All-New Jeep Renegade
By Tim Barnes-Clay, Motoring Journalist
www.carwriteups.co.uk Twitter: @carwriteups
You know when you rip open a packet of your favourite sweets? It’s a naughty treat – and it makes you feel a little excited, doesn’t it? Well, the new Jeep Renegade gives you the same feeling.
The funky Renegade is Jeep’s first entry into the small sport utility vehicle (SUV) segment and I got to drive a bunch of them (not at the same time) across a sunny (yes, sunny!!) beach near Edinburgh.
The car is aimed at youthful and adventurous car buyers – and the colours back that up. The yellow, orange, blue and green fleet on my press trip looked like a bunch of skittles (the sweets, not the game) with a wheel at each corner.
The overall appearance is rugged, yet chic, thanks to a combination of the brand’s classic styling cues, such as the seven slot grille, round headlamps and trapezoidal wheel arches that blend with the fresh, modern look.
Inside, the Jeep edges towards premium. Functional details crafted from high quality materials and innovative colours ensure the Renegade is likely to become a polished addition to your life. It’ll be a practical one too, courtesy of best-in-class interior space and clever, functional storage areas.
Equipment has been designed to boost on-board comfort. Advanced tech includes a touchscreen for infotainment – and a range of options includes two lightweight panels known as ‘My Sky’. These panels can be easily removed and stowed in the boot for an open-air experience.
There are different powertrain combinations, each of which offers a combination of efficiency and performance. The two MultiAir II petrol engines with a 1.6 and 1.4 capacity are nippy, then there’s a punchier pair of turbo diesels in either 1.6 or 2.0 litre guise. There are also five and six-speed manual gearboxes, a dual dry clutch transmission and a nine-speed automatic gearbox. Available with two or four-wheel drive the Renegade boasts two new, advanced 4×4 systems too: Jeep Active Drive and Jeep Active Drive Low.
The new 4×4 gadgetry supplies the proper amount of torque for any driving situation, ensuring safety even in the slipperiest conditions. It certainly worked a treat on the private beach (oo’er missus) I found myself on in Scotland. The rear axle disconnect system seamlessly switches between two and four-wheel-drive to guarantee traction.
The Jeep Renegade range has four trim levels: Sport, Longitude, Limited and Trailhawk. There’s also a fifth, limited model – if you hurry. Funnily enough it’s called the ‘Opening Edition’ and is only available now-ish while sales are in their early stages.
Although the Sport is the entry to the range, it features a high level of spec. Standard equipment includes a five-inch touchscreen with a DAB radio and Bluetooth plus auxiliary and USB connectors, a 3.5-inch electronic vehicle information centre, air-conditioning, electric parking brake and 16-inch aluminium wheels.
The Longitude offers high levels of functionality and comfort. It does so by augmenting the Sport model’s features with optional four-wheel drive, plus large car equipment such as cruise control, ambient LED lighting, a leather wrapped steering wheel and satellite navigation as well as 17-inch aluminium wheels.
The Limited tops the range in terms of tech and has 18-inch aluminium wheels, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats and steering wheel, leather upholstery, the segment leading seven-inch colour Thin Film Technology (TFT) electronic vehicle information centre, 6.5-inch touchscreen with sat nav and Bluetooth, privacy glass, rear parking sensors and silver side roof rails, door mirrors and front grille.
The Trailhawk is the model with the most ability off-road, thanks to the Jeep active drive low and selec-terrain system with hill descent control and rock mode. It has all the key equipment from the Limited model and stands out as being the most capable Renegade of the lot.
All models have air-conditioning with Limited and above adding dual-zone climate control. The controls for this nestle in the lower part of the dashboard. Beneath it and directly below the USB, auxiliary inputs and 12-volt power outlet there’s a storage compartment complete with a rubberized mat moulded with the topography of Moab, a legendary off-road spot in Utah for Jeep enthusiasts.
So, if you’re a bit mad; you’re addicted to fun, like bright colours and beaches, then the Jeep Renegade could well be for you. What’s more, you can take your family with you. ‘What’? I hear you cry. Yes, that’s right; this Jeep is good for your rug-rats too. So enjoy having them about while they’re young because they’ll always remember mum or dad with that crazy cool Jeep – the car that no other parent in the neighbourhood was trendy enough to buy.