Jeep Renegade vs Nissan Juke: crossover clash

The Nissan Juke was one of the first crossovers to start the trend back in 2010. It remains one of the market leaders to this day, and vastly outsells the more traditional Nissan supermini, the dependable but forgettable Micra.

The Jeep Renegade has moved the brand into the class from a different direction. Its chunky, 4×4-inspired styling presents Jeep with an opportunity to attract new customers, who perhaps want off-road credentials with more modest dimensions and running costs.

On paper then, the Renegade has plenty of potential. But does it have enough going for it to usurp the Nissan? We compare the two to find out. If you like the look of either, put the Jeep Renegade or the Nissan Juke in our car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save.

Jeep Renegade vs Nissan Juke styling

From the outside, the Renegade and the Juke appear to sit at almost completely opposite ends of the crossover spectrum. Both, however, manage to offer a unique, characterful look.

The Renegade is tall, upright and almost Tonka toy-like in appearance. The oversized squared-off wheel arches and lofty ride height hint at off-road potential while, up front, the traditional seven-bar grill with round headlights on either side single it out as unmistakably a Jeep.

The Juke, in contrast, is all about bold style with a lower, sportier profile, and sharp angles forced against rounder, softer details. It’s a very love/hate car — some people can’t get over the weirdness of it, while others see the unique look as a refreshing break from the brace of bland designs from some other manufacturers.

Jeep Renegade vs Nissan Juke interior

While the Renegade’s insides aren’t quite as distinctive, the chunky theme continues. The thick-rimmed steering wheel feels pleasing to hold, while the grab handle mounted on the dash ahead of the passenger is a rugged touch. The cabin is rather grey, but is livened up by brightly coloured accents around the air vents and door speakers.

The Juke almost matches its exterior quirkiness in the cabin. The overall look is quite sporty – the centre console on which the gear lever sits is quite high, keeping the lever closer to hand, while the dashboard itself is wide and fairly high. Combined with a three spoke steering wheel and a low, snug driving position and the Juke feels more cockpit-like than many of its class rivals.

Both cars are fairly evenly matched in the practicality stakes – the Jeep has more space in the back (particularly headroom) but the Juke has the marginally bigger boot (354 litres versus 351). However, four-wheel drive versions of the Juke suffer for boot space, with total volume dropping to just 207. Four-wheel drive variants of the Renegade, on the other hand, remain just as practical as the rest of the range.

Jeep Renegade vs Nissan Juke driving

The Renegade and the Juke are among the best to drive in the compact crossover class. The Juke benefits from stiff suspension and a fairly low centre of gravity while, unlike many cars in this class, the Renegade makes use of independent rear suspension — ideal for maintaining composure during enthusiastic driving.

It’s a setup which endows the Renegade with plenty of grip, though the rather lifeless steering robs the driver of some fun. The Juke’s steering, in contrast, is much sharper and more direct making it a pleasant car to throw along a country road.

Unfortunately, both cars pay a price for this level of roadholding. Neither ever settles down on a bumpy road, with both suffering from a fidgety, sometimes bouncy ride quality. It becomes a little frustrating at times, particularly when both will spend plenty of time on cratered city roads.

Should you wish to explore the great outdoors, the Renegade is the one to go for. True to the Jeep name, it’s surprisingly capable when going off road. The larger tyres fitted to the top-spec Trailhawk model improve things further and, as an added bonus, they take the edge off the firm ride.

Jeep Renegade vs Nissan Juke engines

Thanks to a range of Fiat-sourced petrol and diesel engines, the Renegade makes for a reasonably smooth, frugal crossover. The most fuel-sipping option is the 1.6-litre ‘Multijet’ turbodiesel that produces 118hp and 236lb ft of torque – it make its way along the road at a pleasant rate, yet can return 61.4mpg in official tests.

Those looking for a little extra performance might be better served with the top spec 2.0-litre diesel. With 168hp sent to all-four wheels, it’ll reach 62mph from a standstill in 8.9 seconds.

For true performance, however, the Juke is the car to have. The Nismo RS version squeezes 215hp from a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine to deliver a seven-second 0-62mph time. It’s certainly exciting, though it’s generally accepted that many of the more traditional hot hatches are more capable and rounded.

The most economical Juke is by far the Renault-sourced 108hp 1.5-litre diesel that returns a claimed 70.6mpg — 9.2mpg better than the most economical Renegade.

Jeep Renegade vs Nissan Juke value for money

Based purely on purchase price, the Juke represents the bigger bargain of the two cars. Costing less than £14,000 — approximately £3,000 less than the entry-level Renegade, which performs similarly but isn’t as economical. The entry-level Renegade is better equipped, however, with a five-inch touchscreen infotainment system and DAB radio — but it doesn’t boast enough extra kit to justify such a large difference in price.

Both cars fare well in safety assessments. Both achieved a maximum five-star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests. It’s worth bearing in mind that the Jeep achieved this score in 2014, while the Juke was tested in 2011 when the tests weren’t quite as stringent.

Jeep Renegade vs Nissan Juke verdict

Both the Renegade and the Juke are among the most distinctive and fun to drive cars in the compact crossover segment. While the Jeep is well-equipped and can even head off-road with aplomb, it doesn’t offer enough to justify the significant jump in price compared to the Nissan Juke.

The Nissan has most of the necessary bases covered. It’s more than practical enough for most people, it’s fairly cheap to run, and it stands out from the crowd. It might not be perfect – many buyers would be better served with something more comfortable – but it has more than enough character to forgive it some of its faults.

Save money on your Jeep Renegade or Nissan Juke

Put either the Jeep Renegade or the Nissan Juke in our car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save. For more options, head over to our deals page or, if you still need help picking you next car, check out our car chooser.