Urinary CXCL10 is a promising noninvasive biomarker for tubulo-interstitial allograft inflammation, but its diagnostic characteristics have not been assessed in a real-life setting. We investigated urinary CXCL10 in 213 consecutive renal allograft recipients having 362 surveillance biopsies at 3/6 months and 80 indication biopsies within the first year posttransplant. Allograft histology results were classified as (i) acute Banff score zero, (ii) interstitial infiltrates only, (iii) tubulitis t1, (iv) tubulitis t2–3 and (v) isolated vascular compartment inflammation. For clinical and subclinical pathologies, urinary CXCL10 correlated well with the extent of tubulo-interstitial inflammation. To determine diagnostic characteristics of urinary CXCL10, histological groups were separated into two categories: no relevant inflammation (i.e. acute Banff score zero and interstitial infiltrates only) versus all other pathologies (i.e. tubulitis t1–3 and isolated vascular compartment inflammation). For subclinical pathologies, AUC was 0.69 (sensitivity 61%, specificity 72%); for clinical pathologies, AUC was 0.74 (sensitivity 63%, specificity 80%). A urinary CXCL10-guided biopsy strategy would have reduced performance of surveillance and indication biopsies by 61% and 64%, respectively. Missed (sub)clinical pathologies were mostly tubulitis t1 and isolated vascular compartment lesions. In real life, urinary CXCL10 had clinically useful diagnostic properties making it a candidate biomarker to guide allograft biopsies.