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