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Jeep Renegade preview

Young farmers will soon be able to benefit from true Jeep heritage with a package that delivers in many important areas and with a unique sense of style to boot.

jeep renegade

Jeep Renegade will have a lot going for it when it launches in the UK early 2015

Does young sir require something a little different for his duties today? To stand out from the crowd in something truly unique…something that will get the job done in style…at home on the road…excelling off the beaten track…delivering true 4 wheel drive, comfort, safety and a pinch of adventure…Jeep Renegade anyone?

Young farmers will soon be able to benefit from true Jeep heritage with a package that delivers in many important areas and with a unique sense of style to boot.

Designed and tested in America but ‘born’ at the Melfi factory in Italy, Jeep Renegade is set to take the compact SUV market by storm with its best in class ‘walk on the wild-side’.

Taking style cues from the original and iconic Jeep, Renegade – with its round headlamps and 7 bar grille, adds additional flourishes in the form of the X motif from the famous ‘Jerry Can’, which is used to great effect throughout the vehicle. From the X style rear lamps, X roof branding and subtle X touches inside the cabin, there is more to the Renegade than off-the-wall style that makes it every bit a Jeep – despite its more compact dimensions.

I like the unique look – others may not – but styling is always divisive and you can’t argue that it offers something different from the run of the mill. Sort of a Lada Niva / Kia Soul love child with more than a pinch of ‘Jeepness’?..if only in looks.

jeep renegade

Trailhawk model is excellent off-road but may prove expensive at launch

Especially in Trailhawk trim and riding high on its impressively articulated suspension, Renegade is masterful off-road and more than capable on it. The top line 168bhp 2.0-litre turbo-diesel produces 258lb ft at 1750rpm which, when transferred though the new nine-speed automatic gearbox, offers a decent amount of punch and a refined drive on the tarmac. Selectable four-wheel drive with a low-range setting ensures that the Trailhawk won’t give up easily, even over the roughest terrain.

Additional off-road gadgetry, including Auto, Snow, Sand, Mud and Rock settings plus four-wheel drive lock for non-low range moments and speed adjustable hill descent control reinforce the Renegade’s off-roading credentials.

Commendable approach and departure angles of 30 and 34 degrees respectively, and a 24 degree break-over angle put the Renegade in a similar bracket with the best off-roaders out there – and, dare I say it – you could even compare it to a Freelander. Of course, there’s the usual skid plates to protect the underside in the event that this is put to the test.

You’ll also be able to climb a 1:20 gradient should circumstances dictate.

So what about on-road performance, I hear you ask? Well – I have to say that I wasn’t prepared for how good this Renegade was on the black stuff. During the press presentation, we heard about how this Jeep had been designed from the ground up to be strong & rigid yet refined and quiet – and I have to say that they weren’t lying. All the vibration & sound reduction techniques have worked, making the Renegade a pleasure on-road. There’s no clattery diesel noises here and you can hold a comfortable conversation with ease. Don’t get me wrong, it’s no library – but it’s surprisingly quiet with less wind noise than you’d expect.

The cabin too is a step up in quality for the Jeep brand. The leather clad steering wheel is chunky and the plastics in general are of a higher quality than anticipated. Door handles too, are pretty good (for anyone that recognises my obsession with this area!). Instruments and screen are of equally good quality, with solid switch-gear and comfortable seats (we’d choose leather here). There’s a decent size square boot and plenty of adult size room in the back. Seats down, carrying capacity is excellent, whatever you decide to stuff in it.

Road manners are good, with the suspension set-up soaking up the more ‘un-kept’ Italian village roads and surprising little lean into corners, considering the ride height.

The most powerful Trailhawk version only comes with the new 9 speed auto (though we’d take this option anyway) but the manual 6 speed gearbox in lower models is equally good. The less powerful engines will be cheaper to run too – all come with stop-start making them cheaper to run.

More info on towing abilities and such in due course…I know we’ll be covering the Renegade again in due course.

Already launched in Italy in recent weeks, Renegade is due to hit British shores around February/March time. If Jeep can get the pricing right then they will be onto a winner. First thoughts though, are that they inevitably won’t. No UK prices confirmed yet but an estimated starting price of around £17,000 might be expected, moving up into the mid £20k’s (and perhaps further) for the range topping and truly capable Trailhawk version, though brace yourselves for the range of extras available. It won’t be the cheapest vehicle out there – but it might be the most unique and versatile! We like it.

Andrew Poulton, Editor

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