2023 Jeep Renegade Upland Trailhawk-ish
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.
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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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