Cross over to the dark side

Takes a test drive of the Jeep Renegade Night Ea­gle

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Kent Motors -

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.

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