We had a fun packed day putting the new Renegade Jeep 2015 through its paces. Thrill seekers that we are, we took the chance to drive on the beach and on the off road course at Whitton Hall in bonny Scotland. This is a real off roader and it performed equally well on sand as on the beach, and in the mud as on the off-road course.
Its shorter wheelbase and excellent clearance made even the rocky seaside terrain a breeze. We were pleasantly surprised with the new Renegade’s huge turning circle which got us out of trouble on more than one occasion during the day; maneuverability that will work just a well in the supermarket car park.
Available in a mind-boggling array of colours, interiors and engine sizes this plucky little off-roader does indeed go everywhere. Available in a range stretching from the 1.6 E-torq Sport 5 Speed Manual to the 2.0 MultiJet II Trailhawk 9 Speed Automatic Low Range 4WD, the 9-speed auto version is unique to the small SUV segment. In terms of its competitors, the Renegade sits smack bang in between the Mini countryman and the Skoda Yeti in terms of price point which starts at just £16,995 for the 110bhp 1.6 petrol version rising to £29,995 for the 2.0 Trailhawk which boasts a whopping 170bhp. However, clean and green, the Renegade measures just 115g of co2 per kilometer which should keep the environmentalists happy.
The new Renegade is full of technology and full of refinement. Bursting with electronic features including start/stop technology, U-connect hands free and bluetooth as standard, all models come with air con, DAB and touchscreen sat nav. Add-ons include, safety, visibility and parking assist packs, yet more help for the supermarket car park! “This ia a car you can live with 365 days of the year due to its exceptional on and off road manners” they said and on the run to the beach and on the off-road course it was a comfortable ride but there is a downside however, and let’s face it how many of those 365 days will you be spending driving through clifftop rockpools whilst trying not to end up in the sea? We weren’t keen on the cars ability to go in a straight line at speed, finding the steering a little jumpy, the Renegade is definitely not a motorway muncher. Neither was it comfortable over speed humps with its rock hard suspension making for a bumpy ride, so not good in the role of budget Chelsea tractor. This is not a drivers car but it has a great personality and the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.
We were impressed with the head height, flexibility of seat adjustment and positioning which includes electric lumbar support and caters for all from dwarf to giant without the usual forehead and or kneecap bashing and both my 6ft 3in driving partner and I at 5ft 3in were equally comfortable. The Renegade Jeep is aimed at digitally literate young adventurous couples and young families and we thought its generous headroom and clearance will make it easy to get the kids in to the baby seat without slipping a disk!
Jeep are out to further expand their share of the growing market for SUV’s with Jeep sales up an impressive 75% worldwide due in part to sale of the Wrangler and the new Cherokee released last year. Pitched as the smallest SUV ever, this is your opportunity to “Be Renegade” as the strap line invites. Jeep has cleverly positioned the renegade as both cheeky and glamourous. Sponsoring the NFL, the T.V series Gotham and Red Bull adrenaline ambassadors, family mountain biking legends Gee, Dan and Rachel Atherton this is clearly “the lifestyle vehicle for the young at heart” with 40% of Jeep buyers being freelancers and 40% women with one in three being family buyers.
Other features include a whacking 560, yes you read it right, 560 watt 5 speaker stereo system, but there is more, as one option is to upgrade, yes, upgrade the stereo to the Dr Dre ‘Beats by Dr Dre’ system which feature 9 speakers. This option is unique to the Fiat Chrysler group of which Jeep is part, and there we have it, the car has a very european feel to it but is built for the demands of the reluctantly downsizing American market.
We felt an affection for the tough little Renegade and were sad to see it go at the end of our fun packed day.Yes it goes on the road but surprisingly was better off road confirming our thoughts that nothing does both making the cheeky little renegade the most stylish off-road vehicle ever.