Did someone just say SUV? This here? Nope. Really? Oh. - Indeed, "SUV" is not the first association when you meet the Jeep Renegade. Visually, it's hard to believe that the square high-legged legs fall into a class with Opel Mokka, Mini Countryman or Skoda Yeti. The box with the googly eyes may even manage a broader balancing act across the segments than the modern crossover with its flattering sheet metal lines. Does that prove itself in everyday life?
Boxy body, relatively steep windshield, round lights, large, upright grille with characteristic seven slots: the Renegade looks much more similar to the last really robust jeep - the Wrangler - than the optically softened Compass, Cherokee and Grand Cherokee.
He stands out from the jacked-up-and-again-flattened monotony that is being newly presented everywhere in times of coupé-like sloping roof lines. And it also differs significantly from its corporate brother, the Fiat 500X, with which the Italian-American shares essential technology and production in Melfi, Italy.
The external impression may be powerful, but the new one from the Fiat-Jeep cooperation is almost as long at 4,26 as a VW Golf or Opel Mokka. Thanks to a lot of headroom, among other things, the interior looks airy, the trunk is fine with 351 liters. One towers high above the traffic, the view goes forward over the long, horizontal bonnet. This has disadvantages when parking, because you can see where your car ends, but not where the other car starts. While driving, it's great: all-terrain vehicle Mercedes G in the neighboring lane? A benevolent nod from leg to leg.
Calling the Renegade an SUV is almost an insult in other ways too. Admittedly, it is available with pure front-wheel drive, even in three engine versions. And yes, the already sturdy look and a starting price of 19.900 euros (81 kW / 110 hp) will convince some to leave it at that. But: for not too much money, the box rolls up its sleeves and plunges into the mud with real off-road vehicles - unlike most of its SUV colleagues. He remains - sorry, Renegade - very SUV-like suitable for everyday use.
Our test car, for example: With the 2,0-liter diesel (starting at € 26.500), the efficient all-wheel drive system is on board that only switches on the rear axle when needed, but then up to 100 percent. At the push of a button (4WD-Lock), the driving force - like a mechanical differential lock - is electronically distributed evenly on both axles. Support four driving modes (car, sand, mud, snow). The briefly translated first gear (which you quickly get used to in everyday life) does not replace a reduction gear, but helps with digging and climbing. If you still have money left for comfort features, choose the pleasant lane keeping assistant (290 euros) that intervenes late and the keyless opening (in a package with 390 euros).
For more financial investment (30.000 euros) there is actually a kind of off-road reduction in conjunction with the nine-speed automatic. For additional ground clearance or bumpers with a better slope angle, it must be the top version "Trailhawk" with the 170 PS diesel (31.900 euros).
However, this is not necessary to get the 1,5-ton Renegade going, the smaller 103 kW / 140 PS strong auto-ignition unit is completely sufficient. With up to 350 Newton meters of torque, the American pulls through, he does not run out of steam beyond the target speed. The powerful engine fits perfectly with the comfortable, confident driving characteristics - sporty to pull the corners is far from both.
With a reasonably relaxed driving style, you get pretty close to the standard consumption of 5,1 liters: Without fuel saving efforts, we were about one liter above, an everyday performance. If the body braces itself against the wind with 150 things, there is more noise - both acoustically and the diesel through the lines.
Actually, the Jeep is only a real SUV in one discipline: As far as the playful is concerned, the developers reached into the kitsch box with both arms. A tiny Willys jeep on the windscreen, an embossed spider behind the fuel cap and last but not least the stylized jeep front view with googly eyes and seven slots - oIIIIIIIo - which can be found on seats and door panels, for example. You can find that stale. Or as a loving rounding off of a coherent overall picture.
Author: Hanne Lübbehüsen / SP-X