Base Camp: 2021 Jeep Renegade Sport
Every week, wheels.ca selects a new vehicle on sale in Canada and takes a good look at its entry-level trim. If we find it worthy of your consideration, we'll let you know. If not, we'll recommend one that earns a passing grade.
There’s always a runt of the litter. Renegade started life as Jeep’s littlest and least-expensive ticket into the brand, a stage that’s been largely usurped by the looks-like-its-older-brothers Compass. For 2021, there are no fewer than eight different Renegade trims, though the dearth of meaningful updates and lack of current leasing opportunities (plus the success of Compass) suggest this model may not be around for another generation.
A decently equipped entry-level model that probably has one wheel in the grave and another on a banana peel? That’s a recipe for potential discounts and examination under the Base Camp microscope.
Kicking off the Renegade line is a Sport trim, powered by a naturally aspirated 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine making 180 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. It is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission that is a welcome departure from the hateful CVTs that curse this segment. At this price – $27,595 – one has to suffer the indignity of piloting a front-wheel drive Jeep, though most casual bystanders won’t know the difference.
This brand is one of the precious few that offers an array of eye-popping colours on its base models, most of them at no cost, including the entertaining Colorado Red shown here. Plain black door handles and side mirror pods are shared with other Renegade trims, so the lack of colour-keyed bits isn’t a total giveaway you’re driving the El Cheapo model. Funky details like taillamps that look like jerry cans are included even on this least expensive of Renegades.
Acres of black plastic and a pitifully small infotainment screen blight the interior but it must be noted these features don’t change until you’re well up the Renegade ladder. On the plus side, heated front seats are standard, the steering wheel is peppered with buttons instead of switch blanks, and there is a media hub with USB and other audio inputs. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also along for the ride. Air conditioning and power accessories are standard kit.
What We’d Choose
Aside from front- or all-wheel drive, there are literally no options to add on a Renegade Sport. Seriously. Pick a colour and you’re done. Adding power to all four wheels is a $2,000 proposition and, short of the minor embarrassment surrounding the existence of a Jeep lacking 4×4 power, plowing that money into a good set of winter tires may be a better path. Stepping up the ladder to more expensive trims quickly plunges price deep into the $30,000 bracket and, at that point, bigger options exist – even right in Jeep showrooms.
If you can find one, that is. Research shows there is but a single no-options Renegade Sport in all of Canada as of this writing, putting an exclamation point on just how difficult it can be to find entry-level (but still decently equipped) versions of some vehicles.