If you are looking for a cute and capable off-road vehicle, the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4×4 could be the ticket. Renegade is unmistakably a Jeep with its tall, vertical sides, round headlights, and signature grille. What sets it apart is its compact size and wide stance. It’s hard to believe, but the Renegade is offered in front-wheel drive only.
Our tester came with the Trailhawk 4×4 package. It just wouldn’t be a Jeep without it, right? This week we drove the 2016 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4×4.
Renegade launched as a new model in 2015 and carries over relatively unchanged for 2016. It gets a nine speaker 506-watt BeatsAudio system while automatic wipers are standard on Limited and Trailhawk versions.
Features & Options
The 2016 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4×4 ($26,495) gets the full off-road package that includes hill descent control, a raised suspension, tow hooks, and underbody skid plates. It features 17-inch alloy wheels, wrapped in all-terrain tires, unique exterior accents, a full-size spare, an upgraded driver information display, and a 115-volt power outlet. Our tester came complete with premium cloth upholstery, red interior stitching, a leather-wrapped shift knob, and a removable cargo floor panel.
We also had optional navigation ($1,245) featuring a 6.5-inch touchscreen, HD radio, and Uconnect Access (includes extra safety features, a WiFi hotspot, and voice texting). A Cold Weather package ($495) included heated front seats, windshield wiper deicer, and a heated steering wheel. The Equipment group ($595) included the auto-dimming rearview mirror, duel zone climate control, and 8-way power driver and 4-way power passenger seats.
Total MSRP including destination: $30,075.
The cabin of the Renegade is surprisingly roomy and comes with plenty of head, shoulder, and legroom. The shape of the Renegade helps give it a roomy feeling with good outward visibility for a compact vehicle. The front seats are comfortable and nicely bolstered. Renegade is wider than many small SUVs too.
There is some hard plastic inside but many surfaces are soft-touch vinyl.
The interior of the Trailhawk features some unique nods to Jeep’s past. This includes things like a Jeep grille on the speaker housing, a mud splash for the redline on the tach, and a Moab topography map on the storage tray ahead of the gearshift. The heated seats and steering wheel will be especially welcomed on cold winter mornings out on the trails in the back country.
The back seats leave a little to be desired when it comes to room for adults, but this is a compact vehicle and not a full-size SUV. Storage capacity measures 18.5 cubic feet, and cargo room is sizable behind the rear seat, which folds flat.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
The 2016 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk features a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, two-speed transfer case, nine-speed automatic, and off-road equipment. The 2.4-liter power plant produces 180 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. The Renegade Trailhawk 4×4 comes in at 21/29 city/highway and 24 combined mpg according to the EPA estimates.
Fuel economy rates middle of the pack for a compact SUV.
In the city, Renegade drives like a small SUV and is particularly easy to maneuver in traffic or when navigating tight parking lots. Take it out on the highway and it offers a smooth ride with enough power for most driving situations. We tested the Trailhawk at high altitudes, going up steep mountain roads, and felt the small Jeep was underpowered when we needed it most. The 2.4-liter could use a bit more torque for pulling up steep inclines – it has to rev high to achieve its peak torque.
For city driving, most commuters will have sufficient power to get around urban streets and highways, however. The nine-speed transmission is better than a CVT, but wanted to hunt for the right gear as we pushed it hard up I-70 at altitude. The small SUV handled the two-lane mountain roads comfortably, coping with the curves. There was some body lean due to the higher profile.
The Trailhawk is designed for rugged terrain, and it can go off-road with its highly capable Trailhawk package and 8.7-inch ground clearance. Though mostly quiet on paved roads, the off-road tires do contribute to a noisier ride at higher speeds.
Those wanting a capable city commuter, ample cargo room, and flexibility with off-road capability, the Renegade Trailhawk is good entry-level Jeep. Its sufficiently refined as well as pleasantly capable for urban living. For the occasional weekend warrior who needs all-weather capability, the Trailhawk offers plenty to keep you comfortable and warm.
*Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy