The 2015 Jeep Renegade got us all fired up when it first appeared; was this the ultimate “efficiency you need, capability you want” combo or just a little Italian car wearing daddy’s work boots? Time to take one off-road to find out.

Obviously the Renegade isn’t about to dethrone the Wrangler is the ultimate off-roadable SUV you can drive off a lot and straight to some place like Moab. But it’s not meant to, and it leaves its big brother in the dust when it comes to on-pavement comfort and fuel economy.

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Even though we had to conduct our test on a pre-planned route under the watchful eyes of Jeep’s corporate ambassadors, I was more impressed by the vehicle’s abilities than I thought I’d be.

The Renegade is at home on routes that bleed the line between “dirt road” and “trail,” with enough in reserve to get you through that sketchy section you’d have to turn back at in a Honda HR-V.

A Renegade would be the wrong choice for somebody looking for a vehicle they could use everyday but “get into off-roading” with. Those people need a sedan and a CJ-7. The Renegade is the vehicle you want when you do most of your driving on the road, but like to buzz down dirt tracks free and easy (or look like you do) without the fuel economy or ride quality penalty you pick up with a bigger, taller, meaner 4x4.


Contact the author at andrew@jalopnik.com.