Cheap Jeep: The 2016 Jeep Renegade Sport 4X4

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Jeep Renegade Sport 4X4
2016 Jeep Renegade Sport 4X4.
The phrase "small, inexpensive Jeep" causes great heartburn among the Jeep faithful.  There is the contingent that believes the only true Jeep is the original CJ, the current generation of which we now call the Wrangler, and that it was always meant to be small and inexpensive,  Another group has wholeheartedly embraced everything from the wood-paneled 1980s and 90s Grand Wagoneers to today's Grand Cherokee, but knows that, from the evidence of the Compass and Patriot models, when Jeep tries to go small and cheap something gets lost in the translation, and the product ends up being a lesser one (Patriot) or not a Jeep at all (Patriot).

When word got out that the next small Jeep, the Renegade, would actually be based on the same platform as the Fiat 500L and built in Italy, the predictions of a disaster were fast and furious.

Rear 3/4 view of 2016 Jeep Renegade Sport
2016 Jeep Renegade Sport 4X4.
And they were wrong.  The Renegade turns out to be the right vehicle at the right time.  At exactly the moment when every automaker needs a subcompact crossover, Jeep has the Renegade.  At exactly the moment when Millennials are getting deep into their 20s and realizing that there are advantages to owning a vehicle, Jeep has the Renegade.  They are likely to buy inexpensive, funky crossovers, anyway.  Why not hook them into a Jeep?

The price is certainly right. The least-expensive model, the two-wheel drive Renegade Sport, has a base price of $17,995. Go for four-wheel drive, as in our test vehicle, and that increases to $19,995. For that money, there's an economical yet not underpowered 1.4-liter, 160 horsepower, turbocharged inline four cylinder and a six-speed manual transmission.  The pairing results in some good fuel economy estimates from the EPA: 24 city/31 highway.  Other standard equipment, along with a comparison to the other Renegade trims, can be found here.

Interior view of 2016 Jeep Renegade
2016 Jeep Renegade interior.
Our test vehicle came with several extra-cost options: An upgraded audio system with backup camera, voice command, Bluetooth, a touchscreen display and backup camera ($695), the Power and Air Group including power heated mirrors, air conditioning (no, it's not standard---Ed.) and speed control ($1,495), My Sky fitted removable roof panels ($1,095) and black side roof rails ($195).  With $995 destination charge, the as-tested price came to $24,470.

When it comes right down to it, the Jeep Renegade Sport is so reasonably priced to start, economical to operate, easy to drive, and just plain cheerful that even the doubters would probably end up loving it after a test drive.  This is the machine that will make a new generation love Jeep the rest of their lives.