Jeep’s New Entry-Level Model Shows Promise
We Like: Its infectious personality, value sticker price, interior packaging.
We Don’t Like: The underwhelming power, transmissions, off-road performance.
The Jeep Renegade was a strong contender. It’s as stylish as its country of origin (Italy). It offers two engines, transmissions, and drivetrains. It promises real Jeep off-road performance with Trail Rated variants available starting at an affordable price of just $18,990 USD. And that includes so many “Easter egg” hidden Jeep logos and images that you’ll still be discovering them when cleaning the thing out at the end of your four-year lease.
Stay tuned to MotorTrend.com as the 2016 Motor Trend SUV of the Year contenders and finalists are revealed in advance of the official winner announcement on the evening of November 16. Learn about other SUV of the Year contenders at the links below. Check out the SUV of the Year evaluation process HERE, and read about the evolution of our Of The Year awards HERE.
The highway ride was compliant if a bit on the noisier side, and both Jeeps were fun to toss into corners. The performance of each transmission left something to be desired, however. The manual had vague clutch action and long, ropey throws, and the nine-speed, as Ron Kiino put it, “hunts more than Ted Nugent.”
Results on the off-road loops were surprising. The course featured a rutted hill climb that simulated limited-grip situations. Although both testers had all-wheel drive, they struggled as the state of the trail deteriorated. The Renegade Latitude, equipped with a 160-hp, 1.4-liter, turbo I-4 and six-speed manual, struggled the most. “The Latitude made it up the hill with a nice running start,” Jonny Lieberman said, “but it was not pretty.” Scott Evans agreed: “I wanted to love the base engine with the stick shift and all-wheel drive, but it slowed to a crawl and stalled itself with my foot on the floor trying to climb the hill.” The Trail Rated Renegade Trailhawk with its 180-hp, 2.4-liter I-4 and nine-speed auto didn’t fare much better. Despite having computers that know when the front wheels are slipping, the CUV slipped and bogged until we manually engaged the ‘4×4 Lock’ button, after which it climbed the hill with no trouble. It seems that should be automated, given that an AWD Honda HR-V scooted right up the same hill.
But buyers who are able to overlook engines that feel slightly overtaxed and less than ideal transmissions will find themselves piloting a stylish cute-ute with an exceptionally spacious and well-packaged interior.
|2015 Jeep Renegade||Latitude 4×4||Trailhawk 4×4|
|Price As Tested||$25,760||$31,860|
|Vehicle Layout||Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV||Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV|
|Engine||1.4L/160-hp/184-lb-ft turbocharged SOHC 16-valve I-4||2.4L/180-hp/175-lb-ft SOHC 16-valve I-4|
|Transmission||6-speed manual||9-speed automatic|
|Length x Width x Height||166.6 x 74.2 x 66.5||166.6 x 74.2 x 66.5|
|Wheelbase||101.2 in||101.2 in|
|Curb Weight (F/R Dist)||3,232 lb (58/42%)||3,559 lb (59/41%)|
|Acceleration, 0-60 mph||8.9 sec||9.1 sec|
|Quarter Mile||16.6 sec @ 83.3 mph||17.0 sec @ 80.0 mph|
|Braking, 60-0 mph||119 ft||126 ft|
|Lateral Acceleration||0.76 g (avg)||0.73 g (avg)|
|MT Figure Eight||28.8 sec @ 0.58 g (avg)||29.0 sec @ 0.58 g (avg)|
|EPA City/Hwy/Comb||24/31/27 mpg||21/29/24 mpg|
|Energy Consumption, City/Hwy||140/109 kW-hrs/100 miles||160/116 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 Emissions||0.73 lb/mile||0.81 lb/mile|
|Real MPG City/Hwy/Comb||26/31/28||25/28/26|
2016 Motor Trend SUV of the Year Contenders:
- BMW X6
- Chevrolet Trax
- Fiat 500X
- Ford Edge
- Ford Explorer
- Honda HR-V
- Hyundai Tucson
- Jeep Renegade
- Kia Sorento
- Land Rover Discovery Sport
- Mazda CX-3