Drivin’ L.A. with Andrew Chen: 2017 Jeep Renegade Deserthawk

When invited to a wedding ceremony in the desert near Joshua Tree National Park, it’s only appropriate to bring an off-road-worthy vehicle to have a little fun along the way.

Our weapon of choice was a 2017 Jeep Renegade Deserthawk 4×4.

With an Anvil exterior paint color and Deserthawk decals, the Renegade not only looks the part, it’s also a Trailhawk, meaning it carries Jeep’s highest capability and trail rating.

The Renegade is a popular vehicle among those who want a compact and versatile form-factor along with Jeep’s DNA and personality. To remind you of the company’s off-road heritage, there are also plenty of easter eggs throughout the vehicle, like fuel can “X” markings, the Sarge grille, a silhouette of a man hiking on the back windshield, and more.

On the inside, there’s plenty of comfort and convenience features to make long journeys more enjoyable. An available 6.5-inch Uconnect navigation and entertainment hub provides all the latest in smartphone connectivity and apps, and even comes with its own WiFi service (subscription required).

Our test model came standard with leather bucket seats that featured cloth inserts with a topographical map — a fun touch of style to accompany the champagne-colored accents found throughout the cabin.

Jeep purists will argue that the Renegade isn’t a “real” Jeep, but having driven one on some challenging off-road trails, I’d beg to differ.

If you’re talking about pure survivability in a post-apocalyptic setting, sure, the Wrangle might fare better, but the Renegade Deserthawk comes with everything you’d need for a rigorous adventure — roll mitigation, hill descent control, and on-demand 4×4 traction for a variety of surfaces courtesy Jeep’s Selec-Terrain System. It also comes outfitted with skid plates for the transmission, transfer face, fuel tank, and front suspension so you can tackle really rough terrain with confidence.

As a daily-driver, the 2017 Renegade Deserthawk is confident and effortless to drive. The 2.4-liter I4 MultiAir engine produces 180 horsepower while the 9-speed automatic transmission helps the Renegade achieve almost 30 mpg on the highway.

Competition in the compact crossover segment is very tough, but the 2017 Jeep Renegade Deserthawk stands out with its blend of usable off-road performance, comfort, and versatility — you can go from work to camping in the wilderness without missing a beat.