Jeep Renegade £20,000 est.
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