Jeep Renegade review – tested on and off-road

The new baby Jeep Renegade offers genuine off-road ability, but is it as good on the road?

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There’s always been one hostile environment Jeep could never conquer, and that is the European car market. Their latest tactic is to dive into the world’s fastest growing car sales segment – compact crossovers. They’re doing it with the new Renegade.

You’ve only got to spend thirty seconds on any European road these days to know that compact crossovers, or small SUVs are hot property these days. There’s the Nissan Juke, Renault Captur, Mercedes GLA and MINI Countryman – every manufacturer has either got one of these SUVs or is scrambling a team of designers to get one on the market.

Jeep promises it designed the Renegade to be true to its off-roading roots and have the best all-terrain ability in its class – not that it has much to beat. The Renegade is a really good little off-road car. The steering doesn’t jump or fidget around, the body’s nice and stiff and, crucially, it’s fairly difficult to get the Renegade stuck.

Jeep’s SelecTerrain four wheel drive system is present in the Renegade. It’s an adaptive system where you can select a range of modes consisting of snow, mud, sand, rock and automatic setting. There’s also a hill-descent system.

On the road, the Renegade is a bit of a mixed bag. Visibility is pretty bad both front and rear, but the gear change is positive, it doesn’t roll too much in corners and there’s plenty of grip. It can’t quite match the sharper drive of the Skoda Yeti or MINI Countryman, though.

The interior certainly has a sense of humour with paint splatters on the dials and a reminder of Jeep’s birthday. The plastics aren’t as good as they could be and the infotainment system from Alfa Romeo isn’t as good as the system found in the larger Jeep Cherokee. The interior sums up the Jeep Renegade – lots of flair but some flaws.

There’s no doubt this is the most relevant Jeep in years, and there’s finally a model worthy of comparison with European and Japanese rivals.


46 thoughts on “Jeep Renegade review – tested on and off-road

  1. i love these little cars!! i own a cherokee kk and i'd love to have one of these aswell for the daily drive, the only downside is that for me the trailhawk version, which is the only one that matters, is quite expensive.

  2. This is a brilliant car, if you go to the Alps in summer/ winter you see these along with fiat Panda 4x4s and my all time favourite car that nobody in the UK knows about the Fiat Sidici 4×4, you see them in the mountains in the summer up rocky tracks with the French foraging for mushrooms etc and in the winter going places that you can't, yes they have Flaws but if you buy them for what they are meant to do you will never be disappointed , yes colour is important my sidici is greenie brown and I love this jeep in dark cammo green

  3. That car looks great. Much better than the juke, the interior isnt great but it will stand up to children really well. Plus it is great off road. The Americans have for once built a car that I would actually think about buying.

  4. Everyone who is knocking on the car for being made in Italy… ps all the traditional jeep people jeep hasnt been a true american company for years its part of FIAT. Any way i think the car is a good value at the price range. If u dont want a car at that price there isnt a whole lot to choose from and as far as SUVs go in my opinion they are traditionally boring. So its not a bad SUV. I dont want a car or pickup truck because i have no use for that much cargo space so there isnt a whole lot out there.

  5. This is why brothers and sisters should not have children. He drove the piss poor entry level stick model instead of the 180 hp tiger shark. I would have been nice if they brought the other suv's to jeeps track. My only complaint was jeep made the trail hawk

  6. Everytime I watch a new release from the Dodge/Jeep and it just kills me to see a 30-35,000 dollar 2.4 liter engine have only 180hp and only do half of what the Dodge Nitro Heat,Shock and Detonator trims could do. My 260hp Nitro can do more than new Jeep Grand Cherokee can do. The Nitro R/Ts were special, bring them back.

  7. This review is not well done at all!! You european people don't go offroad, fine, then don't buy a Jeep!! This vehicle is made to go offroad, all jeep does…and it seems to be the less Jeepy in my opinion! He doesn't talk about the price at all neither the options prices ans the trim levels….give some numbers, something we can rely on, not a 3 years driving experience teen opinions…

  8. I suspect this car will go well along with the skinny jeans and caffe lattes that many of the young people enjoy these days. Good on Jeep to notice that offroad capable cars can be stylish too.

    Ofcourse, time will tell if it will be a hit.

  9. In case you Yanx didn't notice, this is a British car magazine's channel, where they review mostly (exclusively?) cars sold on European/British market. And they review them using European/British point of view and expectations on how cars should perform over here. We have different transportation culture, hence we need different cars than you. This car (bubbly 500x under this boxy shape) in Europe comes with half of the engines with FWD (1.4, 1.6 petrols) and half with AWD (2.0 diesels) [and I bet their AWD sales will be 1/4 or 1/5 of all Renegades sold] so yes, you buy this car to drive it downtown too and if it corners like a 6wd troop transporter down the narrow old town streets or twisty country roads – it sux. That all being said, this guy missed to review rear passenger space, boot space, practicality and whatnot, so someone should send Mat to do a proper review.

  10. I quite like the look of it, probably won't sell that well, firstly because it has a cheap quality interior and secondly because current car design trends favour more curvy lines and this is too boxy for the lil women that are supposed to be its target audience.

  11. Thank you for for this review sir. Many reviewers in the states rave about this car relentlessly and just smooth over flaws, it's nice to see a fair perspective independent of pro-Jeep bias.

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