Jeep Renegade makes

bold statement

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

JEEPis a word synonymous with off roading. Stuck is another one. What you don't want to hear is my Jeep is stuck.

That's like saying your favourite western is Cat Ballou or that Clint Eastwood would have been perfect cast as Annie Oakley. Jeeps are what you come home to Marlboro country in.

A four-star general stands in a Jeep to address the troops, the essential transport of Iwo Jima, it is how GI Joedelivered nylons and chocolate around the villages of merry England.

Over here they come in two flavours, the rich and creamy Grand Cherokee with AWD technical wizardry at the touch of a button and the Wrangler, which is basically just a pair of go anywhere dungarees.

What all models have in common is that they are tough, ten gallon hat and six-gun tough. The sort of cars men who don't mind being called a cowpoke drive. Until now.

The Renegade is Jeep's first foray into the small SUV segment which this year is somewhere to be seen. Like membership of an A-lister club if you are not in it you're out, just not coolio. It is also the first jeep built outside the US and essentially a rebodied version of Fiat's 500X, giving the car a taller, more rugged style. On the outside at least.

Make no mistake, a lot of urban chic has gone into the Renegade and while the beefed up range topping, jacked up Trailhawk is aimed squarely at the mountain sides the entry level sport will be popular with young dudes riding into town.

Lassoed for your attention today we have the two-litre MultiJet diesel with 140bhp and a six-speed manual gearbox in Limited spec which is just the opposite, fully leathered with plenty of equipment. That'll be £25,995, please.

Contrasting interior browns, greys and oranges were a bit on the lively side. Not so much John Wayne as the cowboy in the Village People.

Now here is the thing. This is an able-bodied off-roader with automatic drive settings and a transfer lock. It was given a good dose of muddy work and that does not go hand in hand with light colours. There is a black option. Choose it.

Euipment is plainly laid out and there's no silly lost corners. For the money there is a good list of standard fixtures like collision warning, rear parking sensors and a camera. Creature comforts include a seven inch touch screen, duel climate system and cruise control. Sat-nav is standard as is a DAB radio and Bluetooth. You get the idea.

On the road performance is quite acceptable. The two-litre reaches 62mph in 9.5 seconds and while the claimed combined mpg is 54mpg the car was telling me I was getting ten less. Even so with taxation at £130 a year it is not a costly car to run.

As was pointed out when the 500X was launched this two-litre diesel is not the most refined and while there is a bit of rock and roll from the tall body this is generally an unflustered drive which is hardly likely to include racing with pigeons on the back roads.

The Renegade is practical enough, good storage, the option of an adjustable cargo floor but rear seatpassengers have restricted leg room. The boot is good in the sense that it is tall but not particularly wide and deep.

You have to have a diesel if you want all-wheel drive. Petrol versions are all front-wheel motivated.

Already winning positive votes among assorted hacks the Renegade is going to turn heads and certainly shakes up the blander parts of the small SUV market. And unlike some of the more ordinary road orientated models you won't be marked out as a stick in the mud.

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