Jeep Renegade 1.6

MultiJet Limited

Jeep Renegade, front action
Jeep Renegade, front
Jeep Renegade, front, static
Jeep Renegade, side static
Jeep Renegade, front static
Jeep Renegade, rear
Jeep Renegade, interior
Jeep Renegade, dashboard

JEEPS are big, macho and thirsty...right? Well, not necessarily.

Take the newly released Renegade which sets out tackle the surging compact crossover sector currently occupied by models like the MINI Countryman, Nissan Qashqai and Skoda Yeti.

For a start, the Renegade shares many of its bits with the Fiat 500X, and is powered by Fiat diesel and petrol engines, which gives a clue to its character and purpose.

The five-door is available in two and four wheel drive with prices starting from just over £17,000.

I drove the mid-priced 1.6 MultiJet Limited 120 which, like most Jeeps, bristles with personality individualism.

The 1,598cc diesel engine has bags of low down grunt so gear changing can be kept to a minimum if you are not inclined towards stirring the excellent and precise six-speed gearbox.

It's not the quietest unit at low speed but as the pace picks up, the Renegade quietens down and becomes a relaxed motorway cruiser.

The ride is firm but well-damped and passes on few road shocks to its passengers. It feels composed and comfy even over poor surfaces, yet it can be hurried around bends without fear of nasty surprises. Cornering roll is minimal by SUV standards.

The majority of models sold in UK are two-wheel drive, but the all-paw versions uphold Jeep mud lugging traditions well - far better than most competitors in the compact SUV class.

A nippy performer with acceleration to 62mph in just over 10 seconds and a top speed off 111mph, it also manages to squeeze the most out of a gallon of diesel.

My average over 500-miles was almost 50mpg, and the official combined figure is 61.4mpg. Emissions are just 120g/km making it efficient and cheap to run and tax.

With its traditional seven-slot grille, square tail styling and Tonka toy looks, the Renegade stands out from the crowd. The story is similar in the cabin with plenty of quirky features and soft-touch materials.

Families will find it a practical workhorse. The front and rear doors open unusually wide, boosting access and loading, and with rear seats folded there's space for 1,297 litres of cargo.

Even with four aboard, 351 litres of luggage can be carried putting it on a par with most rivals.

The Limited version has a split folding rear seat. A false floor in the boot allows items to be hidden from prying eyes. Trays and cubbies for oddments are plentiful.

Priced at £23,495, the Limited 120 includes stacks of standard equipment including leather seating, heated front seats, cruise control, all-round electric windows and sat-nav with 6.5-in touch screen.

One of the extras that I would opt for is the huge £1,100 glass panoramic sliding sunroof which turns the family hold-all into a real summer fun machine.

The Renegade is Jeep's first completely new model for almost 10 years and the first under the ownership of Fiat.

FAST FACTS

Jeep Renegade 1.6 MultiJet Limited

Price: £23,495

Mechanical:120bhp, 1,598cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 111mph

0-62mph: 10.4 seconds

Combined MPG: 61.4

Insurance Group: 13

C02 emissions: 120g/km

Bik rating: 19%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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