2015 Jeep Renegade Review

The little-big off-roader that charms and serves your family amply!

By Shahzad Sheikh

[UPDATE]

This review was originally posted in Summer 2015. Below is an updated video review of a petrol-engined Trailhawk edition tested in Dubai in summer 2016. Prices in the Specs at the bottom of this page have also been updated. 

 

2015 Jeep Renegade Review

Whilst on holiday in the UK this summer I got hold of a Jeep Renegade for a week through the UK press office for Fiat-Chrysler Automobile. It’s the first time I drove it, although Imthishan has previously tested it on the launch in Italy October last year – read that review here.

Watch my video review of the car by clicking below

The car will launch here very soon, and you’ll definitely get a chance to see it at the Dubai Motor Show in November. We don’t know what the prices will be here yet, but it’s likely to come with a 184bhp 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, rather than the 2.0 170bhp diesel in this Trailhawk that I tested. Although with fuel prices rising, perhaps they should consider bringing this diesel into our region!

2015 Jeep Renegade Review

Anyway, suffice to say that the diesel motor was extremely torquey, served up more than adequate performance in and out of town, and proved economical making fantastic use of the 9-speed automatic – the best application of the unit that I’ve experienced so far with no hesitation or confusion and smooth confident changes.

2015 Jeep Renegade Review

Hopefully very soon we’ll get to try local spec versions for our market. We might also get to put it through some off-roading in the desert and wadis because every Jeep should be able to tackle our terrain with ease straight out of the box – especially this Trailhawk edition with its better approach and departure angles (identified at the back by its handy tow hook). I did take it through some tracks in the woods where it dismissively turned to me and said: ‘you’re kidding right?’ So instinct tells me that this won’t disappoint.

2015 Jeep Renegade Review

It also doesn’t disappoint in style and looks. I’ve always liked its cuddly-intent poise, which appeared all the more serious – and somewhat menacing – in this black-on-black edition with the colour-coded wheels and even greyed-out Jeep logos. Talking of logos, it’s endless fun finding all the little Easter Eggs and detail design touches like the gas-can motif unsparingly deployed and the map of the Moab desert in the centre console tray.

2015 Jeep Renegade Review

If not able to report on off-roading, I can tell you that its on-road manners are impeccable. It has a good ride with surprisingly restrained pitch and roll – I say surprisingly because of its narrow and upright nature. In fact the steering is well-weighted, reasonably accurate and sufficiently responsive for you to chuck it around through the corners (of which I encountered plenty in the UK) and drive it through with confidence that the four-wheel drive grip will keep it neutral and planted with hardly as much understeer as you might justifiably expected.

2015 Jeep Renegade Review

So surprise number one is that it’s actually quite enjoyable to drive. Surprise number two, it feels a lot bigger than first impressions would suggest. I’ve seen the car in the metal before, and yet this whole time I’ve been thinking of it as something like a Suzuki SJ or Samurai-sized car. In fact it is actually longer, wider and taller than a Suzuki Vitara.

2015 Jeep Renegade Review

The visual trick of making it appear diminutive on the outside sends you into a state of confusion when you clamber aboard and at this point I should insert some cliché about Doctor Who’s Tardis, but I’ll have leave it at that.

2015 Jeep Renegade Review

As in the video above, let’s start with the generous boot, which is very versatile thanks to split-folding rear seats and that extraordinarily tall roof, and it all meant that I was able to move some considerable amount of stuff out of my old storage unit, including tall boxes, in the back of this thing with ease.

2015 Jeep Renegade Review

Moving to the rear compartment I wanted for legroom only because the seat in front was set for me and I’m about 6ft 2in with long-legs. Otherwise I could wear a top hat in here and there’s easily enough space for a normal full-grown family of five in here.

2015 Jeep Renegade Review

Up front of course seating space was not an issue and storage bins and cubbies make this a liveable place to be in. It’s also an attractive place to ride in. There is colour-matched contrasting surrounds for the speakers, vents and other trims in here to liven up the cabin. Plus of course those afore-mentioned Easter Eggs and it’s generally an delightful and unusually stylish place to plant your bottom for a journey.

2015 Jeep Renegade Review

Sitting fairly upright, confronted with that vertical screen and tall A-pillars, plus that bonnet stretching out flat in front of you, rather than sloping off, again adds to the illusion of this being larger than it really is. So the big-car feel extends to the driving experience which is a benefit in our market.

2015 Jeep Renegade Review

I can’t wait to try it with the petrol engine and see how it performs on our roads because as it is, it’s definitely a car I would deem a contender to replace our own family runabout. For now I will say that if you’re considering a compact SUV soon, then it’s worth waiting to check these out when it gets here at – I hope – a price range well within AED100-120k.

2015 Jeep Renegade Review

Jeep Renegade Review – The Specs

These are the Middle East specs with UAE (Dubai) prices – not related to the car shown above.

Price:
Longitude: AED85,000 ($23k)
Trailhawk: AED105,000 ($27k)
Engine: 2.4-litre four-cylinder, 180bhp @ 6400rpm, 175lb ft @ 3900rpm
Performance: 0-100kph 8.4secs, 196kph, 12L/100km
Transmission: 9-speed auto, Four-wheel drive
Weight: 1585kg

Let us know what you think of the baby Jeep below.

 

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