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City life is rough. Having a car that takes you out of the concrete structures and gum filled pavements and into the wilderness, well that’s easy. But what if you don’t one of this big lane hogging, hard to park crossovers? Jeep may have a solution. At least they hope so with an attempt at the new niche in the sub-compact market with their all-new Italian grown Renegade.

Jeep fanatics may be distraught over the direction Jeep is going with this, but let’s face reality, the only way to survive in this world is to produce cars people will buy, not just only what the fans want. So if you like your spicy Italian sausage with ketchup, the Renegade might just be up your alley.

For those that prefer the economy route – the ones that just need something simple with no thrills or frills, than this Renegade Sport might perk your ears. The Sport is the base model for the Renegade, starting at $17,995 and comes with an array of black body moldings, steel wheels and a comfortably appointed interior. But if you want some comfy features like air conditioning, power mirrors, touch screen infotainment system and four-wheel drive with terrain select, then it pushes our tester car just a hair over $24,000.

For the sack of our sampler here, it saved the extra $1280 for the 2.4L MultiAir Engine and 9-speed auto for the generic 160-horsepower, 1.4-liter Turbo and six-speed manual transmission. This of course doesn’t exact make it the most speedy of the two engines taking nearly 9 seconds to 60 mph. Then again it isn’t exactly designed to please the need for speed enthusiast. Although, what it lacks in swiftness makes up in charisma. Because the Renegade is based off the Fiat 500x, there is some sexy Italian blood running through its veins. The six-speed manual provides short thrusts between gears and while the clutch pedal is heavy requires very little engagement. This also allows for quicker and smoother shifts so passengers won’t feel the jolt of life.

The 1.4-liter is an eager little engine that wants to spread its turbo, but the turbo takes a while to spool up. At around 3000 rpms the torque and turbo come in and the entertainment value comes in. But since we want maintain the fuel economy we don’t see that peak often. Seeing as we only averaged 24 mpg’s a little fun wouldn’t have hurt.

With its stubby nose and boxy attitude, you’d never know there’s some spirted driving demeanor from behind the wheel . The tight chassis and snug suspension insist on providing a comfortable road atmosphere, while on an off beaten path can absorb most of the bumps and unpleasantly. The steering has a lively sensation with a hefty weight added in and because the Renegade only weights 3100lbs, it stops fairly quickly.

Like its rivals, the Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V or Fiat 500x, the Renegade is small – at least so it seems. For a small box there’s tons of room – headroom for days and even rear passenger legroom is sufficient. Even for its base setting, the interior feels put together and has an adorable quirk to it. Especially when there’s lots of Jeep Easter eggs hiding throughout – gives you something fun to look for on road trips. The seats were manual and layered in an easy to clean material and because our tester arrived with $1095 Removable Roof Panels, where we’re open to endless sky and beautiful weather. Putting them back on is another story though.

For being an odd box, there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had. Compared to its rivals, the Renegade makes a strong compelling argument for the weekend terrain warriors who needs to get his cubical Monday morning. However while the Sport is cute, the Latitude makes more sense featuring all the same comfort features as standard equipment and provides a more esthetic pleasing profile for nearly the same price.

Vehicle Specifications:
Jeep Renegade Sport Base Price: $17,995
As Tested (including Options & Destination): $24,470
Performance Specs:
1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo Four-Cylinder – 160-horsepower/184lb-ft of torque – 0-60MPH: ±9.0 seconds
EPA MPG: 24/31/27(city/highway/combined) – SSB Average:  24 MPG’s – Fuel Range: 330 Miles