Edition 1483
14 July 2018
Edition: 1483

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

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Jeep Renegade given facelift

in Motoring · 28-06-2018 14:26:00 · 0 Comments

Much like Fatboy Slim in the Nineties, Jeep’s back once again for the Renegade, with a facelifted version of its compact SUV.

Jeep Renegade given facelift

Introduced back in 2013, the Renegade was brought in by the FCA-owned iconic American firm to capitalise on the boom in 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 Portuguese roads - though Jeep will be hoping a refresh of the model might bring it to the forefront of a market that shows no signs of slowing down.
On the face of things, this may look little more than just a fresh face on an ageing body - and you actually wouldn’t be too far wrong. The new Renegade doesn’t revolutionise the formula, but there’s definitely some noteworthy changes - the most obvious being its new front fascia that brings an array of LEDs to the mix. New powertrain options are present, too. An entirely refreshed petrol range features for the compact SUV - though diesel options remain unchanged at the core, with a few minor tweaks to update them.
One of the new petrol options on offer powered our Jeep Renegade test car. It’s a three-cylinder 1.0-litre turbocharged unit, delivering 120hp and 190Nm of torque, here paired up to a six-speed manual gearbox that sends power through to the front wheels.
There’s been no official word on how that translates into performance times or efficiency yet. It’s a flexible enough unit, offering a nice, wide band of power across the rev range that proves plentiful around the town - although a lack of refinement becomes quite noticeable on the motorway cruise. The six-speed gearbox has a positive feel to it too, with a satisfying robustness to each change and with ratios well-matched to the engine.
The Renegade never really set the world alight with its driving experience upon introduction, and the facelift version hasn’t really done anything to fix that. While the new petrol engines are very good, the SUV is a little on the vague side in terms of steering input - making it a less town friendly than rivals.
At speed, poor ride quality and high wind noise means it’s not well suited to chewing up motorway miles either. What it does offer over rivals is genuine go-anywhere capability - at least in off-road focused Trailhawk form. The sense of ruggedness is pedalled by marketing across the compact SUV spectrum, but the Renegade actually has the actions to back the words. A brief off-road run in the trail-rated version proved pleasant, tackling some pretty tough conditions without so much as a wheel spun.
The Jeep Renegade is arguably one of the more interesting cars in its segment when it comes to design, scaling down the trademark boxy Jeep style into a funky little shape. A bit of nip-and-tuck has done it no harm, either. This facelift hasn’t brought a whole lot in the way of visual changes, but 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. It’s a shape that suits brighter colours, too. Our test car was finished in a dark blue hue, but a glance at some more vibrant tones on offer gave us a better impression of how quirky the Renegade looks.
The boxy theme continues to the interior of the Jeep Renegade - but we wish it hadn’t. Space is quite cramped up front and it’s hard to find a driving position that’s just about right - often feeling too high sat, far away from the pedals while also being too close to the steering wheel. You’d struggle to fit any regular sized humans in the back row, too. That said, headroom is plentiful thanks to the car’s tall design and although hard plastics are present - there’s also faux-leather seats which feel plush, along with a dashboard coated in soft-touch plastic.
There are plenty of quirks to be found too, adding to the funky nature of the Renegade. Take a glance around the cabin and you’ll see speaker surrounds that feature embossed emblems of the iconic seven-slot Jeep grille, which can also be found next to the rear-view mirror. A little glance at the bottom right corner of the windscreen will reveal a miniature Willy’s Jeep decal, too.
Exact specifications and pricing for Portugal have yet to be confirmed, so it’s hard to say just how much value you’re getting for money.
While a facelift of the Jeep Renegade has gone some way into improving the quirky SUV, we still think it will remain an infrequent sight on UK roads. It just doesn’t drive as well as its rivals, and space is pretty limited. That said, if you want to stand out, this is the car to do it, offering bags of funk in a tiny package. It helps that the Jeep badge brings tons of appeal, too. And if you truly want to take your compact SUV off-road, the Renegade Trailhawk might actually be the class leader.

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Edition 1483
14 July 2018
Edition: 1483

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter

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