2023 Jeep Renegade Upland Trailhawk-ish

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

The Jeep Renegade is being gussied up for the 2023 model year and now includes some fresh color options and a mid-tier appearance package that’ll help it look like something that might actually drive up the side of a mountain. While the new Upland trim is heavily focused on aesthetics, it does come with a few additions that might still help it participate in more basic off-road activities.

Tossed right into the thick of the Renegade lineup, the Upland variant starts at $32,185 (after fees) and is clearly trying to adopt the Trailhawk visuals without getting into those all-important mechanical bits that typically make them more capable in an off-road environment. The only noteworthy exception is that the Upland’s 17-inch wheels come wrapped in all-terrain tires. Though the swapped fascias probably offer a tad more ground clearance when you’re tackling inclines.

All 2023 Renegades come with the 177-horsepower turbocharged 1.3-liter inline-four engine, nine-speed automatic, and all-wheel drive by default. But the Upland doesn’t come with the Trailhawk’s "Selec-Terrain" Traction Management System.

Instead, you get the Trailhawk-ish matte black hood decal, unique front and rear fascia, cornering fog lamps, automatic headlamps, windshield wiper de-icer, loads of black badging, a 7-inch cluster display, black cloth bucket seats with bronze accenting, a “techno-leather” steering wheel (whatever that means), expanded ambient lighting options, and a standard 8.4-inch touchscreen using Uconnect 4.

You also get everything that’s on the Jeep Renegade Latitude because that’s what the Upland trim is based on. The only other real update for 2023 is the addition of Solar Yellow paint, which offers eye-destroying brightness (pictured) for an extra $500.

As a sleeper fetishist, appearance packages are probably my least favorite automotive trend that isn’t related to consumer data harvesting. But I am similarly hip to the premise of “different strokes for different folks” and am well aware that there are loads of people ready to plop down an extra grand or two in order to give their automobile a bit more panache. But this doesn’t seem like the best value proposition on paper considering that the actual Renegade Trailhawk starts at $34,035 (including destination) and there are already larger Jeeps offering more power, space, and features for the same money.

Though, if you’re an urbanite who likes to occasionally venture out into the wilderness, something like the Renegade might still suit your needs. It’s certainly small enough to fit into parking spaces other vehicles couldn’t dream of, capable of hopping most curbs (don’t ask how I know), and still offers just enough legitimate Jeep stuff to give you the confidence required to quietly scoff at the dude who managed to get his Volkswagen ID.4 stranded on the trail. Of course, the guys running Wranglers and 4Runners may end up laughing at you a few miles later.

[Images: Jeep]

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Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Wjtinfwb Wjtinfwb on Feb 17, 2023

    No idea if these have been improved, but a few years ago Enterprise stuck me with one of these things in "Limited" trip. No idea what was under the hood but it was noisy, rough, very slow and pretty thirsty. It was foot to the floor down 85 from Atlanta all the way to the beach to keep up with traffic. Worst rental car I've ever had, I would have been thrilled to have traded it for an old Cavalier halfway through the trip.

  • Fred Fred on Feb 17, 2023

    Here in the foothills I'm surprised I don't see more of these, considering the price. My neighbor has one and says it's okay. Maybe it's the Fiat base or the kind of cute styling.

  • Mike Audi has been using a3 a4 a5 a6 a7 a8 for a long time and i think it makes sense. But, they are rumored to be changing it all again within a year ir two.
  • Golden2husky Match the tool to the job. This would be ideal for those who have dreadful, traffic filled commutes. I'd certainly go the SE route - wheel sizes are beyond bordering on dumb today and 17s are plenty. Plus the added mileage is a real advantage. I would have been able to commute to work with very little gas usage. The prior Prius' were dreadful to drive - I gave mine back to the fleet guy at work for something else - but this seems like they hit their mark. Now, about that steering wheel and dash design...No mention of the driving aids for improving mileage but I'll assume they are very much like they were in earlier models - which is to say superb. A bit of constructive criticism - on a vehicle like this the reviewer should really get into such systems as mileage is the reason for this car. Just like I would expect to see performance systems such as launch control, etc to be commented on for performance models.
  • Arthur Dailey Rootes Motors actually had a car assembly facility in Scarborough ( a suburb in the east end of Toronto), during the 1950's and early 1960s. It was on the south-west corner of Warden and Eglinton located at 1921 Eglinton Avenue East. The building still exists and you can still see it on Google maps. That part of Scarboro was known as the Golden Mile and also had the Headquarters for VW Canada, and the GM van plant.Also at 2689 Steeles Avenue West in Toronto (the south east corner of Steeles and Petrolia) is what is still shown on Google Maps as 'The Lada Building'. It still has large Lada signs and the Lada logo on the east and west facades of the building. You can see these if you go to the street view. Not sure how much longer they will be there as the building just went up for sale this month. In Canada as well as Ladas and Skodas we also got Dacias. But not Yugos. Canada also got a great many British vehicles until the US-Canada trade pact due to Commonwealth connections. Due to different market demands, Canadians purchased per capita more standards and smaller cars including hatches. Stripped versions, generally small hatchbacks, with manual transmission, windows, door locks and no A/C were known as 'Quebec specials' as our Francophone population had almost European preferences in vehicles. As noted in previous posts, for decades Canadian Pontiacs were actually Chevs with Pontiac bodies and brightwork. This made them comparatively less expensive and therefore Pontiac sold better per capita in Canada than in the USA.
  • Ajla As a single vehicle household with access to an available 120v plug a PHEV works about perfectly. My driving is either under 40 miles or over 275 miles. The annual insurance difference between two car (a $20K ev and $20K ICE) and single car ($40K PHEV) would equal about 8 years of Prius Prime oil changes.
  • Ronin Let's see the actuals first, then we can decide using science.What has been the effect of auto pollution levels since the 70s when pollution control devices were first introduced? Since the 80s when they were increased?How much has auto pollution specifically been reduced since the introduction of hybrid vehicles? Of e-vehicles?We should well be able to measure the benefits by now, by category of engine. We shouldn't have to continue to just guess the benefits. And if we can't specifically and in detail measure the benefits by now, it should make a rational person wonder if there really are any real world benefits.