Jeep Renegade Review

Few small SUVs can match the Renegade’s impressive off-road abilities or left-field looks, but it isn’t very comfy on bumpy roads

6/10
Wowscore

This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Excellent off road
  • Distinctive looks
  • Reasonably frugal diesels

What's not so good

  • Bumpy suspension
  • Not particularly fun to drive
  • Cheap-feeling cabin

What do you want to read about Jeep Renegade?

Overall verdict

The Renegade's boxy shape looks rugged, but makes a lot of wind noise

Few small SUVs can match the Renegade’s impressive off-road abilities or left-field looks, but it isn’t very comfy on bumpy roads

The Jeep Renegade is a characterful small SUV, and a rugged alternative to the likes of the sporty Suzuki Vitara and practical Peugeot 2008. It has a few clever family-focused features but it sacrifices some on-road comfort for impressive off-road ability.

Step inside and you’ll be greeted by bundles of chunky details. There’s a massive grab handle above the glovebox for the passenger, contrasting metal-effect trims on the dashboard and doors, and even a fake mud splatter on the rev counter.

The materials in entry-level Sport models don’t exactly feel upmarket but higher-spec Trailhawk models come with plusher leather seats, a larger 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a second high-resolution screen between the dials in the instrument binnacle.

The Renegade’s high roofline and range of seat adjustment mean you’ll have no trouble getting comfortable in the front seats – even if you’re more than six-foot tall. Your back-seat passengers will have a little less space to stretch out but it’s still fairly roomy. The £1,200 panoramic glass roof cuts into headroom slightly, however, and fitting three adults abreast is a bit of a tight squeeze.

You’ll be able to carry 351 litres of luggage in the back with five seats and the parcel-shelf in place – that’s enough for a baby stroller and a few soft bags.

Fold the rear seats down in a standard 60:40 split and you’ll have 1,297 litres of space to fill. Unfortunately, there’s a large load lip and a tall step behind the rear seats to contend with. The optional £500 Function Pack comes with an adjustable boot floor that can remove the load lip to make the boot far more usable.

Top-spec Desert Hawk models come with a handy 40:20:40 split rear seat bench that lets you seat two passengers while having a long item poking through from the boot, but all Renegades come with a front passenger seat that folds forward as standard. This’ll allow you to carry particularly long objects with ease.

The Renegade’s impressive off-road abilities make it a great camping companion – especially if your campsite gets flooded

Mat Watson
carwow expert

You can get the Renegade with a range of petrol and diesel engines and with either a manual or an automatic gearbox. Pick the 140hp 1.4-litre petrol if you spend most time driving around town – it’ll return around 40mpg – or choose a 1.6-litre diesel model if you spend more time on the motorway. The 120hp version will return approximately 50mpg. Four-wheel drive is also offered on all but 1.6-litre diesel models, but unless you’re going seriously off road then the standard front-wheel drive Renegade has plenty of grip.

Despite that reassuring grip, the Renegade isn’t a wonderful car to drive. It can’t quite match the Nissan Qashqai for comfort or the Suzuki Vitara for smile-inducing handling. Its boxy body produces quite a lot of annoying wind noise at motorway speeds, too.

An upside to that rugged-looking design is that the Renegade is pretty safe. Euro NCAP awarded it a five-star safety rating in 2014. It’s worth noting the tests have become significantly stricter since then, however. Despite this, the Renegade is certainly worth considering if you’re looking for a funky small family car that’s genuinely capable off road.

What's it like inside?

The interior looks rugged but is a bit plasticky

The Renegade’s quirky touches and hard materials are an acquired taste

Renegade seems like such an inappropriate name when you consider that so much of the cabin is thoroughly conventional

Mat Watson
carwow expert

How practical is it?

There's just enough legroom for six-feet-tall passengers

The Jeep Renegade has no great problem taking four adults, but you can easily find alternatives that will take people in more comfort and have bigger boots

Just looking at the Renegade will tell you all need to know about its practicality: its narrow, boxy body will take four adults, but fitting three across the rear bench is quite a squeeze

Mat Watson
carwow expert
Boot (seats up)
351 litres
Boot (seats down)
1,297 litres

There’s a decent range of seat adjustment in the Renegade so it’s easy to get comfortable up front – even if you’re over six-foot tall. Its boxy body offers decent headroom, too, and the rather upright windscreen and large side windows make the cabin feel impressively airy – even without the optional £1,200 panoramic glass roof.

All but entry-level Sport models come with electric lumbar adjustment for the driver’s seat as standard to help make long journeys as bearable as possible. The standard seats are comfortable enough but could do with extra side bolstering to hold you in place in tight corners. Eight-way adjustable front seats are available for both the driver and passengers for an extra £465, too.

There’s enough room in the back seats for two adults to get fairly comfortable, but a Qashqai has more space. Headroom is generous and there’s just enough legroom for passengers over six-foot tall. Carrying three abreast is more of a struggle, however – the centre seat is quite slim and there’s a large lump in the rear floor that cuts into foot space considerably.

You can fit two child seats in the back of the Renegade but the fiddly Isofix anchor points are slightly tricky to access. Thankfully, the Jeep’s tall roofline and wide-opening rear doors make it easy to lift in a child seat once you’ve fitted the base.

The Renegade isn’t exactly awash with storage cubbies but there’s enough space for a few family bits and bobs dotted around its cabin. The glovebox is relatively roomy and each of the front door bins is big enough for a large water bottle.

Behind the gear lever there are two cupholders and a large central armrest with a small storage tray underneath. It’s just about large enough for a smartphone but not deep enough to hold a drinks can.

A small tray below the centre console comes with a USB port and 12V socket as standard but again, it’s not quite deep enough to stop your phone sliding out in sharp corners.

The rear door bins are nearly as big as those in front but their slightly awkward shape means they can’t hold particularly tall bottles.

The Renegade’s 351-litre boot is slightly smaller than the 375-litre Suzuki Vitara’s and lags significantly behind the more roomy 410 litres offered by the Peugeot 2008.

Fold the Jeep’s rear seats down in a 60:40 split and you’ll have access to a more spacious 1,297-litre boot. That’s 297 litres more than the Fiat 500X on which the Renegade’s based and a huge 587 litres more than you’ll get in the Vitara.

All models come with a handy 12V socket in the boot and you can choose to fit an adjustable false floor as part of the £500 Function Pack. This can be flipped to offer a wipe-clean surface instead of the usual carpet – ideal for carrying muddy boots or even muddier pets.

There’s barely any boot lip to lift heavy items over with the optional adjustable floor raised. The seats fold almost completely flat, too, so it’s a breeze to slide bulky boxes right up behind the front seats. The front passenger seat folds forward as standard, too, so you can carry exceptionally long items without having to drive around with the bootlid half-open.

Read full interior review

What's it like to drive?

There are some big blind spots out the front and back of the Renegade

Not exactly fun, but fantastic off road

The Renegade isn’t quite as comfortable as some small SUVs but it’ll leave them far behind when the going gets tough

You might never go diving but it’s nice to know your watch can survive 100m down – it’s the same with the Renegade’s off-road abilities. It’s nice to know it can…

Mat Watson
carwow expert

You can get the Renegade with two petrol and three diesel engines. You can also choose between a manual or automatic gearbox and front or four-wheel-drive.

Pick a 1.4-litre petrol model if you spend most time around town – the 140hp version with front-wheel drive and a manual gearbox can return around 40mpg. It’s not the quietest engine out there but it’s slightly smoother than the rather grumbly diesels and uses less fuel than the 170hp petrol.

The 120hp 1.6-litre diesel will suit you better if you spend more time on the motorway. It’s noticeably louder than both petrol models but it sends fewer unpleasant vibrations through the cabin than the larger 2.0-litre diesel version. It’s just about powerful enough to keep up with fast-moving traffic and will return around 50mpg.

If you tow trailers, pick a more powerful 2.0-litre diesel model with 140hp – it’s louder than the smaller 1.6-litre but it’s got enough poke to happily tow a caravan.

Front-wheel drive Renegades have more than enough grip for traipsing through a muddy campsite. If you’re planning anything more adventurous, the Jeep’s sure-footed four-wheel-drive system – available on all but 1.6-litre models – is grippy enough to handle surprisingly tricky terrain. These versions will use slightly more fuel on a day-to-day basis, however.

All models come with a manual gearbox as standard but the optional £1,400 six-speed twin-clutch automatic helps take the stress out of long journeys and heavy traffic. Models with a 2.0-litre diesel engine can also be fitted with a special £1,795 nine-speed gearbox with an optional low-range feature designed for more serious off roading, too.

The Jeep Renegade isn’t the most comfortable small SUV on sale but its high driving position and large windows give you a fairly good view out over traffic.

The large front door pillars can produce awkward blind spots at junctions, however, and the thick frame around the rear window can make parking in tight spaces a slightly nerve-wracking experience. Thankfully, all but entry-level Sport models come with rear parking sensors as standard and you can have a reversing camera and blind-spot monitoring features fitted for an extra £750.

Its stocky body might help it stand out in the car park, but the Renegade’s bluff front end and upright windscreen create a lot of wind noise at motorway speeds.

The Renegade feels slightly out of its depth on a twisty country road. It leans heavily through tight corners and its steering is both vague and heavy. It’s not quite wallowy enough to make your passengers feel car sick but it’s nowhere near as fun to drive as a Suzuki Vitara.

It takes most small bumps in its stride but it’ll shake and shimmy slightly over large potholes – especially at slow speeds. Its slightly roly-poly suspension helps the Renegade come into its own when you head off the beaten track, however. It’s one of the most competent compact off roaders out there and can haul its way over rocks and muddy slopes that would leave most small SUVs stranded – especially with the nine-speed low-ratio automatic gearbox fitted.

The Renegade was awarded an impressive five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP in 2014. The testing procedure has been made significantly stricter since then, however.

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