Give their ver­dicts on Jeep’s new en­try-level model

7 Days in Dubai - - DRIVEN -

he num­ber of Jeeps on the UAE’s roads could be about to grow, fol­low­ing the launch of the firm’s new en­try-level model, the Rene­gade. With a start­ing price of just un­der Dhs70,000, the cross­over is about Dhs50,000 less than a Wran­gler yet Jeep says the Rene­gade is true to the brand’s “ad­ven­tur­ous life­style and 4x4 ca­pa­bil­ity”. So, we de­cided to put that to the test by ask­ing hus­band and wife team Si­mon and Kristina Pluck­rose, who own a Jeep Wran­gler, to each drive the Rene­gade and give their ver­dicts. The cou­ple were handed the keys to the trail-rated Trail­hawk model, which has a souped up spec – such as raised ride height, 17in wheels and in­creased wheel ar­tic­u­la­tion, for bet­ter off-road­ing. How­ever, the Trail­hawk is still pow­ered by the same 2.4litre en­gine and nine-speed au­to­matic gear­box. Now, the Pluck­roses may not al­ways agree on ev­ery­thing, but they were unan­i­mous about the gear­box – it’s pretty frus­trat­ing.

Si­mon said: “Nine speeds is great for fuel econ­omy but means that the revs are so low the en­gine feels slug­gish. How­ever, if you slip it into man­ual then you re­alise there’s ac­tu­ally a re­ally good en­gine un­der the bon­net.”

The cou­ple also agreed the in­te­rior is well de­signed and spa­cious, al­though they were split on the ex­te­rior, with Si­mon lik­ing the quirky look while Kristina called it “boxy”.

Kristina, though, whose day car is a Ford Es­cape, was im­pressed with the size of the boot.

The cou­ple did agree the car was priced about right.

Kristina said: “Some of the price comes with the brand… think Re­nault Duster at about Dhs50,000, but given the qual­ity of the Rene­gade, it is value for money.”

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