Jeep has entered the compact crossover market for the first time in its history with the stylish, practical and very capable all-new Renegade model. Available in 11 bright colours with a choice of six powertrains, the Renegade is a go-anywhere vehicle that oozes character and appeal. The new 2019 model adds even more all-round appeal.
The goodLooks, price, equipment levels and performance
The badVery competitive market
Jeep Renegade (2019) – First Drive
Jeep launched its popular Renegade compact SUV back in 2014 but it recently underwent a mid-life facelift with the arrival of more efficient engines, a fresh new look, plus an upgraded interior.
The safety features have also been improved on the vehicle that is available in four generously-equipped trim levels called Sport, Longitude, Limited and Trailhawk. The Renegade is priced from £19,705 to £31,440.
Customers buying the2019 model have plenty of choice when it comes to engines with a selection of new three and four-cylinder turbo 1.0-litre 120hp and 1.3-litre 150hp turbo petrol engines. Or for those preferring diesel models, there is an updated 1.6-litre 120hp unit and a 2.0-litre Multijet II powertrain with 140hp or 170hp. These can be matched to a six-speed manual, Dual Dry Clutch Transmission (DDCT) or nine-speed automatic gearboxes depending on the engine. There is also the choice of two or four-wheel-drive.
We tested out the Jeep Renegade Limited powered by the 1.6-litre 120hp diesel engine delivering 320Nm of torque, costing 25,940 (£28,990 with options). This front-wheel-drive car, with its six-speed manual gearbox, could sprint to 62mph from a standing start in 10.2 seconds and topped out at 110mph. According to official figures, it could deliver combined fuel efficiency of 48.7mpg (WLTP) with carbon emissions of 129g/km.
From a design point of view, the Jeep Renegade is very easy on the eye with its bold upright stance, instantly-recognisable Jeep nine-slot grille, new fog lights, square tail lights with a distinctive cross pattern, black wheel arch mouldings and lower body cladding and circular headlights.
Move inside and the interior has a more modern, authentic styling with smart eye-catching colour combinations, upgraded materials, all the infotainment technology you could wish for via the Uconnect touchscreen and upmarket leather upholstery. Techno treats are plentiful and, on the Limited model, include a larger Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen Nav system (five or six-inch on lower trims) with full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. There is GPS navigation, a DAB radio, a six-speaker sound system and dual-zone climate control.
The seats are comfortable with plenty of adjustment and can be heated, along with the steering wheel, to help fend off the winter chill. While there is enough room for a couple of adults to sit comfortably in the back of the car, add a third and it gets a little too snug. But the Renegade is designed with young families in mind and there’s ample space for three youngsters in the back.
Storage options are also good with a boot capacity ranging from 351 litres to 1,297 litres with the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. This rear bench set-up was part of a Function Pack adding £700 to the cost of the car.
When it comes to performance and handling, the Renegade has driving characteristics that match its looks. Admittedly it’s not the most dynamic compact SUV out there, but it copes well in busy town centres thanks to the great all-round visibility and can effortlessly hold its own on faster moving motorways too. Then when you take to the winding country lanes, the road holding is assured, and the acceleration is smooth and responsive through the gears, while the suspension system does a fine job of smoothing out any uneven road surfaces.
The original Jeep Renegade was awarded the maximum five stars when it was tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating and the latest model has been given even more kit. Standard across the entire range are Lane Sense Departure Warning-Plus and Intelligent Speed Assist with Traffic Sign Recognition, six airbags and electronic stability control with electronic rollover mitigation.
On the Renegade Limited model, you also get Forward Collision Warning Plus whereby radar and video sensors detect whether you are approaching another vehicle or large obstacle too fast. The system warns you and, if ignored, assists with the braking to help prevent an accident.
There is also an Automatic Park Assist and Park Sense system that helps to identify a suitable parking space and then guides the driver with audio and video instructions that also appear on the TFT instrument cluster.
All in all, Jeep has certainly upped the ante with its latest Renegade. It still looks quite quirky and full of character, but it seems to have matured along the way and developed more all-round appeal.
Jeep Renegade 2.0 MultiJet II Trailhawk
The compact SUV market is fiercely competitive so launching a new model into the sector takes some guts, determination and confidence, and they are qualities that have never been in short supply at Jeep.
So it comes as little surprise to know the all-new Renegade is certainly making its presence felt and turning heads along the way.
Unlike many rival manufacturers who plump for soft curves and attractive lines, Jeep has ensured its Renegade remains true to its rugged, ready-for-action Jeep roots with instantly-recognisable design traits such as the circular headlights, distinctive seven-slot grille, square-shaped tail lamps and large door mirrors.
Then in addition, the flagship Trailhawk model – which is the line-up’s most capable off-roader – raises the bar even higher thanks to the addition of chunky 17-inch off-road wheels with mud and snow tyres, additional skid plates, extra ground clearance and a tow bar.
Move inside the four door vehicle and it’s deceptively spacious and packed with lots of techno treats. Features include the likes of a heated steering wheel, heated seats, privacy glass, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, sat nav, Bluetooth connectivity, a six-speaker sound system with DAB radio, dual-zone climate control and plenty more besides.
There are also a number of neat touches throughout the car to offer a gentle reminder that this particular Jeep is a little bit special. For example, the front seats have the word TRAILHAWK embroidered into them, there is a massive panoramic sunroof that allows light to flood the cabin, the rev counter has a mud splat motif to highlight the vehicle’s go-anywhere ability, there are stylish ruby red trim surrounds on the air vents, speakers and gear stick, there is the passenger grab rail and my personal favourite – a tiny Willys Jeep motif on the windscreen (you may have to search to find this!).
Although it’s a fact that the Renegade will spend almost all its life on well-made roads, it’s still worth remembering it is a happy performer when taken away from the Tarmac. After all, Jeep’s history is steeped in producing very capable off-roaders and this vehicle is no exception with settings for auto, snow, sand, mud or rocks along with 4WD LOW and 4WD LOCK settings.
So the Renegade Trailhawk looks the business, has a generous assortment of on-board creature comforts and will keep you safe and sound and on your original path when Mother Nature has a mood swing. But how does it perform in normal everyday situations and is it a practical option in such a competitive segment?
The answer is positive all round. The Renegade is a genuinely practical vehicle. At £28,595 (£31,395 with options) it’s not the cheapest choice out there, but it does ooze character whereas many rivals all seem to morph into one rather boring and indistinctive style.
In busy congested traffic, the high-seated driving position is a notable plus factor and then out on the faster open roads the car is beautifully grounded with confident road-holding and precise steering. The additional 15mm ground clearance means there is a little body roll into bends but nothing too dramatic.
The test car was powered by a 170bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. It can sprint to 62mph from a standing start in 8.9 seconds and tops out at 122mph. According to official figures, the Renegade can deliver combined fuel economy of 47.9mpg with carbon emissions of 155g/km.
At times I did find the nine-speed gearbox box a little slow to react when a swift burst of pace was needed, but that aside the car handled beautifully and the efficient insulation meant the cabin remained pleasantly hushed with next-to-no engine, road or wind noise to speak of.
The Renegade can easily accommodate four adults in comfort (five at a squeeze) and the boot is practically sized too with a 351-litre capacity that can be increased to 1,297 litres with the rear seats dropped flat. The adjustable boot floor is a handy feature and elsewhere there is a good-sized glovebox, practical cup holders, small trays and door pockets.
All in all, the Renegade is a fabulous all-rounder and welcome addition to the segment. It may be the first Jeep to be built outside the US, but parent company Fiat has certainly ensured it features plenty of Italian flair along with many of the trademark Jeep strengths and 4×4 know-how.
Jeep Renegade – first drive
The compact crossover market is the fastest growing segment with buyers demanding vehicles that look great, handle brilliantly both on and off-road, are packed with upmarket technology and even come with a reasonable price-tag.
On top of all that customers are calling for impressive fuel efficiency and low carbon emissions so costs are kept to a minimum. And that extensive wish-list puts more pressure on manufacturers to come up with the goods.
But now there is a newcomer to the scene and it’s certainly got heaps of experience in its long-established off-roading history. Jeep has joined the compact SUV ranks with its fun, funky and very versatile Renegade model and it has the likes of the MINI Countryman and Skoda Yeti firmly in its sights.
It is the first Jeep to be built outside the USA and has been developed in Italy where parent company Fiat is based. But fear not, because the Renegade remains true to the brand’s outstanding off-roading characteristics with plenty of stand-out Jeep trademarks such as the circular headlights, square-shaped tail lights, larger-than-life door mirrors and the chunky seven-slot grille.
Priced from £16,995 to £27,995, the Renegade is available in four trim levels called Sport, Longitude, Limited and Trailhawk and these are powered by six petrol or diesel engines with either two or four-wheel-drive options. 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. It can also be locked to tackle sand, snow, rocks and muddy terrains
The vehicle is richly specced with even the entry-level Sport models boasting 16-inch alloys, a DAB radio with Uconnect colour touchscreen, Bluetooth , air conditioning and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
Move up to Longitude trim and you will add 17-inch alloys, roof rails, cruise control, body-coloured door handles and mirrors, a six-speaker sound system and ambient lighting.
Limited models introduce 18-inch alloys, heated leather seats, dual-zone climate control, a heated steering wheel, privacy glass, rear parking sensors and forward collision mitigation.
Then the Trailhawk models, which are the most capable off-roaders in the line-up, come equipped with all the trim on the Limited models, plus chunky mud and snow tyres, a tow bar, additional skid plates and extra ground clearance. This model costs £27,995 and is powered by a 2.0-litre MultiJet 170bhp engine with nine-speed automatic transmission and comes with 4WD.
The Renegade is designed to be a practical vehicle so storage options are excellent with large cup holders, a good-sized glovebox, deep bins and door pockets plus a boot capacity of 351 litres which can be increased to 1,297 litres with the rear seats folded flat.
The bright and spacious interior is clutter-free and modern in its design and the high roofline means ample headroom for back seat passengers who also benefit from good leg and shoulder space.
So the Renegade which is available in 11 bright colours with plenty of interior personalisation options, looks smart and has all the potential of a classy compact SUV, but how does it handle when put to the test? The answer is very well indeed.
It’s true that the somewhat box-like shape and high-ride position means it’s not the most refined and comfortable vehicle on our roads today, but this is designed to be a go-anywhere vehicle and it can do just that as Jeep was happy to demonstrate.
For we tested a number of models on twisting country lanes, fast-moving motorways and then on deep wet sand with slippery rocks and finally on a muddy woodland off-road course consisting of large boulders, steep muddy inclines, slippery banks and boggy terrain and the Renegade passed with flying colours.
But first up was the 2.0-litre diesel MultiJet engine with 140bhp mated to a six-speed manual gearbox in Limited trim level.
This model was priced at £25,395 which was increased to £27,935 with the addition of a glass panoramic sunroof, eight-way powered front seats, metallic paint and an upgraded Beats nine-speaker infotainment system.
According to Jeep, it can sprint to 62mph from a standing start in 9.5 seconds with a top speed of 113mph and can achieve 55.4mpg on a combined run with carbon emissions of 134g/km.
The car handled beautifully with ample power on tap at all times. The high-seated driving position means there is superb all-round visibility aided by the large door mirrors.
Acceleration is both smooth and responsive and the vehicle is extremely sure-footed which means tight bends can be attacked and conquered with confidence.
Parking and manoeuvrability is made simple thanks to the vehicle’s great agility and excellent turning lock, which makes the Renegade a very capable all-rounder.
Next up was the 1.4 petrol MultiAir model with 140bhp mated to a six-speed manual gearbox in Limited trim.
This car was priced at £22,395 (£24,665 with options) and can sprint from 0-62mph in 10.9 seconds with a maximum speed of 112mph. It can deliver 47.1mpg on a combined run with emissions of 140g/km.
Once again the vehicle proved great fun to drive and its performance matched its exciting, bold and eye-catching appearance. If anything, the responses were slightly edgier on the petrol model with a little more bite on offer, but both cars were an absolute pleasure to drive.
Those large door mirrors do result in a little wind noise at higher speeds, but that aside, the ride is relatively quiet and exceptionally well grounded.
Finally, some tough off-loading was the order of the day and in standard models with no additional body kit, the vehicle made light work of any obstacles put in its path.
It’s true many Renegade customers will never venture far from the Tarmac but it’s always reassuring to know just what the vehicle can do if necessary.
Safety systems on the car are comprehensive and include more than 60 features, such as forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and lots more besides – all of which helped the vehicle achieve the maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP safety tests.
All in all, the Jeep Renegade is a welcome newcomer to the popular crossover scene and despite being under the Fiat Group’s umbrella these days it still carries the Jeep badging with pride and conviction.