JEEP RENEGADE LONGITUDE
Twins under the skin put their platforms to differing uses. Richard Blackburn reports
Costs more than the Fiat 500X and has less equipment. Standard fare on the Renegade includes reversing camera and rear parking sensors, dual-zone aircon, electronic handbrake, rain-sensing wipers and auto headlights. Capped price servicing is among the most expensive programs around, at $1632 for three years.
They may be twins under the skin but you’d never pick this pair as siblings. The Renegade, with macho off-roader style wheelarches and bumpers, signature Jeep grille and boxy profile, trumps the Fiat with its removable two-panel sunroof but has a smaller centre screen display and feels more utilitarian inside, with durable rather
than stylish finishes. No satnav or adaptive engine mapping.
The 1.4-litre turbo shared with the Fiat is a strong engine with plenty of low-down grunt (103kW/230Nm). It’s also impressively frugal on the open road. The fuel-saving stopstart, which shuts off the engine at the lights, is a bit clunky and slow to restart. The dual-clutch transmission works well at higher speeds but is jerky in stop-start traffic.
Blind-spot monitoring, seven airbags and rear camera are standard but it misses out on safety tech in more expensive models, including forward collision warning, lane departure warning and rear cross path alert. Hasn’t been crash tested locally but got five stars in Euro NCAP testing.
It’s the best handling Jeep ever built, although that isn’t the compliment you may think it is. The Renegade is a competent and composed performer and has above-average road manners. Apart from the grumbly transmission, it delivers a relaxed ride around town and, for a high-riding mini-SUV, sits flat through corners. The steering reacts faithfully to inputs, while the engine stands up with flexibility and strength.