The new Jeep Renegade Diesel Hatchback is a fearsome off-road warrior that’s vast inside and which looks like nothing else on the road today. Whether that latter point is a good or a bad thing will depend on your own personal taste.
Think of the Renegade as the smaller, more town and city-friendly version of the Jeep Wrangler and you’re pretty much there.
OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2018 Jeep Renegade Diesel Hatchback review.
On The Road
There’s no doubt that this car has been primed for off-road thrills and spills, but while it’s a lot safer and more predictable on tarmac, that doesn’t mean it’s totally boring unless there’s some mud sloshing around its tyres.
That said, the range-topping Trailhawk model is the one to go for if you want the best driving experience both on and off-road. The lowest spec model isn’t entirely useless, though, and it actually leans less in bends than the Trailhawk.
All models feel nice and stable at high speeds, and you can push the Renegade hard into bends and it won’t feel flustered. It’s just a safe car – a quality that will appeal to a lot of buyers.
The steering is nicely set up for this type of car. It’s well weighted and there’s plenty of communication on offer.
The Trailhawk really is the one to go for if you’ll be venturing off-road often. It comes with a number of electrical systems that help it to cope in harsher conditions, and it’s practically flawless wherever you take it.
We think buyers will especially appreciate a system known as Jeep Active Drive Low. This makes life so much easier for you in difficult terrain and includes a useful hill descent control system.
If your model comes with four-wheel-drive, as a bonus you also get Select Terrain thrown in, a feature that lets you tell your Renegade what conditions to expect. Then, it will adjust itself accordingly.
In terms of its engines, there are two diesels on offer. The smaller 1.6-litre diesel engine is the one to go for if running costs are a priority of yours, but if you’ve got the cash we highly recommend the bigger 2.0-litre diesel. It’s a lot smoother, makes less noise and moves faster.
It also comes in two separate guises. The 138bhp can cover the 0-62 dash in 10.0 seconds flat, while the 168bhp variant does the same sprint in 9.0 seconds. The 168bhp variant, however, is only available with the Trailhawk model. It comes paired up with a 9-speed automatic ‘box, and in a word, it’s a formidable proposition.
Jeep Renegade Diesel Hatchback Interior, Design & Build
The Renegade might be something of an off-road warrior, but it’s remarkably comfortable on the move. However, one thing it isn’t is well-insulated. Wind noise is a particular issue that isn’t helped by the car’s square shape, and it gets even worse in the Trailhawk model with its larger, grippier tyres.
In terms of cabin quality, the Jeep doesn’t fare too badly. There are soft-touch plastics here and there, although it won’t take you too long to find cheaper looking and feeling materials.
It’s also worth mentioning that there are lots of Fiat relics in here (Fiat now owns Jeep), including a Fiat Panda-derived steering wheel.
Is the Jeep Renegade Diesel Hatchback practical? It has issues on this front. For one thing, its elevated ride height might seem like a good thing but visibility is still poor thanks to the thick windscreen pillars.
And despite its compact size, it’s actually tricky to park.
On the other hand, there are plenty of positives, too. The car’s boxy shape means interior space is excellent, with those seated upfront getting treated to plenty of head and shoulder room.
In the rear, two adults will be a lot more comfortable than three, and headroom is excellent.
There is an array of storage spaces inside here, while the boot measures 351-litres. Fold the rear seats and you can extend it to 1,297-litres. A fold-forward front seat will prove useful, as will it’s big opening.
Equipment & Safety Of The Jeep Renegade Diesel Hatchback
Standard kit is mostly good across the range. The Sport model sits at the bottom of the range and it comes with a 5” touchscreen display, air conditioning and alloys.
The Limited model represents the best value for money trim. It nets you an 8.4” infotainment display screen, parking sensors and automatic lights and wipers.
The Trailhawk is the king of the off-roaders, though. It adds an advanced four-wheel-drive system, an increased ride height, skid plates, revised front and rear bumpers, rubber flooring, and front and rear towing eyes.
In terms of how safe the car is, the Renegade bagged all five stars when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP. Jeep reckon the car comes with 60 different safety systems, and all models get electronic stability control, traffic sign recognition, intelligent speed assist and lane departure warning.
Costs Of The Jeep Renegade Diesel Hatchback
Prices for the new car start out from £18,250 and rise to £29,810. For more information on our leasing deals, you can check out our page here.
In terms of its running costs, the 1.6-litre MultiJet diesel is the cheapest engine to run. It can manage returns of 64.2mpg on a good day if you specify two-wheel drive and the manual gearbox.
The 2.0-litre diesel, meanwhile, comes with four-wheel drive only and manages 55.4mpg economy at best if you stick to the 138bhp variant. Go for the bigger 168bhp variant and the best returns you’ll see are 50mpg.
Insurance-wise, the Renegade occupies groups 8 to 15.
Pros and Cons Of The Jeep Renegade Diesel Hatchback
Looks Different To Anything Else
It’s 100% unique.
Few cars in this sector – if any – can match its ability on testing terrain.
It’s not THE standout practical choice but it does well on this front thanks to its boxy shape.
Not the Best On Road
It excels off it but doesn’t feel as comfortable on it.
As you’ll see below, its entry-level model is some £3,000 more expensive than its rivals.
Jeep Renegade Diesel Hatchback vs Fiat 500X vs Suzuki Vitara
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2018 Ford Kuga Diesel Estate review.
Jeep Renegade Diesel Hatchback vs Fiat 500X
The new Fiat 500X is a retro-styled compact crossover family car that’s the bigger version of the popular Fiat 500.
On the road, strong performance is the order of the day, with the 500X actually sharing its under-the-bonnet DNA with the Renegade. As such, it’s highly capable off-road as much as it is on it.
For such a high riding car, it handles well. Body lean is well controlled, the steering is nice and sharp, and the engines aren’t too loud.
Speaking of the engines, there are a pair of diesels available. A 1.6-litre engine sits at the bottom of the range and it’s available on all models. It comes paired up with a 6-speed manual ‘box, develops 118bhp and has a 0-62 time of 10.5 seconds. It can’t be specified with four-wheel drive.
A bigger 2.0-litre MultiJet diesel offers more grunt and makes sense if you’ll be using the 500X as a tow car. It develops 140bhp but it can only be snapped up if you pay extra for the Cross Plus model.
Running costs? The 1.6-litre diesel is the cheapest to run in the range, returning 68.9mpg on a good day. It also has a BiK rating of just 23%.
The bigger 2.0-litre diesel is manual-only, comes with four-wheel drive and returns 51mpg at best. It has a BiK rating of 30%.
Inside, the 500X is just as stylishly retro as the 500. It’s comfortable, the sporty driving position is a bonus, while the Pop Star and Cross model benefit from a 7” colour touchscreen. The entry-level model is stuck with a rather old 5.5” screen.
There are lots of soft-touch materials used, everything feels nice and solid, and on the whole, this is both a funky and highly robust cabin.
Is the Fiat 500X practical? It’s not the most spacious car you’ll ever step foot in. It’s bigger than the 500 model but smaller than both the 500L and the 500L MPV. That said, it compares well with the Jeep. Rear head and legroom are good, there are lots of storage spaces here and there, and only really tall adults will struggle.
The boot, meanwhile, measures 350-litres. Fold the rear seats and you can extend that to 1,000-litres. The adjustable boot floor and the boots wide opening are major pros.
Jeep – £18,250 – £29,810
Fiat – £15,550 – £25,250
Jeep Renegade Diesel Hatchback vs Suzuki Vitara
The new Suzuki Vitara seems to have been around forever, and for a good reason – it’s a class act.
Drivers can pick between a two and a four-wheel drive version, with the latter offering a number of transmission settings that let you prime the car according to your style. Lock, Snow, Sport and Auto are your options.
In and around the town, the Vitara is easy to drive. The light steering helps to this end, but it’s important to note that this is a heavy car that will lean in bends.
In terms of its engines, there isn’t a lot to choose from. In fact, there are no diesels, which means your choice is limited to a non-turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine and a turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine.
The former develops 118bhp and feels a bit breathless up hills. It’s quite a lot of the time but will make a noise when you push it hard.
The 1.4-litre engine is a better bet. It develops 138bhp, has a 0-62 time of 10.2 seconds and distributes its power evenly. It’s also four-wheel drive only.
Running costs? Despite being four-wheel drive only, the 1.4-litre turbocharged engine is the cheapest to run. It returns 52.3mpg on a good day, which compares favourably to the 1.6-litre petrol, which manages 50.4mpg when you add four-wheel drive. Specify the automatic ‘box and that number dips to 49.6mpg.
Inside, the Vitara is a bit hit and miss in terms of quality. There are some smart touches – such as the plastic panel across the dashboard – and the car is mostly quiet and comfortable. But the addition of cheaper feeling plastics let things down a tad.
The dashboard is logically arranged, while all models come with a seven-inch touchscreen.
Is the Suzuki Vitara practical? Its 375-litre boot is really well designed. Its wide opening makes access easy, and it comes with a few cubbies on each side. Fold the rear seats and it can be extended to 1,160-litres.
Other than that, headroom is good for those sat upfront and in the rear, legroom is okay but taller rear seated passengers might feel a bit cramped.
The doors are nice and light, the driver’s seat is height adjustable but a small glovebox is a bit underwhelming.
Suzuki – £15,999 – £24,599
Verdict Of Our 2018 Jeep Renegade Diesel Hatchback Review
This is Jeep’s smallest and least expensive model available, but is it better than its rivals? It’s certainly better off-road, and if that’s your priority you needn’t look any further. However, the Jeep Renegade Diesel Hatchback falls short in terms of looks and drivability on the road and is ultimately far from an all-rounder.