Jeep Rene­gade

Jeep Rene­gade £20,000 est.

Top Gear (Malaysia) - - Contents -

WE SAY: LIKE THE WAY IT LOOKS? BUY ONE. AND BEST TURN THE PAGE, QUICK...

You’ve al­ready made up your mind. You looked at the photo up there, and the Rene­gade in­stantly ap­pealed to you or re­pulsed you. If it’s the lat­ter, you’re los­ing. Jeep’s shifted over 800,000 of these in Europe and sur­round­ing ter­ri­to­ries since 2014, and thirst for the mini-Jeep is so in­sa­tiable that the com­pany’s con­firmed an even smaller, sub-Rene­gade model by 2022. This is as much Jeep’s cash­cow as its par­ent com­pany Fiat’s is the 500.

So, its 2019-model year-up­date (a tire­some Amer­i­can anti-logic trope) leaves the looks alone (the new grille is sub­tle, the pin-sharp LEDs op­tional) but con­ceals a new fam­ily of petrol en­gines. You can still have a 1.6-litre or 2.0-litre diesel, with a nine-speed auto avail­able at­tached to ei­ther, which is less in­de­ci­sive than it used to be. And the 168bhp ver­sion can be specced as the gnarly Trail­hawk ver­sion – no small 4x4 will take you fur­ther off-road, save for per­haps a Da­cia Duster.

But the petrols are more rel­e­vant, so we’ll con­cen­trate on those. The news isn’t good. The 1.0 turbo makes 118bhp and is over­whelmed by the Rene­gade’s bulk. It’s man­ual and FWD only, but slug­gish. Reach­ing 100kph af­ter 11.2secs is one thing, but ask­ing pas­sen­gers to get out and push to join the mo­tor­way is an­other.

So, you’ll want the new 1.3-litre turbo with 148bhp, then? Nope, be­cause it’s mated only to the worst dual-clutch gear­box in pro­duc­tion to­day, un­less you pre­fer DCTs that mimic CVTs. Kick­down is non-ex­is­tent. Even the old 9spd auto is prefer­able – at least the mo­tor wouldn’t be so thrashy in top gear.

There’s a 178bhp ver­sion too, with AWD and the 9spd auto, but Jeep hasn’t let us drive that yet. Nor has it con­firmed ho­molo­gated mpg data, CO2 out­put or prices for the new Rene­gade, which starts de­liv­er­ies in Septem­ber. It feels like the petrols have been rushed into pro­duc­tion to prop up sales as diesel goes through the floor. OL­LIE KEW

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