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First Drive: Jeep's refreshed Renegade gets funky

First Drive: Jeep's refreshed Renegade gets funky

By Swansway Motor Group 08-08-2018

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The Jeep Renegade has been given a new look for 2018, but is it enough to bring a rare machine to the forefront of its segment? Motoring journalist, Ryan Hirons, headed to Italy to find out.

Should I buy a Jeep Renegade?

If you like to blend into the background, then Jeep’s facelifted Renegade is not for you; but if you like to stand out from the crowd:

  • Funky and fun to look at
  • Quirkiness continues inside
  • 1 litre petrol engine now available
  • Rugged looks and rugged ability, it’s brilliant off-road
  • You won’t find the supermarket car park full of them

What’s the latest on the Jeep Renegade?

Much like Fatboy Slim in the 90s, Jeep’s back once again for the Renegade with a facelifted version of its compact SUV.

Introduced back in 2013, the Renegade was brought in by the FCA-owned, iconic American manufacturer to capitalise on the boom in popularity for big-in-nature, but small-in-stature cars, using its legendary ruggedness as a key selling point.

It’s proved popular so far in Europe, but the Renegade remains a relatively rare sight on UK roads; so, Jeep will be hoping a refresh of the model will bring it to the forefront of the compact SUV market, which shows no signs of slowing down.


What’s new on the Jeep Renegade?

On the face of things, this may look little more than just a facelift; the new Renegade is certainly not revolutionary, but there’s definitely some noteworthy changes, the most obvious being its new front fascia that brings an array of LEDs to the mix.

New powertrain options are available too; an entirely refreshed petrol range for the compact SUV, with diesel options remaining at the core, with a few minor tweaks to update them.

Half the front of a blue Jeep Renegade


What’s under the bonnet of the Jeep Renegade?

One of the new petrol options on offer powered our Jeep Renegade test car. A three-cylinder 1.0-litre turbocharged unit, delivering 118bhp and 190Nm of torque. It was paired with a six-speed manual gearbox which sends power through to the front wheels. There’s been no official word on how that translates into performance times or efficiency as yet.

It’s a flexible enough unit, offering a nice, wide band of power across the rev range, which proves plentiful around town, although a lack of refinement does become noticeable when cruising on the motorway. The six-speed gearbox has a positive feel to it too, with a satisfying robustness to each change and with ratios well-matched to the engine.


What’s the Jeep Renegade like to drive?

The new petrol engines are very good, but, at speed, the chunky design means there’s high wind noise; so it’s not the car for you if you’re looking to chew up the motorway miles.

What it does offer over its rivals is genuine go-anywhere capability, it’s a true off-roader. It’s probably the most rugged looking car in the compact SUV sector; but it’s more than just looks, the Renegade actually has the ability too. A brief off-road run in the trail-rated version proved fun, tackling some pretty tough conditions without so much as a wheel spin.

Blue Jeep Renegade driving at night


What does the Jeep Renegade look like?

The Jeep Renegade is arguably one of the more interesting cars in its segment when it comes to design, scaling down the trademark boxy Jeep style into a funky little shape.

A bit of nip-and-tuck has certainly done it no harm. This facelift hasn’t brought a whole lot in the way of visual changes, but a redesigned front fascia with full, circular LED headlights brings it up-to-date and allows it to further stand out in a very crowded market.

It’s a shape that suits brighter colours, too. Our test car was finished in a dark blue hue, but a glance at some more vibrant tones on offer gave us a better impression of how quirky the Renegade looks.

Blue Jeep Renegade side on


What’s the Jeep Renegade like inside?

There’s plenty of quirks inside too, adding to the funky nature of the Renegade.

Take a glance around the cabin and you’ll see speaker surrounds that feature embossed emblems of the iconic seven-slot Jeep grille, which can also be found next to the rear-view mirror. A little glance at the bottom right corner of the windscreen will reveal a miniature Willy’s Jeep decal, too.

Headroom is plentiful thanks to the car’s height and although the seats are faux-leather and not the real deal, they feel plush, along with the dashboard coated in soft-touch plastic.

You probably wouldn’t want to go on a long journey with adults in the back though as it’s a tad cramped in the rear.

Interior of a Jeep Renegade


What’s the Jeep Renegade spec like?

Exact specifications and pricing for the UK have yet to be confirmed, so it’s hard to say just how much value you’re getting for money, but we can tell you our Limited trim test car had a reasonable amount of kit on.

Exterior equipment included the new LED headlights and 19-inch alloy wheels — while inside the car, cruise control, a panoramic sunroof and an 8.4-inch infotainment display with support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay took the spotlight.

There’s new safety assistance tech for the facelifted Renegade too; lane departure warning and ‘Intelligent speed assist’, which automatically adjusts cruising speed, with traffic sign recognition will come as standard across Europe. Automatic parking will come later in 2018, too.

Blue Jeep Renegade two thirds on driving away from you


Verdict

The facelift of the Jeep Renegade has enhanced the quirky nature of this compact SUV; it makes a bold statement and that’s not for everyone and for that reason it will remain an infrequent sight on UK roads.

That said, if you want to stand out, then this is the car to do it in, offering bags of funk in a tiny package. It helps that the Jeep badge brings tons of appeal, too.

And if you truly want to take your compact SUV off-road, the Renegade Trailhawk may actually be the class leader.


 

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