Jeep Renegade Review
The Jeep Renegade looks different from its rivals in the compact crossover segment.
- Unique looks
- Genuine off-road ability
- Spacious interior
- Rivals more refined
- Not as fun to drive as some competitors
Jeep has been an iconic maker since the 1940s, first with the Willys Jeep that was first used by the American Army in the Second World War – it moved on to what we know – the iconic Wrangler. But Jeep has been looking at other ways to make money and they have introduced a downsized compact crossover called the Renegade to take on the likes of heavyweights which include rivals like Nissan's popular Qashqai, the Nissan juke, the MINI Countryman and of course the Skoda Yeti.
Jeep has been smart, thanks to being owned by the wider Fiat group, the Renegade is built using the same underpinnings as the Fiat 500X, but can it really compete on a cost basis against the class leader like the Nissan Qashqai? One thing is certain, off-roading should be a breeze, regardless of anything else, well it is a Jeep or is it just a Fiat 500X in sheeps clothing? Read on to see how the Renegade fares.
On the Road
The Renegade comes with a choice of four engines two diesel and two petrol. Starting with the derv powered units, both the 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre turbo diesels benefit from second generation MultiJet technology, developed and patented by Fiat Powertrain Technologies.The 1.6-litre version delivers 120hp at 3750rpm and 320Nm of torque at 1750rpm and is paired to a six-speed manual transmission.
Performance times are reasonable. It will complete the benchmark sprint in 10.2 seconds and has a top speed of 111mph The 2.0-litre diesel engine uses the same MultiJet II technology and can be specified with an output of either 140 or 170hp. Both engines deliver their maximum power output at 3750rpm and produce their maximum 350Nm of torque at 1750rpm. Performance times for the low powered unit are reasonable, 9.5 seconds to get from zero to 62mph sprint and it goes on to a top speed of 113mph whereas the higher powered version can get from a standing start to 62mph in 8.9 seconds and has a top speed of 122mph.
Jeep offers two petrol engines on the line-up. First up is the 110hp 1.6-litre E-torQ engine The 1.4-litre MultiAir II turbo offers two power outputs of 140 and 170hp. The four-cylinder 1.4 is available in Longitude and Limited models the 1.4-litre MultiAir II turbo produces a maximum 140hp at 5500rpm and 230Nm of torque at 1750rpm. When paired with the nine-speed automatic gearbox, the four-wheel drive 1.4-litre delivers 170hp at 5000rpm with 250Nm of torque at 2500rpm.
The other petrol engine is the 1.6-litre E-torQ. This delivers 110hp at 5500rpm with peak torque of 152Nm at 4500rpm. This lightweight engine that’s only available in front-wheel drive models has unique components such as graphite-coated pistons to reduce friction and weight, forged connecting rods and an aluminium oil pan to help weight savings.
There are also two gearbox options to choose from, a six-speed manual or a nine-speed automatic. Both 'boxes are excellent, but special mention needs to go to the automatic. The nine-speed ‘box shifts seamlessly and makes driving a real pleasure. It's only available with the 2-litre diesel engine and four-wheel drive, though.
The Renegade is surprisingly good when on road, it is easily the best fun that you can have in a Jeep when driving on the black stuff. However, you have to remember this is a SUV so let’s put that in to perspective. It is decent when on road, but there are better cars out there when it comes to on-road driving dynamics including the MINI Countryman and the Mazda CX-5. The Renegade does feel good though, the steering is weighted well and it feels quite agile for a compact crossover.
If you are planning to do a lot of mud plugging then choose the trailhawk trim. It is best suited to coping with rough terrain. It sits 15mm higher off the ground compared to the other models on the Renegade range and making it the most capable.
Whether it’s conquering sand dunes, molten rock from volcanoes, mud, river beds or coarse ground such as you would find in quarries then you may be surprised as the little Renegade is a match for all that we threw at it thanks to a low-ratio gearing system called Jeep Active Drive Low.
There's a hill descent control system and Selec-Terrain on the four-wheel drive models.
This adjusts the characteristics of the Renegade- such as throttle mapping and traction control - to suit the conditions. These include Snow, Sand and Mud and an Auto function, handy if you are traveling through changeable landscapes.
Actually it really is quite a comfy little car. Up front the seats are supportive and the suspension does a good job of soaking up potholes making the cabin a pleasant place to spend time in. Jeep has tried to keep the noise from intruding in to the cabin by keeping the noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels down. Our advice is to stick to the smallest wheels or you will still get road and tyre roar intruding in to the cabin when at motorway speed.
In the car
Four trims are available on the Jeep Renegade, they start with the entry-level Sport, move up to Longitude, then on to Limited and finally end with the flagship Trailhawk trim. The entry-level Sport trim is only available with front-wheel drive and it comes with 16-inch alloys, halogen headlights, daytime running lamps, a body coloured roof, keyless entry and start, an electric parking brake, a tyre pressure monitor, Bluetooth connectivity, AUX-in and USB jacks, a five-inch touchscreen stereo with steering wheel-mounted controls, a 3.5-inch trip computer and air conditioning, all as standard.
Move up to longitude and it adds cruise control with a speed limiter, six speakers, heated door mirrors, halogen fog lamps, an adjustable driver's seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel, illuminated sun visors and a colour display for the stereo. The mid-level Limited adds 17-inch alloys, roof rack rail, a leather gearshift knob, a collision warning system, active lane-departure warning system, dual-zone air-con, a seven-inch touchscreen stereo and premium cloth seats. Opt for the flagship Trailhawk trim and this comes with Jeep Active Drive Low system, Selec-Terrain system, a removable torch, rear parking sensors, front and rear tow hooks and tinted windows.
Going up against the Ford Kuga to the Nissan Qashaqai is never going to be easy but Jeep has been quite clever, as they have slotted the Renegade in between the supermini-sized compact crossovers. With this in mind, the renegade offers tons of space on the inside. Load space is good too, there’s 351 litres with the seats in place and this expands to 1,297 litres with them folded flat.
The most frugal engine on the Jeep Renegade line-up is the 1.6 MultiJet diesel. It has a combined average of 54mpg, while the most economical petrol version is the 1.4 turbo MultiAir, and has a claimed average of 47.1mpg.
The Jeep renegade may be an all-new car, however, it shares its underpinnings with the Fiat 500X while the engines are also from the wider Fiat group and have been proven. So, the signs look good for the Renegade.
The Jeep Renegade was awarded five stars when tested by the boffins at Euro NCAP. This is largely thanks to the high-strength steel body construction, numerous airbags and the optional automatic city braking.