A few years ago, Jeep promised us that it would introduce a new entry-level car that would sit below the Renegade in its lineup. It was supposed to happen before 2022. Those with calendars close by will find that it is now 2022.
So for now, the Renegade remains the smallest and cheapest Jeep. It has found plenty of friends since its introduction in 2014, no doubt for its character styling and low running costs, but the higher-end versions have always felt like over-engineered tail-biting tractors. Most buyers just want the looks with a super simple FWD drivetrain.
The Renegade is all about distilling that authentic Jeep “freedom” pastiche into a small car the size of a Renault Captur or Seat Arona. The fact is that in some versions it differs from all other crossovers by being a true scaled-down 4×4, not a supermini in disguise. It can have four-wheel drive, a trail-legal Trailhawk model with various terrain modes and rearranged bumpers for better approach and departure angles (it’ll hit you less often on embankments and ridges), and there are technologies like hill descent control and lockable differentials to wade through scenarios from a North Face catalogue.
Isn’t that an old car now?
A decade has passed, but for its 2018 facelift, Jeep gave the Renegade LED headlamp units, a revamped touchscreen, and a new engine family. However, that was many years ago, and not much has happened in the world since, so the powertrain lineup has changed once again.
There are still two pure ICE options, with a 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder petrol making 118 hp and a 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that’s good for 148 hp. The former is mated to a six-speed manual transmission while the latter can only be mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Both petrol engines are now front-wheel drive only, which means you’ll have to opt for a plug-in hybrid if you want a Renegade that moves on all wheels. More on that later. The older Renegade diesels are no longer available in the UK.
What is this new e-Hybrid I am hearing about?
Don’t be fooled by its name: the Renegade e-Hybrid only uses a mild hybrid setup that combines a specially developed 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with a 48V electric motor, seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox, second an electric smaller. engine that acts as a starter generator and a small battery that is located between the front seats.
The engine itself produces 128 hp, while the transmission-mounted electric motor can add an additional 20 hp. You won’t get significant range for EVs alone, but the e-Hybrid will start quietly and you’ll be able to maneuver with the electric motor. Be warned, though, the e-Hybrid is also FWD-only and doesn’t exactly include a lot of Jeep DNA.
So this 4WD PHEV then?
Oh yeah, this is where the old off-road spirit is. Somehow. The 4xe (pronounced four for e) uses a 60hp electric motor to drive the rear wheels and a 1.3-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder petrol engine with two different outputs (depending on trim level) to drive the front wheels. . The 4xe is now the only powertrain that can also be paired with the Trailhawk trim level. You can read our detailed review of the plugin by clicking on those blue words.
What’s the verdict?
See, you could have a quieter, more comfortable, more fun-to-drive car for the same price as a Renegade. The question is: do you really want any of them? In a class of copycat pseudo-SUVs with less personality than their satnav voiceovers and all the off-road capabilities of a copper tub, the Renegade looks and acts a little different, and that just adds to its friendly character. It’s not a crossover you’ll rationally buy; it is perhaps the only car in its class that is a purchase from the heart.
Chances are, if you’ve fallen in love with his bonsai-Rambo style, you’ll forget about the Renegade’s powertrain monsters and come to see him as a treasured member of the family. It’s a shame you can now only have a heavy-duty 4WD version with the more expensive plug-in hybrid powertrain. If you’re looking for a tough little workhorse, we’d rather consider models like the Hyundai Kona, Citroen C3 Aircross, or Nissan Juke.
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Source : topgear.com