On the Trailhawk of

a lonesome pine

Jeep Renegade Trailhawk, 2019, front, off road
Jeep Renegade Trailhawk, 2019, front
Jeep Renegade Trailhawk, 2019, rear
Jeep Renegade Trailhawk, 2019, side
Jeep Renegade Trailhawk, 2019, interior
Jeep Renegade Trailhawk, 2019, instrument panel
Jeep Renegade Trailhawk, 2019, boot
Jeep Renegade Trailhawk, 2019, rear seats
Jeep Renegade Trailhawk, 2019, gear lever
Jeep Renegade Trailhawk, 2019, badge

THE trouble with a lot of launches for SUVs with all-wheel drive is that when it comes to testing them often manufacturers lose their bottle.

"And after lunch we have a course across soft pillows and a small supermarket car park to put the Satsuma through its paces," it may be said.

Jeep cannot be so accused. Never have they put on an off-road event which has not resulted in slight delay while an episode of Rawhide was filmed.

Once a cowpoke always a cowpoke.

On the recent Wrangler launch scowls and gestures were evident from people against That Sort Of Thing in the Lake District national park although these roads were the same one which counted as the daily commute for hard pressed farming folk.

No cars were harmed in the making of this launch but the same cannot be said of the Renegade event in North Yorkshire.

Here the toll amounted to a series of sump guards and some dinted wings as the car, essentially now a popular urban crossover choice, was taken to the very limit.

Closer to home I could not manage the same level of rough and tumble but, oh boy, do we specialise in deep mud around here.

And the Trailhawk version is up to any test.

What I particularly like about this Renegade, and it comes in several abilities from the shopping centre to the upper Yukon, is that while it may be compact and stylised it takes no prisoners.

The two-litre MultiJet 170 is no slouch, 0-62mph takes a comfortable 8.9 seconds and you should be looking at a sensible economy figure around 40mpg but 48 is boasted. That brings with it 155g/km on the gases scale and 168bhp from the turbo diesel engine and nine-speed automatic gearbox which should br enough for anyone buying into this sector.

This is the smallest Jeep and shares the same platform as the Fiat 500X, in fact they are built side by side in Italy.

The Trailhawk features hill descent control and off-road biased tyres to boost its ability.

The 4x4 system features Active Drive, which transfers torque to the rear wheels only when sensors detect that the front wheels are slipping. It also has low-range ‘crawler' gearing and diff locks. Select-Terrain optimises the diffs to suit snow, mud or rocky ground.

Top model is pretty expensive, at over £30,000 so you'll really need its off-road skills to justify the outlay.

Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a five-inch touchscreen and electric mirrors, plus air-con and electric windows.

The Limited model also brings parking sensors - the thick front and rear pillars make vision awkward at times. Otherwise the Renegade is reasonably practical, with useful storage in the glovebox and a couple of cup-holders between the front seats.

Trailhawk models have a more utilitarian feel inside and out; they're set apart by details like rubber mats instead of carpets in the footwells and rugged exterior trim.

Off road the Trailhawk puts many a big 4x4 to shame, not least because of its impressive ground clearance.

There is virtually no overhang and you make the decisions when it comes to selecting drive mode.

Firm suspension van make cross country work a bit jagged at times but then there is a price today for its abilities. Over roads it is comfortable enough.

Practicality is good, boot save is on a par with mainstream hatchbacks like the Focus and the squared off body line brings with it acres of space for humans.

On the road there is a fair amount of wind noise thanks to those upright door pillars and big ears wing mirrors.

Not everyone likes the exterior looks of the Renegade but make no mistake, it is a proper off roader in a compact package which is more than up to the job in Trailhawk configuration.

Just ask disgusted of Islington trampling the wild flowers on the green lanes of Coniston.

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