As a portent of what to expect from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the Renegade offers some reassurance. It’s proof that the group understands the Jeep brand and has ambitions for it. 

It also shows that Jeep’s dual-purpose remit continues to make it difficult for the car to match the dynamic sophistication of the best European crossovers, and perhaps that FCA’s engineering can still only take its cars so far.

Charmingly authentic — but also pricey and rather rough and ready

This is a likeable car and a reasonably effective one. That it doesn’t ride or handle as neatly as some of its opponents and isn’t as polished to drive on the road is at least partly because it aims for – and delivers – more off-road capability than those cars. Which is, after all, what a Jeep is for.

And yet on refinement, steering, ride tuning and cabin finish, the Renegade could be improved without changing its nature, while its value has been eroded by over-engineering and questionable market positioning to the point where, for mainstream buyers, it’ll be a hard purchase to justify.

While it is a step in the right direction for Jeep, the Renegade still falls short of the equivalent Nissan Qashqai, Ford Kuga, BMW X1, Skoda Yeti and Mazda CX-5. Until Fiat Chrysler Automobiles address the power steering, the ride and mechnical refinement, the Renegade will struggle to against its European crossover competition.

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