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Driven: Jeep Renegade 1.0 T3. Image by Jeep UK.

Driven: Jeep Renegade 1.0 T3
Updated and given a turbo triple petrol engine, can the Jeep Renegade now win more critical acclaim?

 



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Jeep Renegade 1.0 T3

4 4 4 4 4

Good points: new three-cylinder petrol engine is a great addition to Renegade range

Not so good: pricey if you start getting tick-box crazy

Key Facts

Model tested: Jeep Renegade Limited 1.0 GSE T3 120 manual FWD
Price: Renegade range from 22,405; Limited 1.0 GSE T3 from 24,900, car as tested 28,050
Engine: 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol
Transmission: six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Body style: five-door crossover-SUV
CO2 emissions: 138g/km (VED Band 131-150: 210 in year one, then 145 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 46.3mpg
Top speed: 115mph
0-62mph: 11.2 seconds
Power: 120hp at 5,750rpm
Torque: 190Nm at 1,750-3,500rpm
Boot space: 351-1,297 litres

Our view:

Jeep, in its own way, must be fuming. See, it came up with the boxy Renegade in 2014 and, while its cubist shape clearly won plenty of customers' hearts in the UK (the Renegade accounted for a huge proportion of Jeep's annual sales in both 2017 and 2018, while the marque was losing market share hand over fist), no motoring critic really raved about it. And then along comes the Suzuki Jimny Mk4 and suddenly everyone is wetting their pants with excitement about a small, affordable, sub-G-Class machine designed with a ruler, when Jeep was there four years prior. NB: we adore the Jimny Mk4, by the way, but that's beside the point here.

So, for what it's worth, we're happy to say we've always liked the Renegade. Based on the same underpinnings as the Fiat 500X, another B-segment crossover we rate highly when some others, er, don't, FCA seems to have got the trick right of differentiating its in-house brands' styling - the 500X is blobby and cute, while the Renegade is chunky and defined; this, rather than them simply being two similar variations on the same theme. In 2019, things still look good with the Renegade, following its 2018 facelift which really only brought in LED lights front and rear (note the ring-effect DRLs in the nose of the Jeep), restyled bumpers and an interior slightly toned down on the kitsch front; for instance, the old 'mud-splattered' redline on the rev counter has gone, while there's less in the way of 'Since 1949' stamping in the US Army 'Stencil' typeface to deal with. There is still, however, a little Willys Jeep graphic crawling up the inside of the windscreen.

It's a good interior, though. It has its flaws - aesthetically, it's nothing like as daring to behold as the cabins of some of the funkier rivals in the segment (like the Volkswagen T-Cross or MINI Countryman) and it has some plastics that leave quite a bit to be desired. But ergonomically, it's decent, with a good seating/driving position, well laid-out controls, and a really attractive and sharp eight-inch Uconnect infotainment system, while the Pablo Picasso exterior leads to a spacious cabin for four adults with a useful 351-litre boot out the back.

Perhaps the bigger changes to the 2018MY-on Renegade come under the bonnet. Gone are the old, rather rough-and-ready petrol engines, replaced by a couple of all-aluminium turbo petrols. There's a 120hp 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit, as tested here, and also a more potent 1.33-litre four-pot with 150hp. Now, it's not that the preceding motors were actively bad, but the 'T3' 120hp is a marked step on in terms of refinement and smoothness. It doesn't make the Renegade quick, admittedly, so thrashing it is somewhat counter-productive, yet it has enough low-down torque to allow making swift progress with traffic flow to be easy enough to achieve, while its muted three-cylinder gargle and almost complete lack of vibrations mean this is the motor we'd recommend for the Renegade.

Otherwise, the Jeep remains as it once was. Its steering, ride quality, handling and noise suppression are all more than acceptable, albeit not remarkable in any department, and it simply comes across as a B-segment crossover with a bit more character and likeability than many of the multitudinous 'soap-bar' identikit rivals. However, we can't recommend it wholeheartedly as the go-to choice in the sector, for two reasons: one, while admitting we only drove the Renegade on English rural roads, not really giving it a nice, long, steady run to boost its economy, an overall fuel return of 29.5mpg isn't anything to shout about - our best return was only 30.8mpg, some way shy of the mid-40s that are said to be on offer; and two, in loftier Limited specification, the Renegade came with plenty of toys, granted, but a 'with options' ticket of 28,050 is pretty steep.

Nevertheless, we think the updates have put the Renegade back once again with the front-runners in this segment, if not quite the master of it. And while it has the potential to (D4) damage(r) your wallet if you let loose with the order form, this crossover shows little in the way of ill behaviour to put you off. Power to the Jeep people, then. If they're not fuming about either the Suzuki bloody Jimny, or indeed all these Wildchild references, that is...

Alternatives:

Citroen C3 Aircross: also goes for funky styling first and foremost, perhaps ahead of driving manners. Decent alternative to the Renegade.

MINI Countryman: the most desirable car in this class but potentially also the most expensive. Has a bigger range of engine options than the Jeep.

Skoda Kamiq: the segment's newcomer and we could easily have picked a SEAT Arona or VW T-Cross instead. Kamiq, though, is unfussily excellent and great value.


Matt Robinson - 7 Mar 2019









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2019 Jeep Renegade 1.0 T3 Limited UK test. Image by Jeep UK.2019 Jeep Renegade 1.0 T3 Limited UK test. Image by Jeep UK.2019 Jeep Renegade 1.0 T3 Limited UK test. Image by Jeep UK.2019 Jeep Renegade 1.0 T3 Limited UK test. Image by Jeep UK.2019 Jeep Renegade 1.0 T3 Limited UK test. Image by Jeep UK.

2019 Jeep Renegade 1.0 T3 Limited UK test. Image by Jeep UK.2019 Jeep Renegade 1.0 T3 Limited UK test. Image by Jeep UK.2019 Jeep Renegade 1.0 T3 Limited UK test. Image by Jeep UK.2019 Jeep Renegade 1.0 T3 Limited UK test. Image by Jeep UK.2019 Jeep Renegade 1.0 T3 Limited UK test. Image by Jeep UK.








 

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