Fun and funky, the 2021 Jeep Renegade is a surprising package of zippy get-up-and-go. While the exterior may lead you to believe it’s not a real outdoorsy Jeep, don’t be fooled into thinking this compact SUV is just a good-looking city dweller. The Renegade has quite a bit of goat-like spirit that so many Jeep lovers seek in the Wrangler, but in a smaller, shinier size. Also nice? Pricing is pretty affordable for all who want the Jeep capability without breaking the bank.
The 2021 Renegade comes in five trims with three sub-trims and ranges in price from $22,850 to $28,945 before adding any options or destination fees. Some new features are added to the standard equipment list for the base trim, including several driver-assisted safety features, and some new trim options will spice up the offerings for more driving-related fun. However, we want to showcase the Trailhawk model, as this is the Renegade specifically designed for going off the beaten path. It comes with several features to take the Renegade out into the untamed spaces of the countryside and has a lot of personality inside and out.
Trailhawk Standard Features
If you purchase a Jeep Renegade Trailhawk, you might be amazed by the features which allow this vehicle to manage the off-road feats it can handle. For starters, the standard engine is a turbocharged 1.3-liter inline-four that generates 177 hp with 210 lb-ft of torque. This engine is paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission for smooth shifting over any surface.
This little compact Jeep has some chops, with four-wheel drive, skid plates to protect the underbody, and tow hooks. 17-inch wheels with all-season on-and-off-road tires and sealed electrical hardware to prevent shorting while water fording are perfect for exploring. And it can tow up to 2,000 pounds to boot. All this comes together in a Jeep that has earned its Trail Rated badge.
In terms of appearance, the exterior certainly won’t blend into a crowd. With wildly bright colors, those round eye-like headlights, the boxy and almost cube-like shape, and the signature X in the taillights, the Renegade is head-turning. The Trailhawk’s interior has the most personality of all the Renegade trims, with bright colors in the console, accents, and stitching. It will come with comforts like heated seats with lumbar control, dual-zone climate control, the bigger 8.4-inch infotainment screen, wireless phone connectivity, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. More importantly, one of the safety features is stability control with anti-roll, which is a good match for the most off-road-oriented Renegade trim.
Since off-roading is what owning a Jeep is really about, this is where the fun will be. Jeeps are always about going places no other vehicle dares to go, and the Renegade is like a younger sibling of the Wrangler. The mechanical equipment for the Trailhawk raises the suspension for better ground clearance, it has skid plates to protect the underbody of the vehicle, it has front and rear tow hooks to allow for easy rescuing in case the vehicle gets stuck, and the four-wheel drive has a low-gear ratio to allow for crawling on inclines. Jeep’s Renegade can also ford water up to 19 inches, thanks in part to a high air intake and good sealing.
What it doesn’t have is the kind of clearance you would find on the Wrangler. If you want that, you have to shell out for a Wrangler. On the other hand, the Trailhawk version of the Renegade will deliver more off-road capability than even larger and more powerful SUVs on the market due to its design. Because it has better approach and departure angles, it won’t scrape the bottom like other SUVs when you take your Renegade up and down bald mountain sides.
The selectable drive modes will handle the terrain either automatically or by manually switching. What might be the most fun is rock mode, which you won’t find in other drive mode selectors. Add to that mode the active Drive Low feature, and you can crawl over rocky, steep terrain just like the big boy Jeeps.
If you opt for the splash guards for extra measure, you can cut down on the amount of mud you get on the windshield while you hit the muddy tracks in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately, the Trailhawk comes with headlight washers, and you get cornering fog lights to help you see around the bend if you happen to be splashing around in the dark. For those days when you want to be really adventurous, you can rely on the navigation to keep you headed in the right direction, even out in the middle of nowhere. When you aren’t aware of how much braking you should do on the inclines, the hill descent control will automatically apply the brakes to keep your Renegade from slipping or rolling too fast.
Technology for Trails
Jeep’s 2021 Renegade Trailhawk will come loaded with the Uconnect 4 system, which has a comprehensive set of features to make going off-road easier. The navigation is key since it will operate anywhere and will ensure you don’t lose your way in unfamiliar territory, and the built-in WiFi will mean connectivity everywhere you go. Through the Uconnect system, your smartphone integrates with either Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, and if you have Alexa services at home, you can also connect Alexa to your Jeep. While you’re still at home, you can tell Alexa to program the navigation on your Renegade with all the trails you plan to attack for the day, and then ask it to remind you to stop at the grocery store on the way home.
When Not on the Trail…
The beauty of owning a Renegade is that it has a much easier transition into regular driving situations than other off-road oriented vehicles. This compact SUV rides smoothly on roads and has a lovely suspension to soak up those bumps—on and off the road. Little extras like a moveable cargo floor in the trunk area, mesh cargo nets in the doors, and handy spots for phones and small items are as convenient for everyday life as they are when you head out of town to escape everything.
Accommodate the groceries in the trunk, or toss your muddy equipment back there. Your kids can just as easily be safely latched into the back seat as in any other vehicle, and you have an infotainment screen that can stream entertainment to keep them busy while you run errands. When you want to head out with your kayaks, bikes, or skis, you have handy rails for all your equipment to go on the roof. The Renegade Trailhawk also has great fuel efficiency, with four-wheel drive models getting 22 MPG in the city and 27 MPG on the highway.
The Perfect Little Off-Road Jeep
There are additional packages and features that can be added to the Trailhawk to trick it out a little, which is much more doable with the low pricing of this funky SUV. Upgrading to the Kenwood audio system, leather seats, adaptive cruise control, and the sunroof that can slide open to give you that true open-air Jeep feel could make your Trailhawk a vehicle your friends will envy. When you want the best of exploring the outdoors and city life, the 2021 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk is the answer.