Big when I was Little?

This is a Tonka Toy for the road; short, squat and chunky. The Jeep Renegade feels capable, like you’d hope a Jeep would, but also fun

Review by Marc Stickley

Despite the small dimensions, the Renegade has space aplenty inside – upright seating and no worries about keeping a low profile means a big boot and even the tallest passengers can get along.

Those chunky, but cheeky looks belie some actual off road hardware – the Renegade (in this Limited version at least) comes with 4wd, a low ratio box, locking modes and hill descent control. Pretty good stuff for a car of this size. On the road, the permanent 4wd adds stability, allowing you to deploy all of the 140bhp this diesel model develops. You’ll only be victorious at traffic light grands prix against coaches and bicycles, but it doesn’t matter. The little Jeep feels fun and the diesel gives it enough pep to get around with a grin.

Also on this model was great looking (although not recommended for actual off roading) cream and red contrast leather, with matching accents in the dash and air vent surrounds. You also get fun Jeep decals on the window uprights of a Willys Jeep climbing a hill, but slightly less fun and more tacky “Since 1942” embossed in the plastic around the infotainment. That touch screen unit is definitely better than the Jeep Wrangler I tested last year, but won’t be troubling most family hatch backs for quality or function. The full link app worked well enough with my android phone and the nav is clear. Those leather seats were also electrically adjusted and heated – a boon on a car in this market segment. The panoramic roof, twinned with the light leather kept the cabin feeling airy and bright.

You definitely want a Jeep to feel solid – the name is now synonymous with vehicles of this type: you can drive a jeep that isn’t a Jeep – but a jeep shouldn’t be all show and no go. The Renegade fits the bill – I couldn’t test it properly off-road, but it tackled some of my local broken country tracks. I have no doubt the auto gearbox (9 speeds and that low ratio option) with that 140bhp of diesel power (but more importantly 258 lb ft of torque) and relatively low weight, would make it accomplished at most “everyday” off-road ventures – towing, grass, tracks, around a farm, etc. It’s pretty good on the economy front, returning 38mpg when I was using it, but is claimed to hit 48mpg on the combined cycle. Only pumping out 150g/km of CO2, it’s Euro6 compliant – so if you do venture towards nature, it won’t choke the birds and butterflies.

The Renegade range starts at £18,250, with this Limited model weighing in at £31,950 as tested (it’s £29,050 standard, but had the pan-roof and the Beats infotainment upgrade, as well as the ridiculous charge for paint…), but it has everything you’d ever want of a small SUV and would actually function in the wild.

So – Jeep was big when I was little. But now is little when I’m big. But, importantly there’s room for me and friends and family, it’s fun to drive and would work as a “proper” 4wd. riddle_stop 2



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