It shouldn’t come as a surprise to most people that the larger vehicle endures a slightly lower fuel economy rating. Still, both vehicles are within but a hair’s breadth of each other in terms of how much fuel they consume so the real world difference will likely be marginal. Remember Jeep recommended the Renegade’s turbocharged engine be fed a diet of premium fuel with an octane of 91 or higher.
Jeep’s littlest trucklet has been given a wide-eyed set of peepers, not unlike those found on the venerable Wrangler. In fact, a seven-slat grille bookended by a pair of expressive round headlights is the look most people immediately think of when they hear the word ‘Jeep’. Other too-cute-by-half styling cues on the Renegade include taillights intended to resemble gasoline jerry cans and a small outline of the original Willys Jeep embossed into one corner of the windshield. It’s a funky shape that will be appreciated by some and reviled by others.
The small Compass wears a natty set of duds meant to evoke the bigger – and much more expensive) Cherokee and Grand Cherokee. A narrow set of front peepers, wearing a dose of LED mascara in some trims, give the Compass a lighting signature very much in line with its bigger brothers. Family lineage is equally evident out back, where a pair of handsome taillights contribute to a cohesive and attractive style.
These two contestants offer styling that resides on both ends of the spectrum. The super-serious Compass would be a great selection for those who want the look of a more expensive machine without an eye-watering pricetag. Conversely, the Renegade is all fun, all the time. Will its goofiness grate on your nerves after a few months of ownership? That’s a question only you can answer.
According to Jeep, the 2019 Renegade sets an opening bid of $22,025 for a two-wheel drive Sport model. Upgrading to four-wheel drive will cost $1,500. The cheapest turbocharged model is priced at $26,395 (again, add $1,500 for 4◊4) but, at that level, one can move over to the Trailhawk trim for $27,545. A new High Altitude variant, equipped with snazzy exterior and interior trappings, nudges it base price dangerously close to $30,000.
Its assembly at the FCA plant in Toluca, Mexico, is sure to enrage some types, but the Compass enjoys solid fit and finish characteristics and a notable track record for reliability. Starting at $21,845 for a two-wheel drive Sport model with the manual transmission, Compass sets its sights on capturing buyers looking for an affordable rig with an off-road image. Popular trims such as the Latitude model are priced around $25,000 while the capable Trailhawk 4◊4 starts at $29,195.