If you are looking for a cute urban commuter that’s still capable for weekend excursions to the high country, 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.
Our tester came with the Trailhawk 4×4 package. It just wouldn’t be a Jeep without it, right? This week, we drove the 2017 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4×4. One thing is for sure: it’s ready to take you away from civilization.
What’s New For 2017 & 2018
The 2017 and 2018 Jeep Renegade essentially carried over from 2016 with the Trailhawk as the top trim. Xenon headlights, automatic high beams, and keyless ignition and entry are new features.
Features & Options
The 2017 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4×4 ($26,895) 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 the optional navigation ($1,245) featuring a 6.5-inch touchscreen, HD radio, and Uconnect (includes extra safety features, a WiFi hotspot, and voice texting). A Cold Weather package ($545) included heated front seats, windshield wiper deicer, and a heated steering wheel. The Safety group ($645) included blind spot/cross path detection, a security alarm, and rear tonneau cover. It also came with remote start ($205).
Total MSRP including destination: $30,630.
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 an open 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.
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 or when hitting the trails in the back country on a ski trip. There is some hard plastic inside but many surfaces are soft-touch vinyl.
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 2017 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk features a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, two-speed transfer case, and off-road equipment. The 2.4-liter plant produces 180 horsepower and 175 lb-ft. of torque. It comes mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission driving all four wheels. The Renegade Trailhawk 4×4 comes in at 21/29 city/highway and 24 combined mpg according to 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 as we went. There was some body lean due to the higher profile, however.
The Trailhawk is designed for rugged terrain, and it can go off-road easily with its 8.7-inches of ground clearance. Though mostly quiet on paved roads, the off-road tires do contribute to a noisier ride at higher speeds. Heavy snow hit the Denver area this week but with a flip of the switch to 4-wheel high, we plowed through 8-inches of snow without issue. We felt confident in the vehicle’s ability to get us anywhere we need to go.
Those wanting a capable urban commuter, with ample cargo room, flexibility, and off-road capability, will find the Renegade Trailhawk is good entry-level Jeep. It’s sufficiently refined as well as pleasantly capable for urban living. For the occasional weekend warrior, the Trailhawk offers plenty to keep you comfortable and warm in the back country.
Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy