Here Are The Jeep Renegade Years To Avoid
The Jeep Renegade is your most affordable ticket if you want a Jeep with a low entry barrier. The Renegade is at home within Jeep’s lineup with its cheeky retro appearance and capable off-roading performance. The Renegade is proof that a Jeep is still a Jeep even if it comes in diminutive packaging.
However, is the Jeep Renegade a reliable subcompact SUV? Is it a good idea to buy a used Jeep Renegade?
Not all Jeep Renegades are created equal - some model years can be reliable while others are full of reliability woes. Today, we have rounded up the Jeep Renegade years to avoid, plus the ones you can buy as used, worry-free.
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Which Jeep Renegade Years to Avoid?
First introduced in 2014, the Jeep Renegade is a reasonably new lineup with only eight model years as of this writing. For a quick reference, below are the Jeep Renegade years to avoid:
- 2015 Jeep Renegade
- 2016 Jeep Renegade
- 2017 Jeep Renegade
- 2018 Jeep Renegade
2015 Jeep Renegade
By and far, the 2015 Jeep Renegade is the worst year. The folks at Car Complaints gave the 2015 Renegade the “Beware of the Clunker Award,” which means that it has many complaints about such a newer model.
The most prevalent complaint about the 2015 Renegade is that the check engine light was coming on. That in itself isn’t a problem, but when it happens around 21,000 miles, owners have every right to be concerned. In some cases, the check engine light went out on its own, but it’s unacceptable that it’s happening on a relatively new vehicle - a severe issue that may cost you $1,640 to repair.
Another issue experienced by many 2015 Renegade owners is the transmission problem, specifically with the 9-speed automatic transmission. Most reports stated that the transmission was just a mess - hard shifts, extended shift timings, jerking, unresponsiveness, hesitations, you name it. Unfortunately, this is yet another issue that rears its ugly head at low miles.
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2016 Jeep Renegade
With over 600 NHTSA complaints, as per Car Complaints, the 2016 Jeep Renegade is another model year you would rather avoid. While it’s not as problematic as the 2015 model, the 2016 Renegade does have its fair share of unique reliability issues.
One of the main selling points of the 2016 Jeep Renegade is the available premium 9-speaker Beats audio system, complete with a subwoofer and a 506-watt amplifier. Sadly, it seems that numerous owners were unhappy with the quality of the premium audio system. For a $695 upgrade, many reports stated that it hardly sounds premium, while some said it’s downright terrible.
Another major issue with the 2016 Renegade is that the traction control system activates on its own. While making turns, many owners noticed the traction control dash light would activate for a few seconds, and the vehicle would almost come to a complete stop. With an average mileage of 7,000, this problem occurred on a practically brand-new Renegade, which is unacceptable.
2017 Jeep Renegade
Regrettably, the following year for the Renegade isn’t much better. With more than 700 complaints and three recalls, the 2017 Renegade is one of the worst Jeep Renegade years to avoid.
The top complaint about the 2017 Renegade is its problematic engine. Jeep models are no strangers to engine problems, from stalling to excessive oil consumption. Unfortunately, the Renegade’s engine happens to do both. Numerous owners have reported that the engine stalls while driving and without warning. On top of that, some owners experienced knocking or rattling noise from the engine.
Electrical problems were also common with the 2017 version. The Renegade’s instrument panel can go wrong in more ways than one, from malfunctioning radio to spotty navigation systems to activating multiple indicator lights. For the most part, a simple software update will fix this problem.
2018 Jeep Renegade
Luckily, the 2018 Renegade isn’t as problem-riddled as the other years on this list. However, its reliability issues are enough for it to make the list.
For starters, the 2018 is apparently an oil-hungry machine based on numerous reports from Car Complaints. Many drivers have experienced their engine stalling before discovering that the Renegade consumes excessive amounts of oil. Like most problems in this post, this excessive oil consumption happened at an early mileage of 16,000 miles.
Another known severe issue is the clutch failure. To be fair, this is just a single report from one user, so take that as you will. According to the report, the clutch plate disintegrated in the housing, causing the vehicle to be inoperable.
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Which Jeep Renegade Years are Safe to Buy Used?
That wraps up our list of the worst Jeep Renegade years to avoid. On a brighter note, here are Jeep Renegade year models you can safely buy as used.
2019 Jeep Renegade
The 2019 Jeep Renegade offers a decent value proposition when buying it as used. To be clear, we highly recommend getting the Limited and Trailhawk trims to get the most out of your experience. The two lowest models may have lower price tags, but they represent poor value for the segment.
The Limited and Trailhawk models offer enough extra goodies, personality, and off-road performance to make up for the extra dollars. People are paying around $28,000 - $29,000 for a used Limited or Trailhawk Renegade.
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2020 Jeep Renegade
By its 2020 iteration, it’s safe to say that Jeep has finally figured out the winning formula with the Renegade. The 2020 Renegade offers a generous cabin space, comfortable ride quality, and top-notch off-roading capability. Regarding reliability, the 2020 Renegade delivers and was rated 80 out of 100 for Quality and Reliability by J.D. Power.
If we’re going to fault the 2020 Renegade for something, it has something to do with its underwhelming performance, particularly its acceleration and fuel economy. Depending on trim level, people pay around $20,078 - $28,422 for a used 2020 Renegade.
Common Jeep Renegade Problems
The Jeep Renegade is a relatively reliable SUV with a reliability rating of 4.0 out of 5.0 from RepairPal. However, it does have some issues potential buyers should know.
- Excessive oil consumption: Apparently, the 2.4L Tigershark 4-cylinder engine that powers the Renegade has a design flaw that resulted in heavy oil consumption. Specifically, the defective piston rings have allowed oil to penetrate the rings.
- Excessive emissions: Many owners have reported failing their emission tests because of the Renegade’s excessive emissions. Unfortunately, we have found no documented fix for this particular issue.
- Random vehicle shutoff: Owners of the 2015 Renegade claimed that their vehicle shuts off intermittently. Some drivers have even experienced the shutoffs several times while on the road, which can be very dangerous. Once again, the technicians have found no issue with the Renegade SUV, making this a baffling mechanical issue.
- Transmission problems: What’s a vehicle without its fair share of transmission issues? The Jeep Renegade’s automatic transmission is also prone to issues such as hard shifts and delayed transmission engagements. Ultimately, a lawsuit was filed, and Chrysler had to settle with the complainants.
Is the Jeep Renegade Worth Buying?
Overall, the Jeep Renegade is a solid compact SUV, with that irresistible Jeep flavoring. The Renegade is attractive for many people because it’s less bold and daring than most of its well-known counterparts like the Wrangler. With good care and maintenance, the Renegade should last between 100,000 and 150,000 miles.
However, in terms of reliability, the Jeep Renegade leaves a lot to be desired. For starters, as outlined above, many of its mechanical woes are relatively serious like transmission and engine programs.
With the 2015 model in particular, people have complained about engine issues and that the SUV just lost power while driving or randomly stalled. There are also several complaints regarding the Renegade’s transmission issues such as lunging and shifting hesitation.
If you’re really serious about buying a used Jeep Renegade, we highly recommend avoiding the models we’ve outlined above (2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018). Fortunately, Jeep has been doing something with the Renegade line and they are progressively getting more reliable, especially with the more recent models including the 2022 and 2023 models.
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