By Bill McCarthy
JEEP is a name synonymous with rugged off-road capability and power, tackling the toughest of obstacles. A wartime legend, the brand has evolved assuming many guises over the subsequent decades.
But if you thought the world was already full of SUV/crossovers, Jeep decided to get in on the act and fill a crucial hole in the range.
The style may not suit those who like svelte profiles, but for those who like the rugged look, there is no mistaking it is a Jeep.
It features the signature seven-slot grille, lower bodyside cladding, integrated roof bars, restyled headlights, and foglights and chunky profile. Except in place of the usual four wheel drive, on this model and spec, power is delivered to the front wheels only via a six-speed manual gearbox.
Sat on 18-inch alloy wheels, it is still enough of a rarity to attract passing interest on car parks or parked on the road.
Based on the Fiat 500x, it is the first Jeep to be built outside North America and comes in a number of trim levels and engine options, the competent and flexible one litre, three cylinder engine in this case.
Starting at just under £20k all models are well equipped, with this top trim model adding goodies like heated seats and steering wheel, dual zone climate control, adaptive cruise control and parking assist system.
The interior carries on with the chunky, no-nonsene theme with solid plastic trim and robust switchgear, rotary controls and convenient storage compartments. The dark interior is offset by bright finish to steering wheels and central console around the gear selector. It is a comfortable place to be with multi-adjustable leather seats in a commanding driving position.
The boxy shape means headroom is good all round, but legroom is more cramped in the rear while although room for three passengers, the middle seating area is tight.
The centrepiece is an 8.4 inch connect multifunction screen and a seven-inch TFT display screen behind the multi-function steering wheel. There are also other USB and 12-volt points available.
The touchscreen controls sat nav, entertainment climate and connectivity which includes Fiat’s uConnect, which allows phone mirroring via Apple Carplay or Android Auto connectivity.
The latest three cylinder turbo petrol engine delivers a healthy 120hp and 190 Nm and is surprisingly quick off the mark seeming a lot quicker than the 11-odd seconds to hit 60mph. Like most three pot engines, there is a pleasing, raspy sound, particularly under acceleration and the decent torque means it pulls well through the gears. It is also a decent motorway cruiser the only drawback being the bulky shape mean there is more wind noise. But engine is noise is kept to a minimum at cruising speeds.
Economy is also good, the 40-odd mpg claimed seeming pretty much spot on.
As crossover/SUV, practicality and flexibility is a must and the Renegade offers both.
Boot space is plentiful with the standard 351 litres capable of being expanded 1,300 litres with the rear seats folded down and handy points mean shopping bags, suitcases etc can be stowed securely via a large tailgate.
It also offers a full range of safety kit including, six airbags, stability and traction control, rollover protection, lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition for speed awareness.
This model also featured blind spot and rear cross path detection as a £300 option.
Not a go anywhere off roader, but a real alternative in the crowded crossover field.
Jeep Renegade Limited 1.0 GSE T3
Mechanical: 120bhp, 999cc, three cylindel petrol engine driving front wheels via six-speed manual gearbox
Max speed: 115mph
0-62mph: 11.2 seconds
Combined mpg: 39.8
Insurance group: 11
CO2 emissions: 134g/km
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles