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First Drive

First Drive: Jeep Renegade

Jeep Renegade 1.0 GSE T3 120 Limited
The story: Jeep has facelifted its smallest model, with the B-SUV Renegade getting revised styling, new engines and extra equipment.
Category:Compact Crossover
Key rival:VW T-Cross
On sale:Now

Jeep’s smallest model has been given a mid-life refresh, including new engines, a revised grille inspired by Jeep’s iconic Wrangler, new headlights and new alloy wheel options. On top of that, it has enhanced equipment and an updated infotainment system with either a 5.0-inch or 8.4-inch display, depending on spec level. Also standard now on all models are the lane departure and intelligent speed assist systems.

First Drive-June 2019-Jeep Renegade-Image 11The new engine line-up includes 120hp 1.0-litre and 150hp 1.3-litre petrol units, as well as a trio of diesels of 120hp, 140hp and 170hp. The entry diesel slips below 130g/km, but the 120hp 1.0-litre petrol driven here sits just 9g/km behind for a lower BIK bill and an official 46.3mpg.

There has only been a slight change to the car’s Tonka toy styling, which is good because the looks rank among the more distinctive and appealing in the small SUV segment. LED headlights are now standard on this Limited spec that sits above all bar the range-topping Trailhawk, which is available with only the 170hp diesel.

The Renegade offers a pleasant driving experience, with composed body control and a decent ride quality. Admittedly, the new 120hp 1.0 isn’t the perkiest of engines, but it suits the car, and emissions are slightly high but close enough to rivals’ to be only a minor issue.

First Drive-June 2019-Jeep Renegade-Image 8The cabin switchgear is chunky and hard-wearing in a good way, as you’d expect of a car looking like this, and there’s a new boot handle that is positioned to avoid more road dirt. The tailgate opens to reveal a well-shaped 351-litre luggage area with useful split-level functionality.

Rear headroom is excellent, thanks to the car’s square shape, and legroom is reasonable for a small car.

The Jeep brand sits somewhere between premium and mainstream, and the Renegade’s slightly high-looking pricing reflects this. The car is significantly more expensive than the likes of the Mazda CX-3 or Volkswagen T-Cross, but is cheaper than a Honda HR-V or Mini Countryman, showing the breadth of the small crossover sector.

It’s a compelling, slightly niche choice of car that looks great, offers decent practicality and comes with a handy five-year warranty, three-year servicing programme and five-year roadside assistance package.

Paul Barker

The verdict

The good-looking and practical Renegade is underrated among the small crossover class. Unfortunately, it is also
a pricier option than most of its rivals, leading to higher running costs.