Owning

Owning

Running costs and reliability

UK prices are impressively competitive, particularly the lower-power front-wheel drive petrol versions (we’d probably still insist on diesel, though – the non-turbo 1.6 petrol cheapie may tempt you into showrooms, but it’ll tempt you straight back out if you don’t drive something else too). Meanwhile, a top spec Trailhawk model with the hardiest transmission costs £29,000. Ok, its economy and CO2figures aren’t extraordinary, but they are good enough to keep it on pace with most cars in the class – few of which can match its ability.

Verdict

Final thoughts and pick of the range

There are better all-rounders, but idiosyncrasy and charm mark it out.

On the inside

On the inside

Layout, finish and space

There’s plenty to like in here, with lots of quirky touches. There’s not room to run through them all, but a mud splat in place of a red line on the rev counter, an air vent stack modelled on ET’s head and the ‘oh s**t’ grab handle (Jeep’s nickname) are highlights. It feels well screwed together and there’s a smart touchscreen system as standard, too.

Fiat 500X roots mean it’s spacious and practical enough to find family-friendly favour.

Driving

Driving

What is it like on the road?

On road, it’s fine. No more, no less. Both front- and four-wheel-drive versions grip well, the latter predictably a smidge better, while the ride is compliant and refinement is decent. It’s a capable handler but it doesn’t really entertain, a trick the Skoda Yeti manages to pull off.

Off road, it’s much more remarkable. There are two AWD options, the most hardcore getting hill descent control, a crawler ratio and increased ground clearance, while both get an adjustable drive mode dial that toggles between settings such as snow, mud and sand, though helpfully you can just leave it in auto, too.

It climbs and descends tough inclines and declines without too much trouble, distributing torque smoothly between the wheels on ground when others are hanging up in the air. The number of customers that will actually do this is, of course, negligible, but if it’s an authentic Jeep people want, the Renegade at least ticks that box.

Engines come from Fiats and Alfas; the 118bhp 1.6-litre diesel that ought to sell most does feel worked hard here, so we’d recommend opting for one of the punchier 2.0s. A nine-speed auto (yes! Nine!) is optional and very talented.

Overview

Overview

What is it?

Jeep was selling SUVs long before they were cool, yet up until now it’s not offered a properly dinky one to compete in the full-to-overspilling crossover segment.

Until now. The Renegade has shared development time with partner Fiat’s new 500X, and is built in Italy, but it went to America first for some proper off-road training. Jeeps need mud-plugging kudos to sell there, so while front-drive is standard, the AWD options are proper. The styling is a high point too; it won’t be to everyone’s taste, but we admire something so proud of not blending in.

Highlights from the range

Highlights from the range

Title 0–62 CO2 MPG BHP Price
THE FASTEST
8.8s 160g/km 40.9 170 £27,845
THE CHEAPEST
11.8s 141g/km 47.1 110 £17,995
THE GREENEST
10.2s 115g/km 64.2 118 £21,140

On the inside

On the inside

Layout, finish and space

Today’s Wrangler is longer and wider than its predecessors (and the four-door option opens up a whole new market for it), so there’s a decent amount of space. The soft top probably isn’t worth it, though you can now buy a clip-on roof system that disposes of the need for all those pop-studs of yore. You still need a big garage to put the roof in though; there’s nowhere to store it in-car.

The Wrangler is basic but tough. Probably more designed to be hosed down than swamp you in luxury, but you get the idea; chunky but cheap.

Driving

Driving

What is it like on the road?

The Wrangler is still pretty spectacular off-road. That, unfortunately, makes it pretty rough on it. The current car is better than ever, but don’t expect to make effortless trans-continental trips in this car, whether you’re in the two or four-door version. You’ll die of boredom.

The Wrangler might have been improved beyond all recognition from the old car, but that’s like saying that this version is going to snap your spine more gently than the last. It bounces, it shimmies, it can go off-road. And stay there.

The more sensible of the very un-sensible people likely to buy a Wrangler will go for the 2.8-litre four-pot diesel, which produces 197bhp. It’s not the most refined, but the torque – 339lb ft of it – is ideal for off-roading. Unsurprisingly. There’s a 3.6-litre V6 too, but that’s best left well alone.