The Top Gear car review: Jeep Renegade

The Top Gear car review: Jeep Renegade
The Top Gear car review: Jeep Renegade
The Top Gear car review: Jeep Renegade
£16,795 – £27,760


There are better all-rounders, but idiosyncrasy and charm mark it out. Real off-road talent if you need it


Jeep was selling SUVs long before they were cool, yet up until now it’s not offered a properly dinky one to compete in the full-to-overspilling crossover segment. 

Until now. The Renegade has shared development time with partner Fiat’s new 500X, and will be built in Italy, but it’s been to America first for some proper off-road training. Jeeps need mud-plugging kudos to sell there, so while front-drive is standard, the AWD options are proper. The styling is a high point too; it won’t be to everyone’s taste, but we admire something so proud of not blending in.


On road, it’s fine. No more, no less. Both front- and four-wheel-drive versions grip well, the latter predictably a smidge better, while the ride is compliant and refinement is decent. It’s a capable handler but it doesn’t really entertain, a trick the Skoda Yeti manages to pull off. 

Off road, it’s much more remarkable. There are two AWD options, the most hardcore getting hill descent control, a crawler ratio and increased ground clearance, while both get an adjustable drive mode dial that toggles between settings such as snow, mud and sand, though helpfully you can just leave it in auto, too.

It climbs and descends tough inclines and declines without too much trouble, distributing torque smoothly between the wheels on ground when others are hanging up in the air. The number of customers that will actually do this is, of course, negligible, but if it’s an authentic Jeep people want, the Renegade at least ticks that box.

Engines come from Fiats and Alfas; the 118bhp 1.6-litre diesel that ought to sell most does feel worked hard here, so we’d recommend opting for one of the punchier 2.0s. A nine-speed auto (yes! Nine!) is optional and very talented.


There’s plenty to like in here, with lots of quirky touches. There’s not room to run through them all, but a mud splat in place of a red line on the rev counter, an air vent stack modelled on ET’s head and the ‘oh s**t’ grab handle (Jeep’s nickname) are highlights. It feels well screwed together and there’s a smart touchscreen system as standard, too. Fiat 500X roots mean it’s spacious and practical enough to find family-friendly favour.


UK prices are impressively competitive, particularly the lower-power front-wheel drive petrol versions (we’d probably still insist on diesel, though). Meanwhile, a top spec Trailhawk model with the hardiest transmission costs £27,995. Its economy and CO2 figures aren’t extraordinary, but are good enough to keep it on pace with most cars in the class.

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