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
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.
For more information on the Jeep Renegade, read the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections of our review over the following pages. Or, to see what sort of offers are available on the Renegade, visit our deals page.