Rather than just driving a car, it’s good to really try it out properly testing its practicality and size so we spent a few days with the Renegade, the 2015 model that was launched as an alternative to the large, rugged Jeep vehicles across the rest of their range.
It never rains but it pours
When the Jeep Renegade arrived so did the cold weather...and a deluge of rain. But fear not with a heated steering wheel and seats on our test car it was a nice addition when we first jumped in. Leather is the worse material to sit on when you get into a cold car but the heated seats were quick in coming through your backside but these are standard on the car we tested.
Living in the countryside not far from a river, you can bet that an overnight pour will flood the roads and the ford, so often is the case that you become wary that you won’t get through the water unless you have a boat. Luckily for us the Jeep Renegade has a decent wading height and coupled with a nifty four-wheel drive system, it made light work of the overflowing ford, unlike the white van man that forgot for a second that he didn’t have an amphibious vehicle. That’ll be the 27th vehicle stuck in the ford this year then...
Practicality is high on my list when it comes to cars so not only does it need to fit in a car obsessed 19 month old, it needs to have enough room for his pushchair too, which isn’t on the small side. Opening the boot I did take momentarily recoil in horror wondering how on earth I was going to get it in there, I was convinced it wouldn’t go in. But, it did, just. Not sure if there’d be much room for anything else unless it was stacked on top.
So with the pushchair fitting in, could I get a bike in? With Jeep having mountain biker Rachel Atherton as their ambassador I’m guessing she chucks all her bike kit in and off she goes to find a hill to ride down.
So the next practical test was to take one wheel off my bike and get the whole thing in with one of the rear seats folded down. Was it a struggle? No, it is deceptively larger than it looks and the bike fitted in perfectly.
Lighting the way
With the supermoon fast approaching, I nipped out a couple of times to check it out and although it was a few days from being a full one, there was something shining in the dark and that was the beaming, silver coloured iconic seven slot grille with the circular headlamps on the Renegade. If you needed light in the darkness then this was it, you can’t say the front of the Renegade isn’t distinctive.
One thing I did find for extra light was a torch neatly placed in the boot, Jeep think of everything.
A sign of things to come
What stood out during the time I had with the car was noticing all the little details dotted about the Renegade. In the depths of the square rear lights, the famous seven slotted grille was bang in the centre of it along with the X made famous on the vintage jerry cans found on the Jeep Willys.
Like a treasure hunt you spend the whole time searching the model for anything Jeep related, there’s a little Jeep Willys outline on the edge of the front window, ‘not a step’ on the door sills and the centre armrest has a rubber tray which features a map of Moab in Utah, which is where all the Jeep fans head to to tackle the rough terrain.
To some it may all be a bit gimmicky, but, oh hang on there’s another seven-slot grille, this time on the speaker surround...
The test car had a 2.0-litre MultiJet II diesel engine which produces 140hp with a healthy 350Nm of torque so it was pretty nifty and it has a first in class 9-speed automatic gearbox too.
Sunday was the day for a leisurely drive out and the Broadway Tower that sits at the top of Fish Hill (would love to know why it’s named this) looks out over the stunning Worcestershire and Cotswolds countryside, with vistas going for miles and the Jeep Renegade was definitely in its element driving through the leaf strewn roads.
A popular place by all accounts as the car park was full, but it also gave me plenty of opportunity to see what vehicles people had driven there. Now the Jeep Renegade is compact, quirky and won’t appeal to everybody, but parked up it had people glancing at it, rather than the turquoise blue Range Rover Evoque that definitely turned heads for the wrong reasons.
Love it or hate it, the Jeep Renegade is a great offering from the famous brand and prices start from £18,250. The model tested here starts at £24,595.