Jeep Renegade 1.3 T4 GSE 80th Anniversary 5dr DDCT
The Renegade’s engine line-up is a minefield. Allow Top Gear to guide you through the tripwires. First off, the 1.0-litre turbo isn’t as eager as we’ve become used to from ickle triples. It feels like a city car engine struggling to move a crossover – Jeep claims 0-62mph in 11.2 seconds and it feels every one of them, with motorway merging and roundabout getaways feeling pretty lethargic at best. At least it’s mated to a relatively positive six-speed manual that’s less rubbery than earlier Jeep stick-shift efforts.
If you opt for the 1.3-litre with 148bhp, you find the missing gusto of the triple (0-62mph drops to 9.4 seconds), but the pay-off is being stuck with a pretty appalling six-speed dual-clutch that we had to double check wasn’t actually a ten-year old Cat C automatic. Or a CVT. Kick-down is non-existent, it holds onto gears too long, and it’ll leave you marooned, engine revving, wheels static, as it dawdles its way through the arithmetic and selects a gear. A Seat Arona DSG makes a mockery of it.
The diesels, though unfashionable, were better.
If the majority of your driving is in town and you have an exceptionally light right foot, you’ll likely find no real fault with the e-Hybrid. You get all the benefits of very low-speed EV driving, acceleration from 0-30mph is acceptable and the gearbox’s shifts are generally smooth enough. Shame about the snatchy brake pedal of our test car, though.
If you’ve a slightly heavier right foot or need to get a move on, the integration of the mild hybrid powertrain can get quite clunky. There are no steering wheel-mounted paddles (you can change manually using the shifter, but let’s be honest who does that with an everyday auto?) and the DCT gearbox often gets confused about when to shift up after the engine has woken up. Thankfully the combustion engine isn’t quite as rough as some rivals.
Jeep has also engineered in an ‘e-Coasting’ system, though, that shuts the engine down when you come off the throttle. It says the resulting regen emulates the feel of engine braking, but sometimes you’ll lift off and the Renegade will float on, leaving you wondering if you’ve accidentally knocked it into neutral. Jeep also describes the low speed manoeuvring as e-Creeping, which is, well… a little bit creepy.
That’s a whole different kettle of fish. You can read our full Renegade 4xe review by clicking these blue words.
Handling is acceptable for something with the height-to-width ratio of a block of flats. There’s plenty of grip and it doesn’t lean over unduly. But if you want a chuckable crossover, you’re better served in a Hyundai Kona or a Ford Puma. Does anyone really want a chuckable crossover, though?
We’d recommend dodging the 19-inch alloys, which transmit too much fidget and rattle into the cabin. The 17s with big balloon tyres are far quieter rolling and help provide an impressively comfortable ride.
On the motorway, you’re mainly battling the titanic wind noise generated by the Renegade’s body form and big door mirrors. The latter are a necessary evil to provide some semblance of visibility, which the enormously thick pillars do their best to block.
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