Jeep Renegade 2.0

Trailhawk 4WD

Jeep Renegade, front splash
Jeep Renegade, front, static
Jeep Renegade, front, off road
Jeep Renegade, front
Jeep Renegade, side
Jeep Renegade, rear
Jeep Renegade, interior

TIME for a little history lesson, and I promise there won't be any dates to memorise.

It concerns the origins of one of mechanical engineering's most iconic names, Jeep.

For many the name has become almost a generic term for a hardcore off-road vehicle, some even referring to Land Rovers as Jeeps.

The tale begins during the Second World War and a realisation by the US military that it desperately needed to update its modified Ford Model T-based reconnaissance vehicles.

A whopping 135 motor manufacturers were invited to bid for production, the Willys-Overland Quad design triumphed and quickly became known as the Jeep.

Various theories have been bandied about as to the name's origin though the most likely is that it came from personnel slurring the letters GP, the military abbreviation for General Purpose.

Others say it was named after a character Eugene the Jeep in the American cartoon strip Popeye.

Either way, it was a huge success with more than half a million of the drab olive green Jeeps built for wartime action.

After the war Willys trademarked the Jeep name and turned into an off-road workhorse for farmers - it has hardly looked back.

Fast forward to the modern day and the company's latest model, the Renegade, has made its own history as Jeep's first entry into the small SUV scene.

It is also the first Fiat Chrysler Automobiles car to be jointly developed by Italian and American engineers and the first Jeep to be built in Europe but sold in the USA.

What's more it is also the first small SUV to feature a nine-speed gearbox, first in its area of the market to have rear axle disconnect and also boasts a 'My Sky' sunroof that gives passengers a true open-air driving experience.

While it's easily recognised as a Jeep with its seven-slot grille and round headlamps - rugged yet chic according to its maker - the Renegade looks a bit short and snub-nosed, something on which you could easily base a child's toy.

It's not short of room inside though and in time-honoured style everything from the seats and cup holders to the switches and dash feels of a tough, durable quality.

The engine line-up is comprehensive - two MultiAir II petrol engines, a pair of MultiJet II turbo diesels and the 1.6-litre eTorque petrol.

This Renegade, in top spec Trailhawk trim, is the model with the most ability off-road thanks to the Jeep Active Drive Low and Selec-Terrain system with Hill Descent Control and Rock Mode.

And its ride height is raised by 30mm compared to the 4x2 model while it also has chunky mud and snow tyres and a tow hook.

It's also is the only Renegade model to feature the 170bhp version of the 2.0-litre MultiJet II turbo diesel with nine-speed automatic transmission, so on-road performance is lively too.

Standard kit includes the likes of cruise control,Uconnect with touchscreen, sat nav and Bluetooth, six-speaker sound system, leather upholstery and privacy glass, though the electric panoramic sunroof adds an extra £1,100 to the tab.

FAST FACTS

Jeep Renegade 2.0 Trailhawk 4WD

Price: £28,595

Mechanical: 170bhp, 1,596cc MultiJet II diesel engine driving four wheels via 9-speed auto gearbox

Max Speed: 122mph

0-62mph: 8.9 seconds

Combined MPG:47.9

Insurance Group:15

C02 emissions: 155g/km

Bik rating: 29%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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