The marriage between Jeep and Fiat seems to be a very happy one. It gives birth to a very attractive offspring. One fine example is the all new Jeep Renegade: it combines all the offroad character and unique outdoor flair and ruggedness of a genuine Jeep, with the modern mechanical know how and sophistication which the Fiat Group is able to put on wheels.
Indeed, this Renegade is based on the 500 X and built in the same Italian factory in Melfi, and this Jeep truly scores. It came to us in a very fitting olive green livery, and proved a delightful companion on just any path and road we took it. Just read further...
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Full of 4x4 character
With its latin mechanical base and platform, in terms of looks, feel and touch, the Jeep breathes the rugged originality of the Jeep brand..
If you are unaware of the glorious history of Jeep, a large inscription on the dashboard will tell you: "since 1941."
Yes, this car has freed the world, and made it a better place. The Renegade also embodies very well the honest ruggedness of its famous original. And it continues to do so, freeing your (driving) mind, opening new horizons: it will go with you all the way.
A large round selector on the centre console lets you choose between several 4WD modes, from "auto" to high or low gearing, and you can also choose a setting for a specific terrain condition, like mud or sand for instance.
The "Trailhawk" version which we tested features the 4x4 Active Drive where the rear wheels are engaged as soon as the system detects any slipping of the front wheels.
Does the Renegade take everything in its stride? You bet, and it will do so with ease. Its high ground clearance and well adapted overhangs fore and aft enable it to tackle any terrain, any ridge, rock, and wade effortlessly through any muddy, sandy or wet passage. The approach angle is 30 degrees, the departure angle not less than 34 degrees, with a 24 degrees ramp angle, and this will get you unscathed through many narrow passages...
Besides the excellent offroad qualities, the Renegade brings also comfort and stability and quite good handling on the everyday tarmac. Its family ties with the 500 X platform see to that. This makes the Renegade your absolutely ideal companion for those long continental trips, being able to tackle simply anything from Autobahnen to narrow inaccessible mountain roads.
Seating is excellent, the seats offer ample adjustment, are wide, with just that ideal firmness which offers that support you need for long journeys, and this also on uneven roads and terrain.
State of the art transmission and Diesel power.
Under the bonnet one finds the high end technology of the Fiat group. In our test car reigned the 125 kW/170 HP 2 litre Multijet Diesel engine, offering brilliant performance and liveliness. On top of all this, it is coupled to a very smooth and willing 9 speed ZF 9HP48 auto box, which chooses the ideal gear in any circumstances, making this Renegade a true delight to drive it everyday and put it through its paces.
It even offers quite reasonable economy, certainly when one drives along with the traffic flow, and adapts one's speed anticipating the traffic situation in front of you.
On a quite long international journey, we easily averaged 6,3 to 6,5 litres/100 km, this says enough. In everyday driving, consumption should fluctuate between 7 and 8 litres/100 km.
Performance leaves of course nothing to be desired, with acceleration from 0 to 100 in barely 8,9 seconds, top speed being 196 kmh.
Ideal long distance cruiser...
Indeed, putting on the cruise control on the long motorway journeys, and setting it at any speed between say 115 to 130 kph or so, will deliver not only excellent economy we mentioned earlier, but also acoustic comfort, exempt from any drivetrain vibration; you are embarked in a restful journey, sitting snugly, as we said in the excellent seats, with all the commands easily within reach.
Instrumentation is also clearly readable, with big, no nonsense, circular dials for revs and speed, with even a rather playful "mud splash" pattern on the right scale of the rev counter, just to remind you that this car means serious (offroad) business.
The Renegade offers ample room for four, with 351 litres of useful luggage space, which can be enlarged to 1297 litres when both backrests of the rear seat are folded down.
In the cabin we will also find the Uconnect system, which we already applauded in the Lancia Ypsilon. It keeps the Renegade pilot entertained and informed, and one finds always the right path thanks to the excellent navigation system.
The Renegade breathes the character of the Jeep brand in a very authentic way, and will please many 4x4 enthusiasts, whether they are faithful customers or coming new to the brand.
They will be pleased to find the ruggedness and the legendary off-road capabilities. But they will meet so much more: the vast experience of the Fiat group, in making compact cars which deliver thanks to state of the art modern technology.
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