruise control.

The gear selector is a traditional lever close to the driver on the center console. Immediately in front of it is the terrain management mode selector. Twin cupholders reside in a low position behind the gear lever immediately in front of an amply padded armrest. The straightforward heating and ventilation controls are conveniently positioned above a small rubber-lined bin and the easily accessible USB port.

The standard seats in the Renegade Trailhawk are cloth-covered with red contrast stitching and an embroidered Trailhawk logo. They run against the trend to leather seat coverings pleasantly, and they go well with the other accents in the Trailhawk's interior.

Is the 2021 Jeep Renegade comfortable?

The cloth-covered driver's seat remained comfortable even after several hundred miles at the wheel. The power adjustment that is standard in the Trailhawk and Limited trims enables the seat to move to a comfortable position. Another plus: the front seats are heated. The seats aren't leather-covered, but the steering wheel is; it is heated as well in Trailhawk and Limited trims.

The rear seat is a 40/20/40 arrangement in the Trailhawk with a convenient cargo-area passthrough. With two adults in the back, the seating is comfortable, and there's good leg, hip, and shoulder room. Three adults would find it a struggle. But the rear seat will accommodate two child safety seats.

Rear-seat comfort is enhanced by a dual-zone automatic temperature control system that is standard across all trim levels, another unexpected upscale touch.

Does the 2021 Jeep Renegade drive itself?

No, the Jeep Renegade does not drive itself. The closest it comes to automated driving is hill-descent control—a standard system in the Trailhawk that enables the vehicle to control its downhill slope speed and braking. The Latitude and Limited trims also offer parallel and perpendicular park assist. That system is unavailable on the Sport and the Trailhawk trims.

The Limited version offers adaptive cruise control to help the vehicle maintain its interval from those ahead even as traffic slows and speeds up. The test vehicle did not have adaptive cruise control.

Does the 2021 Jeep Renegade have AWD?

Yes, the Renegade not only has AWD, but it also offers two different 4WD systems. The Trailhawk has the more robust system—the Jeep Active Drive Low full-time 4WD system with a low range that features a 21:1 crawl ratio. This system aids the Trailhawk in being Trail Rated. The Sport and Latitude trims can be equipped with the Jeep Active Drive full-time 4WD system, which is standard on the Renegade Limited.

2021 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk Selec-Terrain Traction Management System

The Trailhawk's rock-crawling-ready 4WD system contributes mightily to its overall fun-to-drive quotient. It delivers off-pavement capabilities that make other subcompact SUVs pale in comparison.

Is the 2021 Jeep Renegade fun to drive?

The answer to this question depends on what your definition of fun to drive is. If you believe fun to drive is tearing around twisty mountain roads in a vehicle with sharp handling, little body roll, and plenty of torque to propel you out of corners, there are probably better choices than the Jeep Renegade. But if you want to mix some serious off-roading into your driving mix, the Renegade, especially in Trailhawk form, is really the only game in town.

Even with the torquier 1.3-liter turbocharged engine, the Renegade is anything but quick in a straight line on the pavement. The trip from 0-60 mph takes nine seconds, according to independent tests. The 9-speed transmission has a manual shifting mode, but that doesn't do much to contribute to on-road fun. Accelerating onto an expressway is a non-issue, but deciding when to pass a slow-moving vehicle on a two-lane road takes some planning and preparation.

If you are trying to decide between Renegades equipped with the 2.4-liter naturally aspirated Tigershark engine and the 1.3-liter turbocharged engine, don't be fooled by the 2.4-liter's slightly higher peak horsepower figure. The 1.3-liter turbo's extra torque gives Renegades thus equipped better all-around drivability. Jeep acknowledges that tacitly by fitting the up-level Trailhawk and Limited trims with the turbo engine.

That available torque is the key to the engine's appropriateness for off-road work, and that is the cornerstone of the Renegade's fun-to-drive demeanor. You might also get some personal fun out of driving a Jeep versus every other subcompact crossover, and if that's the case, then the Renegade will give you some thrills.

IS THE 2021 JEEP RENEGADE A GOOD SUV? - Find the best Jeep deals!

Collectively, verified Jeep owners gave their vehicle mixed scores in the three major J.D. Power studies that concern owner satisfaction. On the plus side, the Jeep brand performs above the industry average in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS). On the other hand, Jeep ranks below the industry average in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study and the 2021 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS). At the model level, the Jeep Renegade did not rank among the top three in its segment in any of those studies.

2021 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk Red Rear Quarter View

Looking at the subcompact SUV segment, the Jeep Renegade is a unique vehicle with a much greater off-road emphasis than its competitors. Additionally, it is the only subcompact SUV available in the United States assembled in Italy, bringing an interesting cross between American and European tastes.

What is the 2021 Jeep Renegade competition? - Find the best Jeep deals!

The 2021 Jeep Renegade faces a growing number of competitors in an ever-increasing portion of the market. Some of the best-known and bestselling of them are the Buick EncoreHyundai Tucson, and Toyota C-HR. None of the models in the segment offers the Renegade's off-road prowess, and few offer the Renegade's choices in terms of powertrain and equipment level.

In the subcompact SUV segment, the Jeep Renegade is pretty typical in terms of overall length, wheelbase, cargo area, and passenger space. It offers more standard horsepower than is typical for the segment, too. But its styling and demeanor are anything but ordinary.

For day-to-day commuting and errand-running, other subcompact crossovers are at least equal to Renegade, but as an off-pavement vehicle, the Renegade has no peer in the segment. That ruggedness gives it a different image that many like.

Jack R. Nerad has been road testing and writing about vehicles for decades for Web and print publications, including JDPower.com and others. He has a weekly podcast called America on the Road, and his work has appeared in scores of prestigious newspapers, magazines, and online publications.

The opinions expressed in this review are the author’s own, not J.D. Power’s.

No portion of these reviews may be reproduced, distributed, publicly displayed, or used for a derivative work without J.D. Power’s written permission. © 2022 J.D. Power

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