Jeep Renegade SUV - Interior & comfort
Despite its raised ride height, the Jeep Renegade offers poor visibility, while the interior can get noisy at speed
The Renegade's boxy shape and wide-opening doors mean it's a practical and spacious car despite its compact size. However, the headrests on the front seats don't adjust high enough, so they dig uncomfortably into your shoulders. However, the Renegade's main annoyance as an everyday car is its poor visibility due to thick window pillars. For such a small car, it's remarkably difficult to place when parking.
Despite being tuned to cope with harsh terrain, the Renegade is comfortable on the road. Its square shape means wind noise is a problem at motorway speeds, but it’s far from the least refined car in the class. All models suffer from road noise, too, but the worst offender is the Trailhawk model – its special grippy tyres transmit more noise into the interior than the other models. Its ride is comfortable, though, even in versions with 18-inch alloy wheels and the heavy 4xe model, which has to lug a battery pack and electric motor around.
Jeep Renegade dashboard
Soft-touch plastics are used for the main dashboard panel, but look a little further down and harder materials reduce the Renegade’s feeling of quality. Keen-eyed experts will spot clues that Jeep is now owned by Fiat, such as the steering wheel from a Fiat Panda. The Jeep also features some of Fiat's 'squircle' (square circle) shapes inside, although these cute details are somewhat at odds with the rugged exterior.
Of the numerous trim levels, our favourite is Longitude, which features automatic climate control plus rear parking sensors and the large 8.4-inch infotainment display with sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Longitude is now the entry model, so no Renegade goes without the desirable features we’ve just mentioned. There are plenty of fun details that enliven the interior, such as the mud-splatter graphic in the rev counter and several Jeep logos. The Night Eagle spec adds exclusive styling upgrades and badging.
Limited is the next step up, and brings front parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, leather upholstery, heated seats, a heated steering wheel and LED lights front and rear. The S trim (new for 2020 and only offered with the 1.3-litre petrol engine) brings rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry and extra styling additions.
The top-spec Trailhawk version feels more rugged, with carpet mats swapped for rubber flooring, but the changes run much deeper than that. It gets a more advanced four-wheel-drive system that can deal with a wider range of off-road conditions. An increased ride height of 20mm means it can traverse rougher terrain, while skid plates protect the underside of the car if it does make contact with the ground.
Revised front and rear bumpers mean the Trailhawk can also climb and descend steep hills and, if you do get stuck, it has prominent towing eyes front and rear. Despite its emphasis on off-road driving, the Trailhawk is also the most comfortable model on road (despite being a touch noisier), thanks to chunky tyres that cushion you from ruts and bumps.
Jeep has teamed up with parts specialist Mopar to offer a list of more than 100 exclusive accessories for the Renegade, covering everything from external customisation to parking sensors and on-board wi-fi.
It's worth mentioning that the Renegade can be equipped with a range of vibrant trim options. It's a good idea to consider spending a little money on brightening up the interior, as standard cars get a bland, all-black dashboard which only serves to highlight the scratchy plastics.
All cars now get a crisp and modern 8.4-inch touchscreen. Searching for nearby points of interest is a little fiddly and brings up limited results, but overall the Renegade’s sat nav works well.
The large screen also has a faster processor to make it more responsive. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto work with the device and there’s a new app called Jeep Skills that measures off-road performance, including everything from the angle of the steering wheel to G-force.
The lane-departure warning system is also pretty effective. It allows you to select from three strengths of feedback provided by the steering wheel, while you can also adjust the system’s sensitivity. We found the most sensitive setting to be over-cautious, though, triggering warnings unless the car was dead centre in its lane.