Ace of Base: 2018 Jeep Renegade Sport 4×2

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Yes, I know. You’re all yelling at me for displaying the machine shown above in that obnoxious shade of Nuclear Green (it’s actually Hypergreen, according to Jeep). However, the color’s very availability is what cemented today’s post after finding the bargain-basement Nissan Kicks is only available on the greyscale.

This irritates me to no end. I totally get why certain carmakers reserve eye-popping hues for higher-spec trims: transaction prices, profits, and the Ferengi Rule of Acquisition That doesn’t mean I have to like it.

The base model Renegade is not perfect. Chiefly, it is offered without air conditioning, a sin for which any vehicle costing $18,445 should not escape unpunished. Plus, there remains the uncomfortable fact that one is piloting a front-wheel-drive Jeep — a wince-inducing revelation given the brand’s legendary off-road history and trail cred.

If you can live with that, a base Renegade begins to look more appealing. Its 1.4-liter inline-four is helped along by a turbocharger, putting out 160 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. Critically, and unlike most of its competition, a six-speed manual transmission is the other half of a Renegade Sport’s power team.

The little Jeepster has a couple of trick storage solutions inside, features that do not disappear on the el-cheapo trim. The rear cargo floor is height adjustable, multiplying the amount of space back there (assuming the items you want to store on the new lower level are not very tall). Tie downs abound for those practicing, or pretending to practice, an all-important ACTIVE LIFESTYLE.

Infotainment is definitely of the, erm, entry-level variety, but does include a 5.0-inch touchscreen running a version of FCA’s admittedly good Uconnect system — an interface that’s largely lag-free. This is more than can be said on some high-dollar offerings. There are USB and AUX ports, important since satellite radio is unavailable at this end of the spectrum. Air and cruise will dent your wallet to the tune of $1,495. I’m digging those base-spec black steel wheels, in case you’re wondering. You’re probably not.

Depending on the area of the country in which one lives, Jeep is currently willing to throw $3,000 on the hood of a base Renegade just for asking. Shrewd shoppers will surely bargain away a few more Simoleons. In those markets, a price of under $15,000 before destination and taxes is not out of the question.

The Jeep brand is red-hot these days, largely thanks to the Cherokee and Wrangler and Compass, so I wouldn’t be surprised to learn some of that shine is rubbing off on the Renegade in the form of slightly higher than expected resale prices – not Honda or Toyota levels, mind you, but perhaps better than even a couple of years ago.

I do think the Nissan represents a better overall value, as its true sticker price is well south of the Jeep’s, yet it’s pinned to a machine that includes air conditioning, cruise control, double the number of USB ports, yadda yadda yadda. Send a few of the base S models through a snazzily-equipped paint booth, Nissan, and you’ll find the Kicks in this series soon enough.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones that have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and is priced in Freedom Dollars. As always, your dealer may sell for less.

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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3 of 72 comments
  • Flipper35 Flipper35 on Jun 07, 2018

    The Jeep must be pretty bad if a Nissan has better value or Nissan has gotten significantly better the last couple years.

  • MoparDave MoparDave on Jun 07, 2018

    2017-version owner of Ace of Base Renegade Sport 4x2 (and, yes, Hyper Green)posting here.... Yes, I'll admit I bought the basic, no-options-having version. I can live without a/c myself (I can get away with this living in western Washington state), Maybe it is from years of owning cars without/not having functioning a/c,it not having air conditioning isn't a deal breaker for me. My Renegade has been reliable, useful, versatile,roomy,has more than adequate passenger space,gets decent mileage, and is fun-to drive. (I kinda like the 1.4 turbo/6-speed manual combo, thank you). Not all of us absolutely HAS to have all-wheel-drive version just because the name badge says 'Jeep'. I get along fine with front wheel drive and traction control. If I want to go do some serious off-roading, there is a 2016 Wrangler in my driveway (also non a/c equipped..)that works rather well. I'm not the type of buyer who peruses Consumer Reports, prints out a gazillion spreadsheets,and comparison shops every single car in the class (good for buying a new refrigerator or toaster, kinda buzzkill & not fun if you are looking for something that is fun and has a personality). I got mine, I like it, and recommend it for anyone looking for something fun to drive and having a personality.

    • Bill h. Bill h. on Jun 08, 2018

      Ours is a 2015 Latitude 4x4, but with the 1.4 turbo/6 speed manual. Hitting 40k miles now, and we still like it quite a lot. It's not as quick as a lot of cars, but the throttle travel seems a bit longer than my other cars too, so maybe that's part of it. But it'll move when it has to, and pulls more strongly above 3000 rpms. The Latitude is maybe a decent option for the 4x4, but still having the manual and also the a/c. We don't try to take it on trails, but we do drive on occasion on unpaved back roads, where it does fine. I like the handling (short wheelbase is part of it, of course) and it has adequate space. It works well in cities too, where the suspension holds up against potholed streets and doesn't take up a lot of parking space. I actually don't use premium fuel in it all the time; in any case 30 mpg or better is pretty routine for my driving style, in mixed conditions. Oh, and ours is the bright Smurf (Sierra) Blue, which sadly they only had on the '15s. Maybe it's not a "real" Jeep, but then I tend to drive mine more like the Italian sourced car that it is, with a little gusto and around the HR-Vs and Encores who tend to be a little more sedately driven. I've no experience with the 2.4/auto models, but I can't imagine them being as fun.

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  • GIJOOOE “Sounds” about as exciting as driving a golf cart, fake gear shifts or not. I truly hope that Dodge and the other big American car makers pull their heads out of the electric clouds and continue to offer performance cars with big horsepower internal combustion engines that require some form of multi gear transmissions and high octane fuel, even if they have to make them in relatively small quantities and market them specifically to gearheads like me. I will resist the ev future for as long as I have breath in my lungs and an excellent credit score/big bank account. People like me, who have loved fast cars for as long as I can remember, need a car that has an engine that sounds properly pissed off when I hit the gas pedal and accelerate through the gears.
  • Kcflyer libs have been subsidizing college for decades. The predictable result is soaring cost of college and dramatic increases in useless degrees. Their solution? More subsidies of course. EV policy will follow the same failed logic. Because it's not like it's their money. Not saying the republicans are any better, they talk a good game but spend like drunken sailors to buy votes just like the libs. The sole function of the U.S. government is to take money from people who earn it and give it away to people who didn't.
  • CecilSaxon Sounds about as smart as VW's "SoundAktor"