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Jeep Renegade vs. Jeep Compass specs

1. Introduction

The Compass has been sitting in the Jeep line-up with very little change for a long time. The Patriot/Compass are often criticized for not being "real Jeeps" and were often bought by people seeking a smaller, cheaper, and more fuel-efficient option to vehicles such as the Cherokee and Wrangler. The Compass has come to its second generation and is the true replacement for the original. Known as the MK49, it was built in Chrysler's Belvidere Illinois assembly plant alongside the Dodge Caliber and Jeep Patriot. An updated model has just been released in 2017. It is almost certain that with the new model coming out, the previous generation Compass' price will drop and will provide excellent value for money on a used car market off-road capable small SUV.

A brief overview of the Jeep Renegade... American brand Jeep released its smallest model, the Jeep Renegade, in late 2014. Built in Melfi, Italy, the Renegade has a certain European influence to it. The small Jeep is offered in both 4x2 and 4x4 variants. Its smaller profile and lower price point compared to other Jeeps make it perfect for a younger crowd. Jeep has advertised the Renegade with the "from the makers of the toughest 4x4 SUV". This marketing strategy plays on its worldwide reputation for building the toughest off-road vehicles, despite the Renegade's primary focus being a road vehicle. With a price tag starting at around half of the top model Land Rover, Jeep wants a piece of the small SUV action.

The automotive industry has been known to develop vehicles that fall into specific categories. While some vehicles are designed with family comfort in mind, those which fall into the 4x4 bracket generally have an adventurous streak to them. The Jeep Renegade and Jeep Compass, while similar in many ways, fulfill different consumer needs. The following will carry out a comparison of these vehicles.

2. Exterior Features

In regard to size, both vehicles are well equipped and can comfortably fit five passengers, with rear seat legroom measurements only an inch apart. The Renegade, however, is the inferior vehicle in cargo space with 18.5 cubic feet to the Compass' 27.2. Both vehicles are equipped with back-up cameras, a necessary safety feature we felt needed mention.

Having just discussed the performance of both models, it is time to examine the styling and physical features of each Jeep. Both the Renegade and Compass are of the same or similar length and width, but differ in height by a mere half inch. The Compass has a more modernly styled design, whereas the Renegade is very boxy and resembles the classic Jeep design. This classic Jeep design is highlighted by the Renegade's front grill with the scripted Jeep logo as well as the military-style x markings on the rear tail lights. The Compass ranges a more generic style with a simple grille and clean body lines. Both offer a selection of roof options such as metallic painted or dual pane panoramic sunroofs.

2.1. Design

Although the two cars have similarities in roof layout, the Compass has a step roof which is higher towards the middle, giving more head space to the back seat passengers. The Renegade has a two-part roof with the My Sky roof option. This also gives more head space, as well as giving the option to fully or partially remove the roof panels for an open-air drive.

One thing that is the same on both models is the exposed wheel arches. This is a trait carried over from the original Jeep and is still complete with plastic molding and a number of fastening screws to give a more utility look. It is hard to find a car on the market today with exposed wheel arches, particularly as a stock photo.

Turning to the design differences between the two models, the most noticeable difference comes in the headlights. The Compass has a more traditional round headlight, in comparison to the Renegade which features more square headlights. The Renegade has more of a rugged or aggressive look. The differences in the headlights are just the start; it definitely changes the overall look of both vehicles.

2.2. Size and Dimensions

Meanwhile, the Compass has more in common with the Cherokee from the sides, with an eerily close profile yet an entirely different look from the front and rear. Step-in height is lower in the Compass, and its seating position and cabin arrangement is more car-like, while the Renegade lets you sit higher, in a somewhat more upright position, and has a more classic SUV look and feel. Both models come with a rearview camera system, but compared to the Compass, the Renegade offers up to eighty cubic feet of cargo space, as well as a height-adjustable cargo floor and a removable, reversible, and easy-to-clean cargo load floor panel.

The Renegade is the smaller model, and it channels some of the design cues of the larger Cherokee - with squared-off wheel wells, defining wheel arches, and the same sort of blocky, abruptly cut tail.

The Jeep Renegade and Jeep Compass share their underpinnings, solid construction, and certain powertrains - albeit with significant design and fuel economy differences. With their varied design, they can range from a simple low-budget transportation model with front-wheel drive to a trail-rated model with additional ground clearance, better approach and departure angles, and more off-road functionality.

2.3. Wheel Options

The Renegade has many wheel options, but with limited specs. The base model, Sport, comes with 16x6.5 inch styled steel wheels. The Latitude also has the same size wheels unless you get the 4x4; it comes with 17x7 inch aluminum wheels. The Limited comes with 18x7 inch aluminum wheels, which cannot be upgraded. The Trailhawk comes with 17x6.5 inch black painted aluminum wheels. The drawback is that all Renegades have the same wheel bolt pattern, 5x110, so the only non-official wheel replacement option would be the same size wheels but different style. This also means that with limited tire size options, the Trailhawk is the only model that can easily get all-terrain tires. All Renegades come with highway-terrain Continentals, and tire size upgrades from the stock require testing to verify there is no rubbing with suspension components. This is a setback for people looking to lift a Renegade and put aftermarket wheels and tires on it. Moving from a stock 205/70/16 or 215/60/17 tire to a 225/60/17 tire would give a Trailhawk increased ground clearance as well as better off-road performance but would need extra testing and possible adjustments.

3. Interior Features

Match your versatile lifestyle with the Jeep Compass and Jeep Renegade interior. Find the style suitable for your daily habits. Whether you're heading out for a cross country hike or shuttling the kids to soccer practice, the Jeep Compass and Jeep Renegade fit the bill. Both styles include soft touch materials to give each ride a premium feel. The Renegade adds in unique vintage touches, like the inspired My Sky open air roof. The Compass stands out with high gloss chrome accents. Choose from the available Dual Pane Panoramic Sunroof for an incredible skylight view. The Jeep Compass has room to spare with plenty of cargo space and seating configurations to assist all your large-utility or daily driving needs. Each style offers an adjustable rear cargo floor, premium seating material, all-weather features, and first-class seat comfort with an 8-way power driver seat with 4-way power lumbar support. Step up the ride in your new Compass or Renegade. (Hindam, 2020)(Nicoletti et al.2021)(Genre, 2022)(Sinasac, 2021)(Aleci, 2022)(PUMA)(Baciarlini, 2021)(Ronspies, 2020)(Brown Morris, 2022)

3.1. Cabin Space and Comfort

The Jeep Renegade is a subcompact SUV with an impressively roomy cabin. Adults will have no trouble getting comfortable in the front seat, and the rear seat has enough head and legroom for a 6-footer to sit comfortably. The high-mounted bench also puts passengers in a good position to take in the scenery. The Renegade's cabin is dominated by the center stack: an upright facia with round air vents and chunky controls. It's a modern interpretation of Jeep's penchant for function-over-form design, an ethos confirmed by the many handy storage bins and a user-friendly optional 8.4-inch touchscreen. The Latitude and Limited trims include six-way power adjustable driver seats. Rear seating is 40/20/40 split and reclining with cargo area pass-through. Entering something just slightly bigger than the Renegade, the compact Compass offers more passenger and cargo space. The front cabin feels a bit roomier, but the measurements line up closely to the Renegade. Similar to its fraternal twin, the Compass has adequate head and legroom for adults but with a little more elbow room. The redesign for 2017 has made the Compass' cabin look and feel more upscale, with soft-touch materials, contrast stitching, and a blend of matte and gloss black trim. It's also made strides in outward visibility, creating a more open feeling in the cabin. On paper, the differences in passenger space between the two vehicles may not seem significant, but overall the Compass gives a more comfortable and substantial feel. All varieties of the Compass come with a six-way manual adjustable driver seat, and either a 60/40 rear bench or 40/60 split depending on the trim level.

3.2. Technology and Infotainment

The third feature would be the electronic parking brake using the Electric Park Brake (EPB) button on the console. This feature would not only replace the traditional hand-brake but would self-apply when the vehicle's engine is turned off. This is especially useful for hills as the EPB will automatically engage if the vehicle is left in a gear.

The second feature would be the ParkView Rear Back-Up Camera. This safety feature eliminates the need for a spotter when backing out of a parking space. The driver receives assistance with parking and related maneuvers and will see his exact distance from another object, from the rear, in order to prevent a collision with obstacles when reversing.

As a new vehicle that was crowd-funded by its producers, the Renegade possesses the latest technology and infotainment systems that the Jeep Compass doesn't have. The first notable feature would be the Speed Assistance feature, which is essentially the Traffic Sign Recognition System often found on higher-tier vehicles. It uses a camera to detect speed limit signs and then notifies the driver of the current speed limit with an icon on the instrument cluster. The driver then has the option to set the speed limiter to adhere to this speed limit.

3.3. Seating and Cargo Capacity

The Jeep Renegade has a roomy interior for a subcompact SUV, with comfortable seating and good headroom. While the Latitude, Limited, and Trailhawk models have standard cloth and optional leather seating, the base-model Sport comes standard with cloth seats, and the Trailhawk has unique cloth and leather upholstery. Although the Renegade can theoretically seat up to five, it's really best suited for four passengers. Front and backseat comfort are good, and optional features include a power driver's seat and automatic climate control. The Renegade's rear seats can be folded in a 40/20/40 split to optimize passenger/cargo combinations, and they also can be tumbled forward to hang at a vertical wall, thus maximizing cargo capacity. An available removable/rechargeable flashlight fits into the cargo area, and a height-adjustable rear cargo floor is standard on the Limited and Trailhawk models to create even more cargo space and to better accommodate designers of outdoor activities. That said, interior storage space is mediocre, with small cubbies and average-size door pockets.

3.4. Safety Features

They both have standard safety features such as airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability control, and roll-over mitigation. According to tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, both vehicles received good ratings for Safety Cage and Whiplash Protection. Side impact ratings for both vehicles were marginal. The Renegade's seat and headrest design was rated good for rear crash protection. Both of these vehicles have many more safety features to offer. This can include ParkSense Rear Park Assist and Forward Collision Warning that will assist in alerting the driver of possible hazards when parking or if there is a risk of collision. There are many more features available with the Latitude, Limited, and Trailhawk which is their Safety and Security Group. With the availability of those features with the package, this group gives the best possible overall safety rating to the vehicle. This group includes features such as Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path Detection, which help aid drivers when making lane changes or will give an alert of other vehicles approaching when the vehicle is in reverse. Along with those, there are High-Intensity Discharge Headlamps and a security alarm. These features will give extra precociousness to other drivers and aid in theft prevention for the vehicle.

Safety has always been one of the main priorities of vehicles on the road, and Jeep has always put this first when designing vehicles. With both vehicles being smaller and designed to do adequate off-road performance, they both have key safety features to keep the drivers' confidence high both on and off the road. Although both vehicles are small and may not be as safe as a larger vehicle based on size and weight, they still have many features to keep the driver and passengers safe.

4. Performance and Engine Options

The engine power and efficiency of an automobile is one of the most important factors to take into consideration for certain buyers. Those living in hilly areas or looking to do a fair amount of highway driving may rely heavily on the power of an engine to make their experience smoother and more enjoyable. Both the Renegade and Compass offer the same 2 engine choices. The first is a 1.4L I4 MultiAir Turbo Engine which delivers 160 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. This engine comes with a 6-speed manual transmission and is available on the Sport and Latitude models of both vehicles. The second engine is a 2.4L I4 MultiAir Engine with an output of 180 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. This engine comes with a 9-speed automatic transmission and is available on the Limited and Trailhawk Renegade and Compass models. It is important to note that with the exception of the 1.4L Renegade, 2WD or 4x4 drive systems are available on all combinations of engine and transmission for both vehicles. By offering a 4x4 option on all models, the addition of snow or sand mode settings, and an available low range feature, the Renegade and Compass are essentially offering capabilities for light off-roading in addition to adverse weather condition driving. All very useful features for Canadian buyers. The Renegade was rated at 8.8L/100km in the city and 7.0L/100km on the highway giving the 2.4L engine a range of 592 highway km to 800 city km on a single tank of gas. This is quite good for a 4x4 vehicle in this segment. The Compass on the other hand boasts even higher efficiency with a rating of 7.8L/100km in the city and 6.0L/100km on the highway for 4x2 models (2.4L engine and front-wheel drive), and a rating of 9.2L/100km in the city and 7.4L/100km on the highway for 4x4 models (2.4L engine and 4x4). This ranges from 667 highway km to 1033 city km on a single tank for 4x2 models, and 652 highway km to 978 city km for 4x4 models. It is clear that the Compass has slightly better efficiency in engine fuel for both 2 and 4-wheel systems, and likely the reason for this is the vehicle's smaller size and weight compared to the equivalent models of the Renegade. Both the Renegade and Compass have a fuel tank capacity of 48L. The difference in fuel economy however is not large, and it is realistic to expect that the difference in fuel cost between these vehicles will not be excessive. (Hindam, 2020)(Santilli, 2022)(Nicoletti et al.2021)(Anselma2022)(Mosquim)(Del Prete, 2020)(Post, 2024)(POSTERS)(Lotko2022)

4.1. Engine Power and Efficiency

The Jeep Compass has two engine options available. One is a 2.0L I-4 engine, which is a base engine, and the other is a 2.4L I-4 engine, which is an upgrade option to the Sport Model. The I-4 DOHC 16-valve dual VVT engine is pretty advanced in that it has four separate valve timing control mechanisms for precision and power. This translates to 158hp and up to 141lb-ft of torque. The 5-speed manual transmission is standard along with either engine and allows the driver to further improve their fuel economy. The 2.4L engine is available with a CVT2L automatic transmission, which gives the Compass better fuel efficiency and smoother performance. With the FWD or 4WD option, the 2.4L engine and CVT2L transmission combo gets 21 and 22 miles per gallon in the city and 25 and 28 miles per gallon on the highway. This matches the 2.0L I-4 engine, which provides better fuel efficiency than its competitors such as the RAV-4 and CRV. This fuel economy is good and can save you a lot at the pump over time, especially compared to the Jeep Patriot, which is a similar vehicle. The Jeep Renegade also offers two engine options. The first engine is a 1.4L I-4 MultiAir Turbo engine, which has 160hp and 184lb-ft of torque. This engine provides better fuel economy while still delivering competitive power. The MultiAir system controls intake air cylinder-by-cylinder and stroke-by-stroke and is optimal for fuel efficiency and maintaining power. The turbocharger also provides smooth and efficient power delivery across the entire power band. This engine has a 6-speed manual transmission and gets up to 24 miles per gallon in the city and 31 miles per gallon on the highway. This is again competitive fuel economy and is better than many similar small SUVs. The second engine option for the Renegade is a 2.4L I-4 MultiAir engine with 180hp and up to 175lb-ft of torque. This engine has a 9-speed automatic transmission, translating to excellent off-the-line acceleration and smooth shifting. The Renegade's 2.4L engine delivers the same fuel economy as the Compass' 2.4L engine, with up to 22 miles per gallon in the city and 30 miles per gallon on the highway, but provides more power and acceleration. The Renegade and Compass share similar efficiency and power with their engine options, so it is purely a matter of preference between the two.

4.2. Transmission Options

The 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo with the manual is the most fuel-efficient and lowest emission powertrain available in the Renegade, with an EPA rating of 24 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. Unfortunately, all that is lost if you want four-wheel drive, as the only 1.4-liter available on the 4x4 models is a six-speed manual for the Sport, while the Latitude has a choice of the six-speed manual or a nine-speed automatic. That's right, a nine-speed automatic for the 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo. It gets a tad confusing here, as the only nine-speed automatic available for the 4x4 model on the 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo is a special order package that eliminates the Active Drive Low and adds the 215/60R17 All-Season Touring Tires. The Active Drive Low is the 4x4 system for the 1.4-liter engine, essentially making it a rear-drive vehicle until four-wheel drive is needed, and has a low range for off-road driving and a 20:1 crawl ratio. This is useful for better fuel mileage on-road and more torque when in four-wheel drive. Any customer looking for the 4x4 Latitude with the 1.4-liter and the nine-speed automatic would need to ask the dealer to look up the Special Order Package ID for that aforementioned off-road equipment and have the dealer place a factory order for a matching vehicle with the package. This package is not found on any Latitude displayed on a dealer lot.

For the engine/transmission combination, here is where the information gets a bit more convoluted. The front-wheel drive Sport and Latitude models come with a 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine rated at 160 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. That engine is mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Please don't stop reading as this is where it kind of gets disappointing.

The dashboard, which has a stylish and functional design with user-friendly controls, has a new, easier-to-read information display. One of the nicer attributes of the interior, at least on the Limited and Trailhawk, is the leather-wrapped shift knob. This feature gets overlooked often, but after using the vehicle off-road, not having to grab an icy or scalding piece of metal on the end of a plastic stick is pretty nice! Another feature that this author appreciates more with his often cold extremities are the available heated cloth seats. An interesting nice touch to the seats is the zippers that adorn them, for some added "luggage" storage.

4.3. Off-Road Capabilities

The Jeep Compass has more of a traditional crossover utility-vehicle layout. But with a high ground clearance, short overhangs, and the same 20:1 crawl ratio in its available 'lo' range for the 4WD system, it's surprisingly good when you get it onto a trail, and better than most rivals. In either case, Jeep models can feel very different on-road and off, so know that you'll get a little more on-road-oriented, fuel-efficient, good-handling personality with either of these models if you're going with 4WD some of the time. But for the all-weather, all-wheel capability, these models are better than most, if not all, others in this size and price class.

However, with the Renegade, you're getting it in a vehicle that's about nine inches shorter and 200 pounds lighter, in a package that ends up feeling more nimble and perhaps a little more tossable off-road. The shorter wheelbase doesn't help ride quality or interior space, but it does make for a vehicle that's more maneuverable on the trail. We've found the Renegade surprisingly impressive in off-road situations.

Jeep Renegade earns points for its off-road package, even though the version known as Trailhawk is the only one that comes close to a traditional Jeep. Buyers of Sport, Latitude, and Limited trims can add Active Drive and Active Drive Low 4WD systems. Jeep says these can provide up to a 20:1 crawl ratio (versus 17.4:1 for the Trailhawk), as well as the ability to disconnect the rear axle to engage only the front wheels. That's similar in essence to the system in the Compass.

4.4. Towing Capacity

In addition, it can help increase the vehicle's torque and manages wheel spin. What this essentially means is that the launch control will prevent wheels from spinning aimlessly in a situation where the vehicle is stuck and the driver needs to apply extra gas to get out. Launch control will be very beneficial in preventing damage to a boat trailer on an incline. Overall, both vehicles are great choices loaded with new features for someone leading an active lifestyle. However, the Compass's added towing capacity and launch makes it the optimal choice for someone with towing in mind.

Loaded with a boat, performance on a boat ramp is key. The last and newest feature that makes the Jeep Compass the clear choice for those with a boat is its 'launch control'. This feature comes with the Compass's more advanced 4×4 systems and assists in attaining and maintaining traction on various terrains.

A feature that many customers look for while purchasing an SUV is its towing capacity. Both the Jeep Compass and the Renegade come out on top here as well. The Compass offers a maximum towing capacity of 2,000 pounds while the Renegade comes in a very close second with a maximum towing capacity of 1,500 pounds. Towing capacity is a great feature for the person on the go. Coming very close after towing capacity is road performance. As mentioned previously, these vehicles have good off-road capabilities.


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Jeep Renegade vs. Jeep Compass Specs

Comparing the specs of the Jeep Renegade and the Jeep Compass will help you make an informed decision. Learn more with these resources:

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