The Trailhawk trim gets an additional Rock terrain drive mode over the rest of the lineup.
The Jeep brand has long been associated with ruggedness and off-road prowess. The Wrangler (reviewed here) is a great option for those that hobby in off-roading, however, its on-road comfort is compromised despite being significantly improved in the latest generation. For those frequently commuting in the city, but wants to explore the wilderness during their leisure time, Jeep introduced the Renegade in 2015, and we’ve sampled their most off-road capable version yet, the 2020 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4×4.
The Renegade The Trailhawk trim gets an additional Rock terrain drive mode over the rest of the lineup hawk arrived in our garage looking fun and youthful in a Jetset Blue colour. The Trailhawk is the most outdoorsy trim available, both in terms of styling and for its mechanical capabilities. It features a more rugged appearance with a blacked-out grille, hood decal, side mirrors, and an additional two-inches of ride height. The plastic side claddings are functional to protect the painted body panels from stone chips and damage when you are out on the trails, and there are bright red tow hooks in case those 17-inch all-season tires get stuck. There are classic Jeep graphics laid all over the Renegade, from its classic seven slot grille, to various little symbols to remind you of its lineage and more importantly, the Trail Rated capability.
Two engines are offered in the 2020 Jeep Renegade. In the more basic trims, a 2.4-litre Tigershark engine with 180-horsepower and 175 lb-ft. of torque can be found under the hood. For the higher end models such as this Trailhawk, you will find a new 1.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine pumping out 177-horsepower and 200 lb-ft. of torque. In our tester, we noted good acceleration as long as the turbocharger is kept spooling. Turbo lag is evident, but kept under control thanks to the hardworking nine-speed automatic gearbox that does not hesitate to downshift when power is needed.
Steering is light, and while there is not a lot of feel to it, though the Renegade does not feel disconnected from the road. Driving the Renegade is quite easy, except that the firm chassis and suspension setup makes the vehicle feel very jumpy especially at highway speeds. The Trailhawk trim gets an additional Rock terrain drive mode over the rest of the lineup through its off-road ready Jeep Selec-Terrain system, and an improved 21.5:1 crawl ratio along with a Hill-Descent control system to help overcome tough conditions.
Benefits of the Renegade Trailhawk’s 1.3-litre turbocharged engine includes improved fuel efficiency. Jeep rates consumption at 10.1L/100km in the city, 8.1L/100km on the highway and a combined 9.2L/100km. Our observed fuel economy was a disappointing 11.0L/100km in a city-heavy setting, and what makes it worse is that the Renegade recommends premium fuel for its small 48-litre tank, something not seen anywhere else in the segment.
The ruggedness of the Renegade’s exterior carries over to the interior design, where we observe a utilitarian design that prioritizes function over form. The materials are easy to clean, buttons are oversized to allow for use with gloves, and there are many well thought out storage spaces to maximize practicality. We particularly liked the smartphone holder next to the cupholders; too often we find ourselves not having a dedicated spot for our phones and they end up in a cupholder by default. The Trailhawk model comes with a special two-tone Ruby Red with Black interior, brightening the cabin and giving it even more sportiness.
Interior room in the Renegade is decent, with acceptable space for all occupants. The interior is surprisingly quiet, with not much other than tire noise transmitted inside despite the boxy shape. With the Trailhawk trim’s unique Trail Rated capability comes a very firm ride that is quite uncomfortable on-road; we would strongly recommend buyers to compare it with the regular trims before buying if urban commuting is a priority. Renegade 4×4 models have a towing capacity of up to 2,000 pounds.
Infotainment is delivered by a standard Uconnect 4 system, which accepts commands through an upgraded 8.4-inch touchscreen display. GPS navigation is included as part of the upgraded system, and our tester was equipped with an optional Kenwood nine-speaker premium audio system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity is included with the user-friendly Uconnect 4 system, but we wish the system could display off-road statistics like the software found in the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator models (reviewed here).
Driver assist features on the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk are curiously missing. The rest of the lineup gets an optional Advanced Technology Group that comes with Forward Collision Warning with Active Braking, Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist, Rear Park Assist, and Adaptive Cruise Control systems, however that optional package is omitted for the Trailhawk trim. The only active assist feature that was included in our tester was the optional Blind-Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross-Path Detection system.
Base pricing for the 2020 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4X4 starts at $34,445, and our tester was equipped with the Uconnect 8.4 NAV group for $995, Safety & Security Group for $890, Premium Leather Group for $1,995, Power dual-pane panoramic sunroof for $1,595, Kenwood Premium audio system for $995, bringing the as-tested total to $40,915.
At this price point, buyers can find far stronger options for a subcompact crossover if space and comfort are high on the priority list. Rivals like the Subaru Crosstrek (reviewed here) and the Nissan Qashqai offer smooth rides and a bit more usable space. However, the 2020 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4×4 comes with an undenied off-road capability that is second to none in its class, and finds its niche in being compact and urban friendly when compared to the more hardcore Wrangler.