What is it?
The Jeep Renegade is something of a different kettle of fish for the compact crossover segment – which still doesn't have what you’d call a proper, old-school 4x4 within it: a car with plenty of grunt, a low-range transfer box and ground clearances to put a Land Cruiser to shame.
Most manufacturers would say that’s because compact crossover buyers simply aren’t asking for one, and certainly aren’t willing to pay a premium for one. But to a car-maker like Jeep, given how fast this part of the market is growing, that’s an irresistible invitation to launch one – whether the market wants it or not.
The Renegade is a 4.2-metre SUV-in-miniature that’s been designed and developed in the USA, is based on a heavily adapted Fiat supermini platform, and is being built in Italy alongside the forthcoming Fiat 500X.
Powered by a choice of MultiAir turbo petrol and Multijet turbodiesel engines, it offers clutch-driven lockable permanent four-wheel drive, an ultra-short crawler transmission ratio, hill descent control and as much ground clearance as a Range Rover Evoque – provided you plump for the range-topping Trailhawk diesel auto version that we tested.