Jeep have had a bit of a tough time of late, but the new Renegade aims the marque at a younger market. Competitively priced and already taking a slew of awards – including best 4×4 of 2016 we took one for a spin.
The Renegade will be a marmite car. Some will love it, some will absolutely hate it. It takes some very cuboid design cues from the likes of Nissan, but also embodies everything that is Jeep.
It has the distinctive front grille, a nod back to the 1941 Willys but brought into the 21st century. It’s chunky, it’s rugged, it’s how a Jeep should look.
Inside the rear lights you see a distinctive X, look again and it’s the moulding on the side of vintage jerry cans, inside it hides the iconic grille once again. The Renegade is full of these details…but more on that later.
Powered by a beefy 2.0 litre diesel you get 140 BHP and 350 Nm of torque. This makes the Renegade good for a 0-62 time of 9.5 seconds, and it feels surprisingly spritely.
Changing gear is nice and direct, no ambiguity at all with a slick shifting motion – which was a surprise on a car like this.
There is minimal body roll when cornering and the whole car stays rather composed, it isn’t wallowy nor bouncey as you would expect.
Off road it’s pretty decent too. Taking on sand, and through a rather overgrown green lane showed its torque to be ample enough to get itself out of a patch.
You can switch between four different all wheel drive modes – Auto, Snow, Sand and Mud. It also has a diff lock, but no low range, for that you have to opt for the 9 speed auto in either Limited or Trailhawk trim.
On road it’s equally at home. Perfectly comfortable it eats up the miles with ease, road imperfections being taken with aplomb with only very slight cabin intrusion. However, the steering is suitably vague and numb of feel, but in bigger a car like this that can be quite welcoming.
Over nearly 500 mixed miles we managed 40.1 MPG, Jeep reckon it’s Urban rating is 47.1 MPG so it’s a little way off that, but still pretty good for a larger 4WD.
Inside the Renegade is light and airy, it feels spacious and quite classy. All the plastics are of good quality, soft touch where you need it and more hard wearing lower down.
All of the dials and controls feel pretty solid, and the touch screen infotainment system was easy to use once you find your way around the multitude of menus.
On ‘Limited’ spec you get heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, a welcome addition with the leather trim. You also get lane departure warning and a rather on edge blind spot monitoring system, it needs to be a bit twitchy though as the blind spots in the Renegade are massive thanks to those thick rear C pillars.
Due to the Renegades tall nature you are best off going for the rear parking camera, the high rear window can make reverse parks a little tricky around town.
Rear seat legroom is adequate, headroom can be a little on the tight size for an adult. Boot space is 351 litres, so average family hatch capacity there.
We said it before in our Volvo XC90 review, it’s the little details that count. Jeep have gone all out in the Renegade. There are a plethora of hidden ‘Easter Eggs’ around the car.
In the front windscreen there is a small Willys Jeep climbing up the black edging, the Jeep front grille is stamped on the rear view mirror surround as well as the boot interior and speaker grilles. The cubby in front of the gear stick has a partial map print inside it, the cup holders have the jerry can X.
‘Since 1941’ is proudly stamped in the centre console and mud splatter serves as a redline in the instrument dials. The wing mirrors have the Jeep logo, and since giving the car back we realise we missed the Yeti on the rear view window and a spider in the petrol cap.
Thing’s like that are just awesome, it makes a machine far more personable. It gives it character and flair, and that really sums up the Jeep Renegade.
It won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it’s a damn site prettier and better specced than a boring old Juke.
You can get your mitts on a Renegade for as little as £17,295, that’s in front wheel drive 1.6 petrol 110 BHP spec.
If you’re looking for some off road ability then you’re best off speccing the engine we had. The 2.0 litre diesel with 140 BHP and 4WD, this starts at £23,395 in Longitude trim.
Serious off roaders will want to opt for the full blown Trailhawk at £28,595, this has the 9 speed auto with low range and better ground clearance.
Cleverly Jeep have seen that the Renegade can appeal to a wide market segment, you can be very granular with engine and trim levels enabling you to get the same looks and quality without the full blown 4WD.
Jeep Renegade – Marmite looks, granular engine & spec choices caters for all, pretty damn good off road ability.
Owner / Editor of Carwitter – French car fiend, hot hatch lover. Follow @car_witter