Review: Jeep Renegade (2015)
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Small yet impressively spacious SUV. Good quality interior. Refined and quiet even at speed. Usefully large boot and wide opening rear doors.
Firm and bouncy ride in 2WD versions.
Jeep Renegade (2015): At A Glance
- New prices start from £19,200, brokers can source from £17,044
- Contract hire deals from £195.10 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 8–16
- On average it achieves 77% of the official MPG figure
The Renegade is smaller than anything Jeep has made in recent years but with the explosion in popularity of small SUVs, it comes at a good time. With its chunky and rugged looks it stands out from the competition such as the Skoda Yeti and to some extent the MINI Countryman.
Jeep is keen to highlight its off-road history, labelling the Renegade the only true SUV in the small crossover market. That said, most models sold will actually be two-wheel drive.
There is plenty of classic Jeep influence in the styling with those recognisable circular headlights and the slotted grille. The interior quality is impressive as Jeep's resurgence continues, and while this is a smaller SUV, it's nonetheless refined with a solid and good quality feel. It's comfortable too and an impressive car for motorway with little wind noise, despite the rather boxy shape.
What that boxy shape does mean is plenty of interior space with good headroom, especially in the back. The wide opening doors are handy for parents fitting child seats and the interior feels robust enough to cope with everyday family life.
It drives well with responsive steering and a surprising agility in corners. It has an enjoyable character that's hard not to like and although the ride is overly firm and at times bouncy, the Renegade gets a lot right and very little wrong. Aside from the two-wheel drive models there are also 4x4 versions which use an on-demand system, meaning they run in front-wheel drive the majority of the time, cutting down on fuel consumption.
With a tight turning circle and a raised driving position the Renegade has all the qualities needed to rival the current crop of crossovers and small SUVs. And while the looks might not be to everyone's tastes (it looks better in the metal than in photographs) the fact it has a Jeep badge gives it plenty of kudos and the standard of the interior helps make it feel a class above much of the competition.
There's a wide - somewhat baffling choice - of engines and gearboxes but the ones to go for are both two-wheel drive. There's the impressive 1.4 MultiAir petrol with 140PS, available with a standard six-speed manual or optional DDCT twin-clutch automatic. Alongside that we'd recommend the 1.6 MultiJet diesel with 120PS which is smooth yet punchy with good low down pulling power.
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Jeep Renegade (2015): What's It Like Inside?
The interiors of recent Jeep models, such as the Cherokee, have seen a big level of improvement in both design and quality. And the Renegade moves things on yet again. Gone are the days of smaller Jeep models having cheap and plastic laden cabins, instead the Renegade has a solidly built yet well finished interior which has a nice touch of quality to it, helping lift the Jeep above the competition.
The layout is fairly conventional but it's very intuitive with all the main control easy to work. The instrument dials are simple and, on top models, include an advanced large colour display between them, giving you all the trip information in an easy to read and nicely designed fashion. It's something we're used to seeing on more expensive cars so it's nice to see Jeep filtering it down to a more affordable smaller SUV. Lower trim levels have to make do with a smaller monochrome display though.
Thanks to the upright windscreen the Renegade feels very spacious and the boxy shape means excellent headroom, which is especially noticeable in the back - an area where many smaller SUVs like this can feel claustrophobic. Rear legroom is decent but more useful, especially for parents, are the wide opening back doors which make fitting child seats and looking after younger ones, much easier.
Overall the quality of the Jeep feels good with soft touch plastics on the dash top while details like plenty of padding in the door armrests give it a more upmarket feel. There's a nice metal topped gear lever plus a grab handle on the passenger side dash, a nod to the 4x4 heritage of Jeep and useful for nervous passengers.
All models, even the entry-level Sport, come with a colour touchscreen, called UConnect, in the centre stack which controls the stereo and - if fitted - the navigation. It's the same system used across the Jeep range and works well with quick routing and a clear display.
As for boot space, the Renegade boasts a 351-litre load area, which is less than a Skoda Yeti at 416 litres, but it's practical nonetheless with a double level floor and - when the floor is in its upper position - virtually no load lip. The boot opening itself is wide and square so ideal for pushchairs, the only minor criticism is that the tailgate doesn't open particularly high, good for multi-storey car parks but not great if you're tall.
Storage is useful with decent-sized door pockets that can hold a drinks bottle plus twin cupholders behind the gear lever, the space freed up thanks to the fact the Renegade has an electric parking brake rather than a traditional hand brake. Between the front seats is also a usefully deep cubby that doubles as a centre armrest.
The standard black interior is fairly sombre but it can be livened up with a series of coloured seat fabrics, dashboard coverings and trims around the air vents and gear lever, much like the Nissan Juke. It's not to everyone's taste but it does help the Renegade to feel different from a run of the mill small SUV.
Sport models have 16-inch black steel wheels,chrome grill slot inserts, matte black finished grille surround, daytime running lamps, body colour steel roof, entry remote control, satin chrome plated gear lever (on manual gearbox only), ABS, ESC, Traction Control, Hill Start Assist, six airbags, electric power steering, electric park brake, tyre pressure monitoring system, UConnect 5.0 radio with four-speaker audio system, touchscreen, Bluetooth, auxiliary jack, USB, 3.5” Electronic Vehicle Information Center, steering wheel controls, electric windows and manual air conditioner. Optional equipment on the Sport model includes 16-inch wheels, Diamond-cut with crystal granite painted finish.
Longitude comes 16-inch alloy wheels diamond-cut with crystalgGranite painted finish, Cruise control, 3.5-inch monochromatic instrument panel, speed limiter, six speakers, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, body color door handles, front halogen fog lights, roof rack rail, adjustable driver seat, leather wrapped steering wheel, ambient LED lighting, illuminated sun visors, Uconnect 5.0 touchscreen radio with 5.0-inch colour display and Uconnect Voice Command Bluetooth. Optional equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels with Silver tech painted finish, electric sunroof, heated front seats with heated steering wheel and rear parking sensors.
Limited adds 17-inch alloy wheels with silver tech painted finish, silver painted-finished grille surround, roof rack rail, bright painted-finished heated mirrors, bright-finished exhaust tip, carpeted front floor mats, leather shift knob, Forward Collision Warning-Plus, Lane Departure Warning-Plus, satin-finish light grey roof side rails, dual zone automatic air conditioning, door trim with vinyl insert, 7-inch TFT colour premium instrument cluster display. Optional equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, diamond-cut and Satin Silver or Grey Granite painted finish, power 8-way front seats including 4 way lumbar adjustment, heated steering wheel and front seats, leather seats, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), UConnect 6.5AN touchscreen radio with 6.5-inch color display and navigation.
Trailhawk gets Jeep Active Drive Low system with 20:1 crawl ratio, Selec-Terrain system with rock mode and hill descent control, an increased ride height of 35mm compared to 4x2 model, off-road suspension, skid plates, enhanced approach/departure angles, 17-inch alloy wheels diamond-cut and low gloss black painted finish, mud and snow tyres, black accent roof rails, 7-inch TFT colour premium multiview display, removable flashlight, rear parking sensor, privacy glass and dual zone automatic temperature control.
Child seats that fit a Jeep Renegade (2015)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Jeep Renegade (2015) like to drive?
- Engines range from 1.0 to 2.0 MultiJet 170 4WD Automatic
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 23–56 mpg
Jeep says it has worked hard on refinement in the Renegade and it's certainly quiet and civilised for a small SUV. There is good sound proofing from the engine bay while road noise is kept to a minimum but the most impressive aspect is the lack of wind noise at speed. Given the square shape of the Renegade and the upright windscreen this is no mean feat.
That square shape has advantages when it comes to judging the front end and corners but rear visibility isn't as good due to the thick pillars which can make parking a little tricky. But for a small SUV it's good in town with that slightly raised driving position helping plus a tight turning circle which means getting into tight spaces is relatively easy.
On the motorway the Renegade is equally adept and happily cruises along, feeling stable and stress free. Get it onto a road with a few corners and it's just as good with responsive and well-weighted steering, not too much in the way of body roll and a slick gear change on manual models. The main controls, such as the clutch and accelerator, have a nice weighty action to them, giving the Jeep a solid feel.
The only downside is the ride. While it copes well over average road surfaces, it can really bounce over potholes and uneven tarmac. As a result it's not all that comfortable along rural country lanes, not ideal for an SUV that majors on having true 4x4 ability. That said, over poor surfaces there's no vibration through the suspension - the Renegade doesn't crash over bumps - but the set-up feels overly stiff.
There's a wide choice of engines and gearboxes in the Renegade, in fact some would say a rather confusing range, with both two and four-wheel drive models available. The entry-level model is a 1.6-litre petrol but more popular will be the 1.4 MultiAir petrol. Two versions are available - one with 140PS that comes as a 2WD and the choice of a six-speed manual or a DDCT dual-clutch gearbox automatic that was first seen in the Alfa Romeo MiTo.
This engine is quiet, smooth and punchy, making it ideal for the Renegade and the best choice if you're going to be doing lots of short journeys. Official economy is 47.1mpg with the standard manual gearbox and slightly better at 47.9mpg with the DDCT gearbox. Thanks to the fact it's turbocharged, the MultiAir has more power and pep than its small 1.4-litre size suggests, giving the Jeep a surprisingly nippy turn of pace. The standard six-speed gearbox has a nice positive shift and for us, this model is the pick of the range.
You can get the a more powerful 170PS version of the 1.4 MultiAir that has four-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic (different from the DDCT gearbox) as standard. It's the quickest model in the range with a 0-62mph time of 8.8 seconds but with claimed economy of 40.1mpg and 160g/km of CO2 it will be the most expensive to run.
The diesels include the impressive 1.6-litre MultiJet with 120PS. Like the smaller MultiAir, it only comes with two-wheel drive but with official economy of 50.4mpg it's the most frugal model in the line-up. The engine is smooth for a diesel and not too vocal either, plus it has plenty of low down torque so you don't have to work it hard. It's ideal on the motorway and at 70mph is barely breaking a sweat.
If you want a diesel with four-wheel drive there's the 2.0 MultiJet that's available in two version. The lower-powered model has 140PS and is available with a manual or a nine-speed automatic gearbox while the 170PS version comes with the auto 'box only.
This more powerful diesel engine is used in the top of the range Trailhawk model which is designed as a proper off-roader with a low ratio crawler system, a rock mode and hill descent control. It also has off-road suspension, skid plates, more ground clearance along with mud and snow tyres. However, expect this to be a rare sight on the roads.
The two-wheel drive models make the most sense but the 4x4 versions will certainly have appeal, especially for those in rural areas or who are worried about getting stuck in snow and ice in the winter. The Renegade uses an on-demand four-wheel drive system labelled Jeep Active Drive. In normal conditions it runs in front-wheel drive, saving fuel, while it will send power to the rear wheels when needed so there's no need for the driver to do anything.
For most people needing off road capability the 140PS Mulitjet 4WD is perfectly adequate and actually very impressive. Its compact shape, square sides and relatively low weight enable it to keep up with a LandRover Defender until the going gets seriously tough.
|1.0||48–64 mpg||11.2 s||130–139 g/km|
|1.3 4Drive||-||-||151 g/km|
|1.3 DDCT||48 mpg||9.4 s||142–146 g/km|
|1.4 MultiAir 140||47 mpg||10.9 s||140 g/km|
|1.4 MultiAir 140 Automatic||48 mpg||11.0 s||137 g/km|
|1.4 MultiAir 170 4WD Automatic||41 mpg||8.8 s||160 g/km|
|1.6 e-TorQ||47 mpg||11.8 s||141 g/km|
|1.6 MultiJet||48–64 mpg||10.2 s||120–131 g/km|
|1.6 MultiJet Automatic||63–64 mpg||-||118 g/km|
|2.0 MultiJet 140 4WD||49–55 mpg||9.5–10.2 s||134–167 g/km|
|2.0 MultiJet 140 4WD Automatic||49 mpg||10.2 s||150–151 g/km|
|2.0 MultiJet 170 4WD Automatic||48 mpg||8.9–11.0 s||151–173 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Jeep Renegade (2015)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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