We take a look at the muscular looking JEEP Renegade
Delivered to CALIBRE Towers first thing in the morning the Jeep Renegade was supplied in a fetching shade of easy-to-find-in-the-carpark-yellow, and as such made for a striking sight. This squat looking, yet tall in stature, SUV is the in-between point between the Wrangler (rugged off-road rambler) and their Grand Cherokee (luxury motorway mile muncher).
The Jeep Renegade represents the company’s first foray into the small SUV market and as such takes its cues from owner-brand Fiat’s 500X, but with greater ground clearance and obviously chunkier, shape changing robot-esque body styling.
The models released in the United Kingdom feature several engine options: two petrol (one turbo) and two diesels, along with a series of driveline combination options.
Starting at just over £18,000 for the 109bhp 1.6-litre petrol but rising to around £29,000 for the 168bhp 2.0-litre diesel 4X4 Trailhawk, the entry-level versions come in front-wheel drive only, with Jeep reserving four-wheel drive for its top-spec models, the high-power 1.4-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesels, but it’s only the top-of-the-pile Trailhawk model which is marketed as a ‘true’ off-roader with metal skid plates, a higher ride height (+15mm) low-ratio gear mode with hill descent control and four-wheel drive as standard.
On The Road
The car is spacious inside and appears to have plenty of room for several passengers and their luggage. There’s a large amount of head and legroom throughout.
On test our car took a couple of bicycles in the back with ease (boot capacity 1297 litres) and the seats went down easily in to the flat position without effort – so points awarded there.
On the motorway the high driving position gives a good view out over the bonnet and visibility is good all-round, which is essential when one is not used to driving such a wide vehicle. On a long hack up to the Midlands the seats proved to be functional and reasonably well supported, although on our test model (1.6-litre diesel / 64.2 mpg) the lack of options for adjustments and fine-tuning was noticeable after a long run.
In fact this was a theme echoed throughout the cab, with the dash and console seemingly quite basic by modern standards – the tiny screen on the Sat-Nav, and its software, proved to be an annoyance so that eventually a smartphone was deployed on the dash and Google Maps used as the navigation aid of choice. Effective air conditioning comes as standard across the range, as does the touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth and a DAB digital radio.
It must be said the controls and their layout in the cab were all very effective and easy to use.
The handling was adequate and despite the car’s large frame it was easy to manoeuvre and U-turn into parking spaces where needed. The steering offered acceptable feedback with the power being well weighted, although fatigue seemed to set in after long miles, whereas it perhaps would not do so in other marques.
On motorways the large body and suspension meant that wind could be felt quite readily (although one would imagine buyers are not looking at this vehicle for its aerodynamics), with the large door mirrors and flat-fronted nose adding to this effect and generating extra wind noise to boot.
For those that love the styling and want the ‘4×4 experience’ in a car that will most likely never see the off-road areas of our great countryside – then this is the vehicle for you. Despite the misgivings, it turned out to be an ultimately enjoyable experience – Jeep’s American sense of freedom has perhaps been imbued into the Renegade via the design process?
Nonetheless, it’s a fun, practical tourer – especially in this colour!