Cross over to the dark side
Takes a test drive of the Jeep Renegade Night Eagle
The Renegade is a chunky little crossover with SUV looks and, at the top end of the range, the guts to back up its beefy appearance.
It’s yours in more efficient two-wheel or surprisingly capable four-wheel drive guises, including a Trail Rated version that adds a small fortune to the price but turns it into a tenacious little offroader.
The Night Eagle is a special edition limited in the UK. It gets some specification upgrades, although these haven’t been fully confirmed for the UK market yet, and a semi-matt dark grey paint option that looks the business.
Looks and image
I love the Renegade’s style. It has signature Jeep features like the seven-section grille and the trapezoidal wheel arches, but the boxy shape around them is as classic as it is contemporary. From the high driver’s seat the bonnet bulges provocatively
Matt Kimberley into view and makes the car feel both bigger and meaner than it really is.
Space and practicality
The boot is quite big thanks to the height on offer. At 351 litres you’ll find more space than in a Ford Focus but less than in a Seat Leon or the Renault Captur with its seats pushed all the way back for maximum rear legroom.
The Captur’s boot is expandable to an amazing 455 litres, too, so there are better options for space hunters.
There’s ample rear legroom, to give the Renegade its credit, but unlike the Cherokee Night Eagle it holds onto cloth seats The Cherokee equivalent gets leather. Practicality in the smaller car should be boosted by rear parking sensors, which aren’t standard on the Longitude model upon which the Night Eagle is based.
Behind the wheel
You sit high above the road, eyeballing van drivers and surveying the kingdom of your driveway, if you have one.
You’re almost above the pedals compared to the driving position in lower cars but there’s plenty of space and the steering wheel doesn’t clash with your knees.
Dark styling details are Night Eagle add-ons but very little is actually different to an ordinary Renegade.
The diesel engine is a bit noisy here but it’s strong at low revs, punting the little Jeep up the road easily. The ride strikes an average for the sector, between comfort and sportiness.
Value for money
It’s true that there’s not that much going on to tempt too much extra money out of buyers, but technological additions do add a bit of value.
The choice could turn out to be a coin-toss between this and a standard but higher-spec Renegade.
There are many people out there, though, that just want that extra exclusivity, and the Night Eagle hits the spot.