4th verse of O Come, All Ye Faithful, with some memorable notes from the Willcocks arrangement, of course:
Good For: Little dirt devil. One would think that it's bad business in the car industry to roll with design elements associated with death. But the Renegade's distinctive "X" tail lights had always reminded me of X eyes in dead cartoon characters. And now that I have driven the Renegade I see elements of mischief everywhere. From the driver's seat, the washer nozzles perched on the prominent power dome on the hood remind me of devil horns. The center cabin air vents splay out like nostrils that could breath fire into the cabin. The thick bezel around the infotainment screen right below look like lips and an open mouth about to scream and play death metal. The overspeed area on the tachometer is a splash of dirt that looks just like the spots on those jeans you keep wearing instead of doing laundry. I suppose all this fits with Jeep's overall rebel image. The way the little Renegade drives off road fits too, with a lot of suspension travel to soak up off road terrain. It rolls over the trails more naturally than the average car-based crossover, and the short wheelbase hops around like an ATV.
Compromises: The bouncy ATV feel continues when you get back on the highway. The longer the road trip, the louder the reminder that the Renegade is out of its element. The base sound system's dash and door speakers are in great locations for the sound stage, but it can't keep up with the road noise. The tall cabin makes for great seating accommodations for a small car, but there isn't much room behind the seats for luggage and gear.
Overall reaction - Thumb down: Jeep managed to adapt a front wheel drive Fiat platform to a little off roader worthy of the Jeep image, but that's about it. It's a small $30k car that is not practical, not luxurious, not sporty, and not efficient. It seems to be fine off road, but at this price point you can get a "real" Jeep. Like all other 4-cylinder Jeep cars I have driven it takes a bit of coaxing to get going in traffic. Though every time I cracked the whip in this MY2018 rental the 2.4L Tigershark happily spins up and delivers without drama beyond the expected torque steer, because it doesn't have enough power to say much else. The downkick to 3rd summons a double-rev that sounds like a double-check procedure which is kind of entertaining, but there is no manual transmission option.