What is it?
The Jeep Renegade is the American brand’s eye-catching entry into the competitive and lucrative compact crossover market.
It’s designed as an alternative to the likes of the Vauxhall Mokka, Skoda Yeti and Citroën C4 Cactus and is expected to bolster the company’s recent success and sales growth. Consequently, in order to net as many potential buyers as possible, the Renegade is offered with myriad powertrain and cosmetic options.
The quirky Jeep Renegade gets put through its paces on our thorough road test
We’ve previously tested the flagship off-road-orientated 2.0-litre diesel Trailhawk version, which proved well equipped and capable off road but knocked - unreasonably - on the door of £28k.
This is a less costly Limited version, however, fitted with the most efficient engine in the range: a 1.6-litre diesel that's claimed to be capable of averaging 61.4mpg. It's only offered in two-wheel drive form, though, which might take the edge off the Jeep's core appeal.
What's it like?
On the road, this version of the Renegade proves to have a lot going for it. What stands out immediately is its stout performance; despite packing just a 1.6-litre diesel, the Jeep moves out with comparative conviction and you’re rarely left wanting, even during overtaking manoeuvres or uphill stints.
Admittedly the Multijet diesel is all done by 3500rpm and becomes excessively noisy after 4000rpm, but the well-spaced ratios in the slick six-speed manual gearbox mean the limited rev range is no bugbear.
Through corners, the Renegade is adequately balanced and composed, and it's easy to drive thanks to well-judged control responses and weights. The ride is not the smoothest, though. Large bumps are dealt with in a fairly adept fashion, but smaller cracks and imperfections in the asphalt cause it to fidget.
Its bluff front and substantial mirrors lead to a lot of wind noise at speed, too, although the engine remains quiet, turning over at a sensible 2000rpm at 70mph.
Inside you’ll find plenty of room, both front and rear, although the front seats could do with more padding; they're not particularly comfortable over longer distances. The quality of the cabin is acceptable, however, with some plush door cards and neat details going some way to compensating for dull, flimsy-feeling switchgear.
Limited versions of the Renegade are competitive on the kit front, featuring standard-fit dual-zone climate control, a touchscreen navigation system, DAB radio and cruise control. Safety is also a key strong point, with the Jeep attaining a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating and coming with a battery of standard electronic aids such as trailer sway damping and lane departure warning.
Should I buy one?
The Renegade puts in an admirable performance, but it’s just too expensive, even in this Limited specification. The equally distinctive Citroën C4 Cactus, for example, costs £18,090 in an equivalent configuration. That’s £4805 less than the Jeep.
The Citroën is also VED-free and more economical. If the Jeep had four-wheel drive as standard, it would have considerably more merit, but you'll have to pay even more for one with that feature.
So unless you must have something with a seven-bar grille, or find the Renegade’s chunky looks and oddball detailing so compelling as to outweigh its premium and minor flaws, we’d recommend looking elsewhere.
Jeep Renegade 1.6 Multijet II Limited 120
Location Edinburgh; On sale Now; Price £22,895; Engine 4 cyls, 1598cc, turbodiesel; Power 118bhp at 3750rpm; Torque 236lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual; Kerb weight 1404kg; Top speed 111mph; 0-62mph 10.2sec; Economy 61.4mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 120g/km, 20%