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Jeep’s refreshed Renegade compact SUV injects some refreshing funkiness

PUBLISHED: 11:25 10 September 2018 | UPDATED: 11:25 10 September 2018

Funky Jeep Renegade stands out in the compact SUV sector and is also competent off-road. Picture: Jeep

Funky Jeep Renegade stands out in the compact SUV sector and is also competent off-road. Picture: Jeep

Jeep

The Jeep Renegade has been given a new look for 2018, but is it enough to bring a rare machine to the forefront of its segment? Ryan Hirons finds out.

Boxy Jeep Renegade is a modern twist on the brand's rugged styling. Picture: JeepBoxy Jeep Renegade is a modern twist on the brand's rugged styling. Picture: Jeep

The Jeep Renegade was brought in by the FCA-owned, iconic American firm in 2013 to capitalise on the popularity for big-in-nature, but small-in-stature cars, using its legendary ruggedness as a key selling point.

It’s proven popular so far in parts of Europe, but the Renegade remains a rare sight on UK roads — Jeep hopes a refresh might bring it to the forefront of the market.

The new Renegade doesn’t revolutionise the formula, but there’s some noteworthy changes — the most obvious its new front fascia with an array of LEDs and an entirely refreshed petrol range for the compact SUV — diesels have had a few minor tweaks.

Round headlights and trademark seven-slot grille. Picture: JeepRound headlights and trademark seven-slot grille. Picture: Jeep

Looks and image

The Renegade is one of the more interesting cars in its segment, scaling down the trademark boxy Jeep style into a funky little shape. It’s a shape that suits brighter colours, too.

A redesigned front fascia with full, circular LED headlights brings it up to date and allows it to further stand out in a very crowded market.

Smart fascia but driving position a compromise. Picture: JeepSmart fascia but driving position a compromise. Picture: Jeep

Under the bonnet

The new turbo petrol units 120hp, three-cylinder 1.0-litre and 150hp, four-cylinder 1.3-litre turbocharged unit, while diesels are 120hp 1.6-litre and 140 and 170hp 2.0-litre with the bigger engine having four-wheel drive.

The 1.0-litre petrol offers a nice, wide band of power that proves plentiful around the town — although a lack of refinement becomes quite noticeable on the motorway cruise. The positive six-speed gearbox’s are well-matched to the engine.

Rugged 4x4 Jeep Renegade models capable in tricky off-road conditions. Picture: JeepRugged 4x4 Jeep Renegade models capable in tricky off-road conditions. Picture: Jeep

How it drives

While the new petrol engines are very good, the SUV is competent but the steering is a little on the vague and the firm ride and wind noise are noticeable at motorway speeds.

That said, what it does offer over rivals is genuine go-anywhere capability — especially off-road focused Trailhawk with an off-road run proving pleasant, tackling tough conditions without spinning a wheel.

Space and comfort

The boxy theme continues to the interior of the Jeep Renegade.

It’s a compact SUV with an interior to match but while rear legroom is limited, headroom is plentiful thanks to the tall design.

The driving position is a bit of a compromise, some people will feel they are sitting too high, far away from the pedals but too close to the steering wheel.

Although hard plastics are present — there are also faux-leather seats which feel plush, along with a dashboard coated in soft-touch plastic.

Final say

The Jeep Renegade’s facelift has improved this quirky SUV and, if you want to stand out, it offers bags of funk in a tiny package while the Jeep badge has load of appeal. If you truly want to take your compact SUV off-road, the Renegade Trailhawk has what it takes to be the class leader.

SPEC AND TECH

Price: Jeep Renegade Limited 1.0 GSE T3 £24,400 (range £19,200 to £30,805)

Engine: 1.0-litre, 120hp, three-cylinder turbo petrol with six-speed manual transmission

Performance: 0-62mph 11.2 seconds; top speed 115mph

MPG: TBC

CO2 emissions: 139g/km

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