Jeep Renegade Review
Jeep is a company renowned the world over for its off-road know-how and expertise. Back in 2014 it launched its first compact SUV and now the Renegade has received a mid-life face lift. We take a look at the new model.
- Distinctive styling and good choice of trim levels
- Wide selection of engines and available with 2WD or 4WD
- Practical and spacious interior
- Ride can be unsettled
- Lots of hard plastic inside the cabin
- Quite expensive for higher trim levels
The Jeep Renegade has proved a great success since launch and has delivered record-breaking sales for the brand in Europe. Now the company's first compact crossover has undergone a refresh.
There are new, more economical petrol and diesel engines with Selective Catalytic Reduction that are all Euro 6 compliant. In addition, the car boasts a fresh look with new front styling, upgraded headlights, wheel designs, plus an updated interior.
Safety features have also been improved across the entire line-up with customers able to choose from four trim levels called Sport, Longitude, Limited and Trailhawk. Prices range from £19,745 to £31,440.
On the Road
The latest Jeep Renegade is powered by new three and four-cylinder turbo 1.0-litre 120hp and 1.3-litre 150hp turbo petrol engines. On the diesel front, there is an updated 1.6-litre 120hp unit and a 2.0-litre Multi-jet II powertrain with 140hp or 170hp. Depending on the engine, there are six-speed manual, DDCT (Dual Dry Clutch Transmission) or nine-speed automatic gearboxes, along with two or four-wheel-drive.
We tested the Jeep Renegade Limited powered by the 1.6-litre 120hp diesel engine delivering 320Nm of torque. This front-wheel-drive car, with its six-speed manual gearbox, could complete the 0-62mph dash in 10.2 seconds and topped out at 110mph.
Although there is the option of a beefier 2.0-litre diesel engine, the 1.6-litre unit delivers ample power for day-to-day driving. The acceleration is impressive for a compact SUV as it zips through the gears. Sharp inclines are easily tackled and the six-speed gearbox is nicely timed.
The car also coped well in busy settings with lots of stop, start driving. Then on faster country lanes it easily kept pace with other vehicles and there was instant power on tap when overtaking farm vehicles.
Striking a perfect balance between satisfying the thrill-seekers and delivering good all-around ability is a tricky business, but Jeep has made a sound job of things with the Renegade.
While it’s certainly not the most dynamic or exciting compact SUV on the market today, it is well balanced and can be pushed along with confidence. The road holding is assured and the ride comfortable through the bends with most bumpy surfaces smoothed out.
Our test car was sitting on 18-inch alloys which were the perfect match most of the time. That said though; drive the Renegade with too much enthusiasm and you will become unstuck. That’s because at faster speeds the ride becomes more unsettled and the car tends to become wallowy through sharp bends.
As I said, it’s not the most dynamic crossover out there and that’s worth remembering when faced with lots of switchback turns. Driven with an ounce of sense though, the Renegade delivers on all counts and the steering feedback is also good.
Although our test car was front-wheel-drive, customers can opt for 4x4 variants that bring all the Jeep off-roading expertise to the party enabling the Renegade to venture away from the Tarmac to tackle mud, sand, snow and rock terrains with ease.
The new-look five-door Renegade is very easy on the eye and stands out from the ever-increasing crowd of compact SUVs. Design cues include that instantly-recognisable Jeep nine-slot grille, circular headlights, new fog lights, black wheel arch mouldings and lower body cladding plus square tail lights with a distinctive cross pattern. The 2019 model has a new-look front end that brings it bang up to date with the latest, recently-launched Wrangler model.
When it comes to the interior, there are some really upmarket touches and the latest car boasts an authentic, modern look with neat colour combinations, quality materials, all the infotainment technology you could wish for via the Uconnect touchscreen and smart leather upholstery.
One slight negative though is the amount of hard plastic that could be prone to scratching.
Cabin refinement is further enhanced by the effective all-around sound-proofing. Yes, the murmur of the diesel powertrain turns into more of a grumpy rumble at higher speeds, but it’s still well suppressed. In addition, the car’s suspension system does a worthy job of smoothing out uneven roads.
In the car
With powered seats along with a fully adjustable steering wheel, getting a comfortable driving position is a quick and simple process. The driver has an elevated position so benefits from excellent all-round visibility and all controls, dials and readouts are ideally positioned for ease of use.
The Renegade in Limited grade is equipped to a high standard with the likes of a new larger Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen Nav system (five or six-inch on some trims). Features include full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, a six-speaker sound system, GPS navigation, steering wheel controls, dual-zone climate control and a DAB radio.
There are heated front seats and a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel to fend off the winter chill. The seats are supportive, but possibly not the snuggest in class.
The car’s layout is functional without being over-cluttered and many systems can be accessed via the steering wheel controls without taking your hands from the wheel. The touchscreen is easy to operate with simple controls and the sat nav system proved straightforward to adjust and follow.
With generous amounts of leg and head room in the Renegade, four adults can fit in with ease. Add a third in the back and it all becomes a little too cosy. But with a young growing family in mind, the car is ideal to carry car seats or transport a trio of youngsters to school and back while still keeping your street cred at the school gates.
The boot is practically sized with a capacity of 351 litres. Our car featured a Function Pack II (£700) that added 40:20:40 split folding rear seats with armrest amongst other features, and with the seats dropped flat, the capacity increased to a very manageable 1,297. The fold-down armrest with access through to the boot means the car could transport a longer item without affecting the two outer rear seats.
The pack also introduced an adjustable boot floor which can be handy when carrying difficult-to-load goods.
Elsewhere there are door pockets, a glovebox, front and rear cup holders, a couple of trays in front of the gear lever and a central bin beneath the sliding front armrest,
A dashboard-positioned grab handle for the front passenger is a nice touch when taking the Renegade off-road or climbing into the vehicle.
The extensive Jeep Renegade line-up is designed to suit most budgets with prices starting from £19,745 for the entry-level Sport edition and rising to £31,655 for the Trailhawk. Customers can also choose from a number of packs and optional extras to add features or give their car a personal touch.
Our high-end Limited model started life costing £25,940, although options saw the cost rise to £28,990. These included the Function Pack II (£700) for the addition of electric folding mirrors, keyless enter and go, 40:20:40 folding rear seats with armrest, adjustable height boot floor and key fob-controlled windows. A Visibility Pack priced at £750 introduced automatic headlights, automatic wipers, auto-dimming interior mirror and auto high beam assist. The eight-way powered front seats also bumped the price-tag up by £500.
When it comes to running costs, it depends on which engine you opt for with diesel engines offering the best fuel efficiency. Our 1.6-litre diesel driven car could deliver a combined 48.7mpg (WLTP) with carbon emissions of 129g/km. This would result in a first-year Vehicle Excise Duty charge of £170 dropping down to £145 the following year.
The insurance group rating for the car was 14.
The Jeep Renegade looks and feels tough enough to withstand a robust lifestyle and with many models offering decent off-road ability, the car needs to cope with the rough stuff. Jeep built its reputation on its 4x4 ability and developing vehicles to cope with the most testing conditions and this vehicle is no exception with settings for auto, snow, sand, mud or rocks along with 4WD LOW and 4WD LOCK settings.
The 4WD is an on-demand system that runs in a more fuel-efficient front wheel drive most of the time but automatically switches to 4WD in just one hundredth of a second when needed.
But in all honesty, most owners will stick firmly to the road so the car should hold up well. That said though: Jeep doesn’t have the best reliability record to date, so time will tell whether or not the Renegade will have issues. The other slight gripe could be the hard plastic that could show early signs of wear.
The Renegade comes with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty.
The original Jeep Renegade secured a maximum five-stars when it was tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating and the latest version gets even more kit.
All models are well equipped with safety systems and driver aids to help protect occupants and prevent accidents from happening in the first place. Features include six standard airbags and electronic stability control with electronic rollover mitigation. Now standard across the entire range are Lane Sense Departure Warning-Plus and Intelligent Speed Assist with Traffic Sign Recognition.
Other systems on the Renegade Limited grade are Forward Collision Warning Plus whereby radar and video sensors detect whether the Renegade is approaching another vehicle or large obstacle in its path too rapidly and will warn or assist the driver to avoid an accident.
There is Lane Departure Warning Plus that provides a visual warning if the vehicle approaches the lane boundaries unintentionally. In the case of lane drift, the system proactively uses the electronic power steering to help the driver take the necessary action to get back in the lane.
An Automatic Park Assist and Park Sense system locates a suitable parking space and guides the driver with audio and video instructions that also appear on the TFT instrument cluster. In addition, the new automatic pull-out function helps the driver get out of the parking spot. The driver needs to control the gear, brake and throttle position while the steering system controls the steering wheel.
There is remote central door locking and the car is fitted with a premium security alarm to keep intruders at bay.