Jeep Renegade is a lot of SUV in a tiny package

I make no secret of the fact that I’m a truck guy, and a big truck guy at that. And if I have to drive an SUV, I prefer a large one. But I drove a small SUV last week that surprised me in a good way.

The vehicle fairies dropped off a Jeep Renegade at my office last week, and my first thought when I saw it was, “man, that thing is tiny.” It’s classified as a small SUV, and they’re not kidding. I parked it next to my ’94 F-250, and I’m pretty sure you could fit the Renegade in the bed of my old Ford truck. Well, that might be exaggerating a bit, but if I had a flatbed and some sturdy ramps on my truck, I’m certain I could park the Renegade on it.

Jeep Renegade front
The Jeep Renegade is more than it appears.

But when I got in the Renegade, it didn’t feel so small. It’s incredibly spacious inside. The model I drove was the Latitude trim package, which is one of two mid-grade packages. The Sport is the least expensive, at about $18,000, and the Limited is the one with all the bells and whistles, and it starts at $25,000. The Latitude starts at $23,000, and the one I drove, with a pretty good assortment of options, was priced just under $27,000.

I was very impressed. It has a short wheelbase and extremely tight handling, so it did take some getting used to. But this thing was incredibly responsive, and it’s a light vehicle, so the 2.4-liter engine provided plenty of power, without using a lot of fuel. I averaged about 27 miles per gallon while I had it.

But if I were to buy one, and at that price it’s certainly not out of the question, I’d get the Trailhawk model. The Trailhawk starts a bit under $27,000, and it includes a low range for the full-time four-wheel-drive, in addition to the terrain select feature that’s also found in the Latitude. The Trailhawk also comes with better off-road tires.

Don’t count out this SUV because it’s small. It’s actually a lot bigger than its britches.