First Drive: 2019 Jeep Renegade

The Jeep Renegade is the lowest price of entry into the Jeep club, starting at just $23,520 the subcompact crossover has all of the rugged looks off-road capability that makes it a real Jeep, just in city friend size. With the advanced AWD system and optional removal roof panels, there is more than enough Jeep DNA to justify the name badge. For our road test, we took the Renegade up to the state of Arkansas for a road trip that would take across back roads, national forests, and the urban jungle of Little Rock.

Our 2019 Renegade Limited 4X4 was equipped with the new 1.3-liter turbo four-cylinder engine that produces 180hp and 175 lb-ft of torque channeled through a nine-speed automatic transmission. The Limited is a more luxury-focused trim level which includes leather-trimmed seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel/shift knob, heated seats, etc.. base price came in at $27,895 with options like the 19-inch wheels, Beats Premium Audio, Uconnect 4G Navigation, and LED lighting group came in at $33,265 including the $1,495 destination charge. It did not have the optional removable roof panels which would have been fun for a road trip.

Jeep is also offering several special packages for the Renegade including the Trailhawk, Altitude, High Altitude, Latitude, Upland, and Sport. The base model still is equipped with a 2.4-liter non-turbo four-cylinder and the manual transmission has been discontinued for 2019.

 The Renegade made for a great road trip vehicle, its large cargo space handled all the bags and equipment without having to spill over into the back seat and the interior us comfortable and the seating position provided great visibility. Driving dynamics are not as sporty as other small CUV/SUVs on the market, but this is still a Jeep, it does have good ground clearance and its AWD system did inspire confidence when driving on dirt roads in the hills of Arkansas. Plus with the optional towing package it can still haul 2,000-lbs.

Inside was more refined than you would expect for the price point with a well laid out cabin, that feels much larger due mostly to the copious headroom. Inside you will also find a number of fun design elements like the original Jeep grill shape on the door speakers, rear tailgate, and even on the rearview mirror mount. The center of the interior is the Uconnect infotainment system which features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it's easy to use and when paired to the premium sound system provided a great soundtrack for our road trip.

The Renegade is a good choice for someone looking for a roomy and capable AWD vehicle that has some personality but still doesn't need a full-size SUV. Other vehicles in this class to consider would be the Fiat 500X, which Renegade shares a platform with, or the Mazda CX-3 AWD which isn't as roomy but does offer a great driving dynamics.