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Jeep Review - 2016 Jeep Renegade Review By Larry Nutson

2016 Jeep Renegade (select to view enlarged photo)


2016 Jeep Renegade
Cooler than you might think!

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

A thought that crossed my mind when first driving the 2016 Jeep Renegade was that this would be a very suitable vehicle for a new teen driver.

The Renegade is small on the outside making it easy to maneuver and yet roomy on the inside. It offers good power as well as low fuel consumption. It’s versatile to carry any equipment and gear that a teen might have for extracurricular activities and has available safety features that will help them avoid accidents.

New teen drivers are often given the hand-me-down, oldest vehicle in the household to drive. Depending on the vehicle, this is not the best decision. Teen drivers need to learn through experience and time behind the wheel. Distracted driving by teens is a big issue. It’s bigger than you might think. The most common cause of teen distraction leading up to a crash is interacting with one or more passengers. Cellphone use is up there too, along with looking at something either inside or outside the vehicle.

2016 Jeep Renegade (select to view enlarged photo)

A vehicle like the 2016 Jeep Renegade offers the newest safety technology that will help avoid accidents. These are features that in my experience from driving many new vehicles each week, in and out, are really worth the added cost. I’m talking about driver-assistance features such as Blind-spot Monitor, Rear Cross Path detection, Lane Departure Warning-Plus, Forward Collision Warning-Plus and Rear Park Assist.

Some of these help out in low speed maneuvering when backing or parking and they just may help prevent that crunched rear bumper or avoiding the unseen pedestrian. Blind spot monitor can help the inexperienced driver in safely changing lanes. One of the best is Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning with Active Braking Plus that will warn you and automatically apply brakes if it detects your vehicle approaching another too rapidly.

2016 Jeep Renegade (select to view enlarged photo)

Just last year the 2015 Jeep Renegade was named by Kelley Blue Book one of the “10 Coolest New Cars Under $18,000.” What teen wouldn’t like a cool car along with driving a very safe vehicle.

For 2016 the Renegade is offered in Sport, Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk models. Base prices starts at $17,995 and go up to $26,745.

It’s a Jeep and as you would expect it comes with a 4x2 or 4x4 drive train. There are two engines to choose from. A 160HP turbo 1.4-Liter is standard on the Sport and Latitude. A 180HP 16-valve 2.4-Liter is standard on the Limited and Trailhawk and optional on the Sport and Latitude. A six-speed manual can be had with the 1.4-L or there’s a nine-speed automatic, which also is standard with the 2.4-L engine.

The Renegade has seating for five and the rear cargo area expands from 18.5 cuft to 50.8 cuft with the rear seat folded. Your teen will be able to help you on that run to Home Depot or your garden shop. The Renegade’s best EPA test-cycle fuel economy ratings are with the 1.4-L engine at 27 mpg combined with 31 highway mpg and 24 city mpg. The 2.4-L engine is rated a bit lower, but not much. EPA test-cycle ratings for the 4x4 model is 24 mpg combined, with 29 highway and 24 city mpg.

If your teen wants to tow something like a jet ski or snow mobile they’ll need a 4x4 model that can tow up to 2000 lbs.

I tested a well-equipped Renegade Latitude 4x4 with a base price of $23,395. It had the optional 180HP 2.4-L with the 9-speed automatic that added $1,480. A $595 cold weather group included heated front seats and a much-loved heated steering wheel. The Omaha Orange exterior would not have been my first choice, but it certainly made for high visibility.

Standard equipment included voice recognition, backup camera, iPod and Bluetooth compatibility, 5-inch touch screen and more. On the safety side for that new teen driver we often overlook that all new vehicles today have anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control. The bottom line was $27,310 including destination charge.

2016 Jeep Renegade (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The Renegade is very roomy. There’s good leg and shoulder room both front and rear and an abundance of headroom. The dash seemed a bit far away in my seating position but not to a fault. The higher seating does make for good outward visibility.

A cool Renegade option that makes for open-air fun that I tested at an event for convertibles is the My Sky dual-panel roof. It features secure panels that can be removed to open up the whole roof area over both the front and rear seats.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

My drive in this Renegade was limited to the highways and local streets around Chicagoland and it handled them quite well and comfortably. I have driven the Renegade off-road and it certainly is very much a Jeep. At the Midwest Automotive Media Association’s Fall Rally last year I had a chance to put the Renegade through the paces on some rough and tumble trails.

I would strongly urge a new(er) vehicle for a new, inexperienced driver. Shop around right here at More info and specs on the Renegade can be found at

2016 Jeep Renegade (select to view enlarged photo)

For safety technology, the National Safety Council and the University of Iowa have teamed up to provide an online, mobile- and tablet-friendly resource to help educate consumers. The website’s homepage lists the 28 technology and safety features present on vehicles today. Keep in mind that 95 percent of crashes are due to driver error.

We were fortunately able to provide both of our daughters new vehicles in their teen high school driving years. They drove accident free. I hope you can and will too.

© 2016 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

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