Judged on appearance and presence alone, there is plenty to like about the Jeep Renegade. This modern design features striking styling; a substantial, solid feel; and a respectable amount of rear cargo space for its diminutive size. It also offers a nine-speed automatic transmission and a ton of upscale options, including up-to-date crash-avoidance technology.
It doesn't take long, though, for the Renegade's charms to wear thin. For starters, handling proves cumbersome, the ride is choppy, front seats are uncomfortable, and the view out is restricted. What's more, that fancy nine-speed automatic doesn't quite have its gear-juggling act together. It's reluctant to downshift, leaving the 2.4-liter, 180-hp four-cylinder engine feeling underpowered and sounding raspy. At idle, this engine quivers more like a spawning grunion, sending its vibrations through the steering wheel and into the seats.
The whole point of the subcompact SUV class is to bring together most of the usefulness of compacts like the big-selling Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, or Toyota RAV4, but in a modestly smaller and more economical package. But the numbers don't pan out. Fuel economy was just midpack for the class, averaging 24 mpg overall.