Home » The Jeep Renegade Was The Fiat-Based Jeep The Brand Needed After Bankruptcy. But It’s Time For It To Die

The Jeep Renegade Was The Fiat-Based Jeep The Brand Needed After Bankruptcy. But It’s Time For It To Die

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You might have heard the news already; maybe your uncle called or your mum dropped you a line. The Jeep Renegade is not long for this world, or, at least, the North American market. Sales have been declining for some time. It found itself in a marketplace swollen with compact SUVs, to say nothing of the competition it faced within its own brand, and it faltered against that challenge. As the model faces its end, it’s a good time to reflect on the Renegade for what it was and what it achieved for the Jeep brand.

The Renegade has stood as Jeep’s cheapest vehicle in the U.S. for some time. It hit the market for the 2015 model year, and chalked up 60,946 sales. 2016 went even better, pushing the model up to a healthy 106,605 units sold. That would be the peak for the Renegade, however, and it sold fewer units every year since. The drop off was particularly steep in recent years, with just 27,551 sold in 2022 and only 15,561 shifted this year. For an eight-year-old model, those numbers are enough to justify it being put out to pasture. Thus, Jeep made the call that the Renegade will be sold no more in the U.S. and Canada.

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As reported by Automotive News, Jeep has decided to focus “on SUV segments in North America that continue to grow,” noting the better performance of its more expensive models. The rest of the world isn’t so down on the cheap Jeep, though. It’s not a complete death sentence, as the Renegade will continue to be sold in Mexico, Europe, South America and the Asia Pacific region.

All New 2015 Jeep® Renegade New York Auto Show Debut
Early on, Jeep was eager to show that the new subcompact deserved to wear the badge.

It’s worth remembering that the Renegade came along at an important time for the company. it was built on the FCA Small Wide 4×4 platform, shared primarily with the Fiat 500X. In the model’s debut at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, it was shown off as the fruits of the collaboration between the two companies. Fiat had taken Jeep and Chrysler under its wing after the bankruptcy, and now it was helping the American brands get back on their feet. When sales got off to a good start, it certainly didn’t hurt, and the funky subcompact Jeep earned its place in the lineup as a gateway model.

When it was new to the scene, the Renegade acquitted itself well. It was well-equipped and modern with a fresh aesthetic and an eagerness to please. Contemporary reviews credited its handling and character, and noted that the Trailhawk model had great off-road capability for a vehicle in its class. It was roomier than quite a lot of the competition, could be had in front-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive to taste.

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2015 Jeep® Renegade Trailhawk
The Trailhawk was the off-road star of the range.

The problem for the Renegade is that the world moved on, and it just… didn’t. Younger, prettier competitors came along. The Renegade began to slip in sales, while the Jeep Compass, the next size up in the range, held strong. A 2019 mild facelift failed to reverse the decline in sales, nor did a new infotainment system for the 2022 model year. Earlier this year, there was a 753-day supply of Jeep Renegades on dealer lots, demand was so low. Indeed, if you’re reading this and suddenly want to buy one, you can probably still get one with little to no waiting. As we’ve found, it could make a decent budget rallycross rig if you were that way inclined.

After eight years, it was time for Jeep to make a call. With the current Renegade no longer selling, it was coming time to either release a new Renegade or cut the model from the U.S. market entirely. The fact that we haven’t been seeing a trickle of new Renegade spy shots over the last 12 to 18 months is perhaps a hint that Jeep had been building towards this decision for some time.

2018 Jeep® Renegade Latitude

The Renegade will likely stick around in foreign markets for some time. In those areas, smaller vehicles are often more appreciated anyway, and sales are strong enough for Jeep to keep the lines alive. Stateside, it’s unlikely Jeep will take too much damage from the decision, though. Adept dealers will practice guiding an eager buyer into the slightly larger Compass. Indeed, along with the loss of the Cherokee earlier this year, the salesperson’s job should be easier than ever.

In any case, we’ll raise a glass to the Renegade. It was never the most capable Jeep, or the most desirable, but it was the most affordable. It did an able job for its time, and did its part to keep the lights on in Toledo (even if it was built overseas). It could still rough and tumble in the dirt, and it earned that seven-slot grille. Vale.

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Image credits: Jeep

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Logan King
Logan King
4 months ago

I remember for the first couple years you could get it with a white leather interior with orange accents and I thought it was the coolest interior I’d seen in an American car since the 1980s and I look at them now and you can only get them in black. Sad.

JDE
JDE
4 months ago

imagine if they pulled a 180, left the styling and size pretty much the same, but managed to get Suzuki to give them a Jimny under the skin.

7Cincinnatus
7Cincinnatus
4 months ago

I bought a 2018 with 20kmi in ’21 for just under $20k. It has the 1.4T and the 6MT, dressed in silver on black with black steelies. It is by no means fast, but it’s the best slow-car-fast I’ve ever had the pleasure of flogging. When that turbo hits in 3rd or 4th merging onto a highway, my daring little toaster leaps to it with a will, evoking thoughts of Brock Yate’s favorite simian analogy. My first love was a 98′ 5MT Forester and with the huge square greenhouse, decent AWD, absolute buckets of character when driven in anger and acceptable manners when the wife’s riding along, my Rene is 100% its spiritual successor (but with Bluetooth!). I have loaded it with ~800lb of cinderblocks, towed a rented hydraulic auger, survived Northeastern winters living on a hilltop, and daily it at 90mph, with nary a whisper of complaint. It is all things to at least this man. I will always love my 6-speed manual, turbocharged, Italian-built hatchback (which is my favorite way to describe it to people).

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
4 months ago

This a loss, the little Renegade was always an underrated fella, I almost bought a manual one after a test drive, it was a blast. And to put things in perspective, when the Renegade launched as the cheapest vehicle in Jeeps line up it was what, $16k base (sure that was without A/C but still, cheap). Now the cheapest Jeep is the Compass, which looks the same as it has for years, despite having a better engine, and starts at just under $30k….absolutely nuts in less than a decade.

Pat Rich
Pat Rich
4 months ago

The renegade was a great looking Jeep that had a lot of potential, much like its predecessor the Patriot. But unlike the Patriot it actually lived up to some of its potential and was actually viable transportation, so it was a huge win in that regard.

Seriously though, what is it with Jeep making great looking B segment cars and just truly awful cars between it and the larger Grand Cherokee? Imagine if the KL Cherokee actually looked more like the Renegade?

rctothefuture
rctothefuture
4 months ago

I love the Renegade, my wife had a yellow Trailhawk that she drove for several trouble free years. We ended up selling it as we wnated more room for our stuff and our dogs. That said, the car we sold a few years ago is pretty much the same as a new one on the lot.

Is the new motor better? Eh, maybe? The Tigershark 2.4 was not a great motor, but it was pretty reliable and did it’s job well. I loved the 1.4T with a 6 speed manual. When I worked at Jeep we had a few on the lot and driving a Jeep that made Fiat 500 Abarth noises was just a hoot.

I hate to see it go, just make it an EV with 250 mi of range and sell it!

Flyingtoothpick71
Flyingtoothpick71
4 months ago

my dad had a 2015 trail hawk that we had on 35s, and pretty well built, it was his daily driver and we took it out to moab twice and it was honestly really impressive for a small independent suspension little thing. we both loved how it drove both on the road and off. we both were (and I still am) more accustomed to older vehicles, so the luxury of it was very refreshing.

Dan Bee
Dan Bee
4 months ago

How much lift was required to fit the 35″s?

Flyingtoothpick71
Flyingtoothpick71
4 months ago
Reply to  Dan Bee

this was in 2017, and my dad’s rig, I don’t remember. I don’t think it was much but we cut the fenders a little too.

Flyingtoothpick71
Flyingtoothpick71
4 months ago

talking to my dad they were actually 33’s. I thought they were bigger than that, but I was wrong

Kalieaire
Kalieaire
4 months ago

Yes, thankfully it’s finally dead. Can we get some quality in here now? A 4-door Jimny with a 1.4 or 1.5 liter turbo would be great.

PresterJohn
PresterJohn
4 months ago

The manual versions of these are already starting to come down into beater price ranges and they will shine in that role

Jason
Jason
4 months ago

Just for clarity, Mexico is the North America market.

RalliartWagon
RalliartWagon
4 months ago

“…if you’re reading this and suddenly want to buy one, you can probably still get one with little to no waiting.”

Near me, there are still 2022 model years on dealer lots, and it’s basically 2024. There will be no trouble buying new Renegades for the next 6 months, easily.

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
4 months ago

This bums me out. The renegade is a great small SUV, awesome styling, relatively efficient, etc. THE PRICES IS STUPID THOUGH! Instead of fixing the price, they just kill it?

Ok boomers.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
4 months ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

I wouldn’t call it “great”. Acceptable, sure, and even competent in some aspects. But they still can’t get the transmission figured out, the engines are problematic, and they are a poor purchase from a financial standpoint given the overflow of supply and low demand. Unless you can get a brand new one with a manual transmission (and arguably even then) I’d wait until the dealers start the “fire sale”, if then.

Andre Thibodeaux
Andre Thibodeaux
4 months ago

I thought that “Dying Jeeps” was David Tracy’s beat

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
4 months ago

Back when the Renegade first launched, they were one of my favorite rental cars. They weren’t particularly great at anything, but they had charm and quirks and were more fun than a comparable Sentra or Corolla. I agree with others that the pricing simply got insane with them, but I’m otherwise disappointed to see the Renegade die rather than get a refresh and an MSRP correction.

Last edited 4 months ago by Squirrelmaster
Baron Usurper
Baron Usurper
4 months ago

Compass probably won’t last too much longer either. Gotta push those buyers to the GC/Wrangler/Wagoneer. Those margins won’t inflate themselves.

RalliartWagon
RalliartWagon
4 months ago
Reply to  Baron Usurper

I doubt it. They just killed the Cherokee and Renegade so the Compass could live. Gotta get people in the door, to upsell them to the GC.

Rabob Rabob
Rabob Rabob
4 months ago
Reply to  RalliartWagon

It’s kind of crazy that the Compass name has outlived the Cherokee. That’s a big fail.

Captain Zoll
Captain Zoll
4 months ago
Reply to  Rabob Rabob

The MK74/KL is an automobile so abysmal that it ruins the reputation of any name you give it.

They branded it “patriot” upon its invention, but its simultaneous proclivities to cease existing on this earth and make its occupants suffer under every moment of its operation, deservedly ruined its reputation.
Thus, Jeep was forced to burn any remaining contaminated “Patriot” badges and advertising paraphernalia, and drag the “Cherokee” name kicking and screaming onto the tailgate, to once again last only one generation.

Madewithgenuineparts
Madewithgenuineparts
4 months ago
Reply to  Captain Zoll

It was Cherokee -> Liberty -> Cherokee, and was sold as the Cherokee in the rest of the world the whole time.

Captain Zoll
Captain Zoll
4 months ago

the KJ and KK cherokees/libertys are fine, it’s just the KL (which is a patriot, you can’t persuade me otherwise) that’s the problem.

Alex
Alex
4 months ago

So I’ll get my bias out, I own a 2018 Renegade Latitude 2.4 4×4 in Solar Yellow. I love my little Jeep. It’s a solid little car, it’s quirky, and it’s technically a Fiat. Which, since I grew up watching Top Gear, I have a thing for the Panda and I figure it’s the closest I’m getting.

The pros:

-Interior utilisation is excellent. It’s very roomy on the inside for what it is. Four grown adults can fit in mine comfortably.

– the AWD system is actually really good.

-lots of features. Mine has stuff like a heated wiper blade rest for the front windshield, heated seats and steering wheel, keyless start, remote start, Android auto, etc.

-fit and finish is good.

Cons

-fuel economy is not the greatest if you do mostly city. My commute is 80 hwy 20 city. I’ve gotten as high as 30.4. Right now I’m averaging around 26. Which to me is acceptable for what is essentially a 4300 pound box. They do make a hybrid Rene, but it’s European market only. Potential missed opportunity here.

-price. I bought mine used at 4 years old with 51k for 19k. New it was around 30k. 2023 Limiteds have been on lots around me for $35k. You could get into a used Grand Cherokee for that price.

It had a 9 year run here, it did well, all things considered.

TriangleRAD
TriangleRAD
4 months ago

I guess I’m in the minority as a long-time and highly-satisfied Renegade owner. Of course, I did not enter into this ownership looking to “own a Jeep.” I didn’t even spring for the 4WD because I didn’t want the extra cost, weight, and maintenance. I saw a 5-door family hatchback with the turbo motor from a 500 Abarth, a 6-speed manual, great usable interior space and spirited handling (variable dampening Koni struts all around from the factory.) Also I liked the styling, I could get it in orange, and it was 22k out the door brand-new in August 2015.

At the time I felt I was rolling the dice on reliability, but I rolled ’em. Not having the 2.4L Tigershark, the ZF 9-speed auto, or the 4WD system, I felt I had at least eliminated the most potentially problematic items.

But I did not really expect to be sitting here, eight years and 160,000 miles later, still daily driving that Renegade, and having had no problems with it other than a uConnect head unit replaced under warranty, and replacing the radiator myself.

Granted, I have religiously maintained it, with oil changes every 5000 miles, and timing belt and all other maintenance items done approximately on time. I’m at the point now where I can change the oil and filter in under 20 minutes.

The 1.4L turbo Renegade is not fast, never has been. That little motor works hard, but it keeps on doing it, knock on wood. It has been the best little small-family hauler. It’s taken road trips with dogs in the back and bikes on the roof. It’s done everything I’ve asked of it like an eager and faithful puppy. My daughter has grown up in it, it’s carried her to the beach, the mountains, and to Christmas at Grandma’s.

I’ll miss my Renegade when it’s gone, whenever that turns out to be. I would have bought another one by now if they’d sell me one set up like this, but as we all know they won’t. I really want to have one more manual daily before I have to go hybrid/electric/whatever..but there’s not a lot of options. There’s nothing really like this available anymore, a manual 5-door with space like this, with a small, almost square footprint. There’s stuff like the Mini Countryman, but I recognize that I’ve been very lucky with this amazingly reliable car from a historically unreliable brand, and I can’t expect that to happen twice.

I guess I’ll just keep the Renegade as long as I can.

MikuhlBrian
MikuhlBrian
4 months ago
Reply to  TriangleRAD

You aren’t the only one. My boyfriend picked up a 2015 Renegade Trailhawk brand new, also in the orange color. It has the bigger engine, automatic and 4×4. Really his only gripe is that for such a small trucklet, it gets abysmal gas mileage. He doesn’t drive it a lot (our 2020 Ram has 55K miles and his only has 39K miles), but does love it. The only time it was sent back to the dealer was when the battery went tits up and the whole dash lit up. All of the computers had to be reset and sync’d again when the new battery was in stalled. Recently, after 8 years the clear coat on the top hatch spoiler started to bubble and peel.

TriangleRAD
TriangleRAD
4 months ago
Reply to  MikuhlBrian

Hey my hatch spoiler has recently starting doing exactly the same thing! My Renegade is parked outside so that my 1988 Nissan 200SX can live in the garage (priorities). So after 8 years it’s not unexpected that some clear coat issues would start to…ahem….bubble up. I haven’t done anything about it as of yet. It’s not a part of the vehicle that is often seen, and the rest of the paint looks pretty much like new aside from a few small scratches. This is the most recent picture I can find, taken in June.

If you come up with a solution to the hatch spoiler clearcoat issue, please let me know.

As for fuel economy, yeah it’s a bit over 3000 lbs and shaped like a brick. The 1.4 is on boost a lot of the time to move it around, so I average about 25-26 mpg in mixed driving. On the highway the mileage varies greatly by speed. My record was a trip from Carlisle, PA to Buffalo, NY, all highway and at speeds of 65 mph and below due to being in a convoy with a motorhome and a ’67 Chrysler Newport with cooling issues. The Renegade got 36.5 mpg on that trip. Typical road trip mileage at more normal 70-80 mph speeds is closer to 31-32.

Last edited 4 months ago by TriangleRAD
MikuhlBrian
MikuhlBrian
4 months ago
Reply to  TriangleRAD

We found a used hatch spoiler in the same color on eBay. That was the easiest way to get it fixed. I don’t think that the spoiler cost all that much money, just took a while to find one in the orange color.

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