2016 Jeep Renegade Limited 4×4 review: Intrigued, amused and impressed

2017 Jeep Renegade Limited 4x4

2016 Jeep Renegade Limited 4×4

We’ve been intrigued, amused and impressed by the Jeep Renegade ever since it arrived for the 2015 model year. Sharing a platform with the Fiat 500X, which can be equipped with all-wheel drive for moderate off-roading, the squared-rigged Renegade is available as a front-drive economy SUV, dubbed Renegade Sport, up to a four-wheel drive “Trail Rated” Renegade Trailhawk.

In between are the Jeep Renegade Latitude and the Jeep Limited. All Renegades are available with four-wheel drive—they’re all Jeeps—though only the Trailhawk has the two-speed transfer case with a low range for off-road slogging. We’ve reviewed the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk twice, first a 2015 model year first drive review where the off-roading was over desert terrain, and then again but a 2016 Renegade Trailhawk (no significant change) through sippi-style mud and water.

We haven’t been in the mid-range Latitude for any time, but we recently spent a week with a 2016 Jeep Renegade Limited. (Note: Jeep released to special editions for 2017, the Deserthawk, based on the Trailhawk, and the Altitude, joining similar trim packages in the Jeep lineup and based on the Renegade Latitude. The Jeep Renegade is little changed for the 2017 model year).

The narrowness of the 2017 Jeep Renegade Limited 4x4 shows in the proximity of the front seats.

The narrowness of the 2017 Jeep Renegade Limited 4×4 shows in the proximity of the front seats.

The Jeep Renegade Limited is, as its name suggests, the luxury version of Jeep’s baby SUV, and whether front or all-wheel drive—our test Limited was the latter—the Limited is equipped with Fiat Chrysler’s ubiquitous 2.4-liter Tigershark engine and nine-speed automatic transmission, rather than the 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine plus six-speed manual transmission standard on the Sport and Latitude models.

Setting the Limited apart from its lessers is more car-like trim, including premium leather seating (the Trailhawk has leather but not as nice, and otherwise it’s cloth) and front and rear carpeted floor mats as opposed to “all-weather” floor mats used in all the other Renegades. The steering wheels and shift knob are leather-wrapped as well. The driver’s seat is eight-way powered with four-way manual adjustment for the front passenger. The Limited also gets standard heated seats and a heated steering wheel, a definite delight on frosty mornings.

2017 Jeep Renegade Limited 4x4 instrument panel

The 2017 Jeep Renegade Limited 4×4 uses a splash of mud rather than a conventional redline to indicate maximum revs.

Fiat Chrysler’s Uconnect 5.0 infotainment is standard, along with voice control and a smallish 7.0-inch (when did that become small?) but legible and easy to use multi-information display on the centerstack. Speaking of displays, the Renegade was a wide driver information center between the speedometer and tachometer. The later, instead of a redline, had a mudline, maximum revs indicated with a smear of illustrated mud. Cute.

Also cute: Lots of “Easter eggs,” little Jeep symbols, the classic grille and headlights, such as on the side of the outside rearview mirror, the door speaker surround and the taillight lens—you find the rest—and “Since 1941” on the frame of the multi-information display.