Jeep Renegade – one of the most capable and likeable off-roaders

Jeep Renegade – one of the most capable and likeable off-roaders

Everyone knows that Land Rover has a fine, and well deserved, reputation for off-road ability. It seems that every other 4×4 takes second place to the Solihull masters of all terrain.

However, there’s another brand that has an equally fine reputation that precedes, indeed inspired, the genius of Maurice Wilks who founded Land Rover. Jeeps are synonymous with WWII and it was their ability to traverse seemingly any kind of landscape that led to some of the best off-road vehicles ever produced.

Part of Fiat and Chrysler Jeep still produce chunky Tonka-toy like off roaders, with the exception of the more stylistically smooth Compass, and my test was the Renegade complete with plug-in electric assistance.

Priced from €37,851 (£32,600) the Renegade 4xe offers all the usual charging options including a standard domestic socket. Being a hybrid, smaller battery, on a domestic socket the charge time is as little as 4 hours.

For that you have a commuting range of around 26 miles, maybe more depending upon your driving style, and modes for hybrid, electric and e-save (which helps charge the battery along with maximum braking regeneration). The battery comes with an 8-year 100,000 mile warranty.

On the road the Renegade is probably one of the most practical hybrids I have driven, with a decent turn of speed, 62 mph in just 7.1 seconds, and a smooth 6-speed automatic gearbox along with that all-wheel-drive ability.

That offers simple dial technology for the kind of surface you’re dealing with and even the ability to lock the system into low range for real mud-plugging ability. In hybrid mode the transition between electric and petrol is smooth and as long as the battery isn’t extremely low e-save mode and maximum regeneration means you can see the battery charge climb.

Standard fare is good with all the usual motoring accoutrements even on the lead-in version with my €42,381 (£36,500) Trailhawk model especially well appointed. The Jeep feels durable and is nicely appointed, but it battles against the fact that at this price it’s in Discovery Sport territory, albeit mild hybrid form rather than plug-in.

The Discovery will be seen as a more premium choice and I’m not sure the plug-in versus mild hybrid systems will make much difference. It makes the Renegade’s job somewhat harder, which is a shame as the Jeep is one of the most capable and likeable off roaders you can buy.

Facts at a Glance

  • Model: Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4xe
  • Engine: 1.3-Litre, 4-cylinder, turbocharged petrol with plug-in electrical assistance via 11.4 kWh
  • Gears: 6-speed automatic – selectable all-wheel-drive with low range
  • Performance: 0-100 kmh (62 mph) 7.1 seconds/Maximum Speed 199 kmh (124 mph)
  • Economy: 2.2 l/100km (128.0 mpg) WLTP – real world as tested 58.8 mpg
  • Emissions: 53 g/km WLTP

Model tested was UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.

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Written by

Mark Reynolds