2016 Jeep Renegade 4×4 Review: Perfect Blend of Soft and Rugged

Review Of 2016 Jeep Renegade
The 2016 Jeep Renegade 4x4. Photo by Shannon Entin for AGirlsGuidetoCars.

Jeep Renegade: My empty nest car?

In about 5 years, I could be an empty-nester. My kids will have their own driver’s licenses and (hopefully) jobs and I won’t need to play taxi any more. So I’ve started thinking about what my next car – my NON-Mom car – might be.

I’m not a sports car kinda girl. I love my SUV, but when I don’t have to tote kids and their friends around, do I need a huge car? I still want cargo space and a vehicle that will easily transport sporting equipment like skis and kayaks. I want a car that’s rugged, but I also want it to be cute. That car might be the Jeep Renegade.

This was my first time driving a Jeep, though I’ve loved them from afar for many years. Jeep exemplifies adventure – a quality that I hold dear. I expected this crossover SUV to feel rugged, exposed, even slightly dangerous (in a good way). But what I experienced was a smooth, civilized ride that felt anything but dangerous.

Classic Jeep with a soft touch

The Jeep Renegade is a softer version of the Wrangler, its legendary off-road brother. The classic Jeep seven-bar grille is surrounded by a curvy exterior and hard-top roof (though the “My Sky” removable sunroof is optional). The interior is a nice blend of soft and rugged. The dash has a modern flair but remains basic with chunky, utilitarian knobs that are typical of a Jeep. The car is compact, but comfortable and stylish with its leather-wrapped steering wheel and silver accents.

Interior Of The2016 Jeep Renegade

Utilitarian interior design of the Jeep Renegade. Photo by Shannon Entin for AGirlsGuidetoCars.

All the Technology You Need in An Adventure Vehicle

In terms of technology, the Jeep Renegade holds its own, offering two USB ports, a household plug, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Sadly, all my driving in the Jeep Renegade was local and highway driving. I didn’t get a chance to test out the Selec-Terrain snow, sand, and mud settings. But as someone who travels, hikes, skis, and enjoys water sports, I love having these options. Selec-Terrain is an intelligent four-wheel drive system. In auto mode, it essentially disconnects the rear axle so you are driving in front-wheel drive on regular hard road. The snow, sand and mud settings put the car in four-wheel drive and employ advanced electronics to give you the best traction, braking, and steering options for each situation.

I haven’t driven a Wrangler, but I’d love to do a comparison. The adventurer in me wants that hardy Jeep – to pull back the top and unzip the rear windows and drive that baby down the beach or trail. But the soon-to-be empty nest Mom in me thinks the Renegade — with its sexy, curvier exterior and adequate all-terrain performance for some of my more adventurous moments — might be the car for me.

Here’s a quick overview of the car and a couple features I liked and didn’t like:

What I loved

  • The boxy design of the car is my favorite feature. Sitting in the driver’s seat, I liked the head room and security I felt around me
  • Rain-sensitive windshield wipers. This is a slick feature that senses the amount of rain on the windshield and adjusts wiper speed automatically
  • More cargo space than I thought – especially if you fold the seats down. There’s also a fold-flat front seat option, so plenty of room for sporting equipment
  • Selec-Terrain gives you enhanced safety and performance with a simple turn of the dial

What you need to know

  • Base price is $26,995; price for the model I drove is $29,755
  • Fuel economy is 24 MPG combined city/highway (21 city, 29 highway)
  • The car is compact. There’s little space to put a purse if you have a passenger and the backseat is on the tighter side. My two teens sat back there and reported feeling a bit cramped on a long road trip. But since I’m looking at the Renegade as my empty nest car, I’m not all that concerned!

    Jeep Renegade Monroney

    2016 Jeep Renegade Monroney. Photo by Shannon Entin for AGirlsGuidetoCars.

Note: Chrysler/FCA  loaned me the Jeep for the purposes of this review; empty nest fantasy is all my own.

Feeling most at home when on the road, Shannon Entin grew up under the impression that the highest form... More about Shannon Entin