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Jeep Renegade

Jeep has been rather quiet of late, with not much recent activity from the butch American brand, but that is about to change with the arrival of the new compact crossover named the Renegade. As the smallest model in the range, it is set to widen the popularity of Jeeps and lead to more of them being seen in the traffic.
Jeep is owned by Fiat, and arguably the Renegade is more Italian than American, including being produced at a factory in southern Italy. The car shares its base structure with the Fiat 500X, and is powered by Fiat engines, the familiar 1.6- and 2.0-litre MultiJet II units. With four-wheel-drive, the Renegade is quite a capable off-roader, but most buyers will choose the front-wheel-drive editions for on-road driving. And this 1.6-litre diesel 2WD model is arguably the pick of the bunch.
With the base engine developing 118bhp, the car performs quite decently with a sprint time of a little over 10 seconds. The engine isn't unduly noisy, but the squared-off body shape means that there is some wind noise, particularly around the front pillars. This isn't a car you want to chuck at corners too enthusiastically.
There is some body lean into the bends, and the Renegade tends to lurch a bit if you attack a twisty lane with some gusto. It isn't the smoothest ride either, and there is some pitch and toss in the suspension travel that jostles you somewhat over coarser-surfaced country roads. Inside, the Renegade doesn't feel short on space, and the cabin is actually quite roomy.
Headroom all round is very generous, and there is plenty of legroom. That isn't at the expense of boot space either, with a reasonable 351 litres for luggage, swelling to almost 1,300 litres with the rear seats folded down.
Access is pretty easy both front and rear, with tall and wide-opening doors, although the tailgate opening does have a highish lip. The dashboard layout is quite tidy, with neat traditional dials, four big air vents, a grab handle straight ahead of the front passenger, and a decently sized central touchscreen. Some of the materials used are unyielding and look a bit cut-price, but it's a generally reasonable ambience with some hidden treats - what Jeep calls 'Easter eggs' - scattered around the cabin.
These include a tiny silhouette of a traditional Jeep etched into the edge of the windscreen glass, a grille logo on the rear-view mirror, and a mudsplat design on the rev counter. Standard equipment is high, with highlights including DAB digital radio, a five-inch touchscreen, electric windows all round, an electric park brake, six airbags and 16-inch alloy wheels for all models, while Longitude versions also add cruise control, larger 17-inch wheels, satellite navigation, Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity and front fog lights.
Limited models gain even larger 18-inch alloy wheels, heated seats and steering wheel, rear parking sensors and privacy glass and a bigger 6.5-inch touchscreen, as well as leather upholstery and dual-zone climate control. The extra special Opening Edition builds on the Limited specification with the addition of either white or orange paintwork, a black painted roof, unique leather upholstery and keyless entry and start. The flagship of the range, the Trailhawk, has a more rugged appearance to go with the standard four-wheel-drive, including mud and snow tyres.

Model tested 1.6 MultiJet II Limited
Price £22,895
Made in Melfi, Italy
Configuration 5-door SUV, 5-seats, front-wheel-drive
Drivetrain 1598cc, 4-cylinder, 16-valve, turbocharged diesel with stop-start
Transmission 6-speed manual
Power output 118bhp @ 3,750rpm
Maximum torque 236lb ft @ 1,750rpm
Top speed/0-62mph 111mph/10.2secs
CO2 emissions (tax band) 120g/km (C) Euro 5
Economy (urban/extra urban/combined) 51.4/70.6/61.4mpg
Fuel tank size/range 48 litres/648 miles
Insurance group/BIK rate 12/20%
Size (length/width without mirrors) 4,236/1,805mm
Boot space (minimum/maximum) 351/1,297litres
Kerb/max towing weight 1,404/1,000kg

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