VYING for a top position in the fiercely competitive compact crossover market is no easy feat these days but the Jeep Renegade is making its presence felt.
Whilst many rivals plump for curves and attractive soft lines, the Renegade remains true to its Jeep roots and features instantly-recognisable design traits such as the circular headlights, distinctive seven-slot grille, square-shaped tail lamps and large door mirrors.
In addition, the flagship Trailhawk model - which is the line-up's most capable off-roader - raises the bar even higher thanks to the addition of chunky 17-inch off-road wheels with mud and snow tyres, additional skid plates, extra ground clearance and a tow bar.
Inside the four door vehicle is deceptively spacious and packed with lots of techno treats to be explored.
Features include the likes of heated seats, a heated steering wheel, privacy glass, a six-speaker sound system with DAB radio, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, sat nav, Bluetooth connectivity, dual-zone climate control and plenty more besides.
There are also a number of neat touches throughout the car to offer a gentle reminder that this particular Jeep is a little bit special.
For example, the front seats have the word TRAILHAWK embroidered into them, there is a massive panoramic sunroof that allows light to flood the cabin, the rev counter has a mud splat motif to highlight the vehicle's go-anywhere ability, stylish ruby red trim surrounds the air vents, speakers and gear stick, there is the passenger grab rail and my favourite - a tiny Willys Jeep motif on the windscreen (you have to search to find it).
The Renegade will spend almost all its life on well-made roads, but it's worth remembering it is a happy performer when taken away from the Tarmac.
In fairness, Jeep's history is steeped in producing very capable off-roaders and this vehicle is no exception with settings for auto, snow, sand, mud or rocks along with 4WD LOW and 4WD LOCK settings.
So the Renegade looks the business, has a host of on-board creature comforts and will keep you safe and sound and on your original path when Mother Nature has a mood swing. But how does it handle in everyday situations and is it a practical option in such a competitive segment?
The answer is yes it is. The Renegade is a really practical option. At Â£28,595 (Â£31,395 with options) it's not the cheapest choice out there, but it does ooze character whereas many rivals all seem to morph into one indistinctive style.
In busy town traffic, the high seated driving position is a real plus factor and out on the open road the car is beautifully grounded with excellent road-holding and precise steering. The additional 15mm ground clearance means there is a little body roll into bends but nothing too dramatic.
This car was powered by a 170bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission.
It can sprint from 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds and tops out at 122mph. According to official figures, the Renegade can achieve combined fuel economy of 47.9mpg with carbon emissions of 155g/km.
I did find the nine-speed gearbox box a little slow to react at times when a swift burst of pace was needed, but that aside the car handled beautifully and the efficient insulation meant the cabin remained nicely hushed with next-to-no engine, road or wind noise to speak of.
The Renegade can easily accommodate four adults in comfort (five at a squeeze) and the boot is nicely sized with a 351 litre capacity which can be increased to 1,297 litres with the rear seats folded flat.
The adjustable boot floor is a handy feature and elsewhere there is a good sized glovebox, practical cup holders and door pockets that are not really big enough to hold anything other than a small water bottle.