2018 Jeep Renegade

Overview: When Jeep first put one of its most respected historic nameplates, Renegade, on a big-eyed crossover that veritably defines the term “cute ute,” traditionalists nearly took up arms, especially when they learned it would be built in Italy, not the United States. But the boxy little wagon has proven to be right-sized for the times, popular—and loaded with personality. Plus the Trailhawk model, with its standard four-wheel-drive system, low range/crawl ratio, underbody skid plates, and red tow hooks, actually is decent off-road.

As before, the Renegade is offered with a choice of a 160-hp turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-four engine, paired to a six-speed manual transmission, or a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter inline-four with 180 horsepower that comes only with a nine-speed automatic. The 2.4-liter is an option on Sport, Latitude, and Altitude models but is standard on the Limited and Trailhawk. Four-wheel drive is available with both powertrains for $1500. The base combo of turbo four and manual transmission is pretty good, and we’re always happy to find a manual transmission offered, especially here, where its precise shifter throws and character suit this Jeep’s personality. The 2.4-liter is decent but not much to brag about.

What’s New: Some redesigned interior components, including relocated Selec-Terrain controls and USB ports that free up a bit more front-row storage space in the 2018 Renegade. Frankly, though, only owners of a 2017 Renegade might notice the difference. A backup camera now comes standard on all versions.

Also freshened for 2018 are the infotainment systems. The base Sport model employs a 5.0-inch touchscreen with voice control and Bluetooth connectivity, and Sport buyers can upgrade to a 7.0-inch touchscreen system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that comes standard on the Renegade Latitude, Limited, and Trailhawk trim levels. In addition, Jeep’s 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system with navigation is optionally available on all but the base Sport, as is a dual-pane glass power sunroof, which is new for 2018. Speaking of trick roofs, the Renegade’s nifty My Sky roof system, consisting of two removable panels, now can be ordered on all models. Some new colors, interior fabrics, and trim treatments round out the updates for 2018.

What We Like: With a profile this boxy, you know cargo space will be impressive, and the Renegade measures out as one of the roomiest in its segment. But what the Renegade’s looks…

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