Jeep Renegade 1.4T 4×4 Auto
By: Craig Proctor-Parker (www.accidentspecialist.co.za)
Having driven the FWD version of this exact vehicle quite some time ago, I was at that stage quite impressed with it, and nothing has changed when testing the 1.4 TJet AWD.
Jeep is a brand that I have always given credit for ability, however not a brand that I have traditionally held in high regard in the finesse department, over the years this has improved massively. Jeep has undoubtedly stepped its game up, with this current vehicle once again, ticking almost all the boxes. The typical Jeep Grill remains, with a few individual touches such as the Jeep climbing the windscreen, the hiker on the rear windscreen, the squashed spider and the vintage gas tank inspired rear tail lights.
The look is very pleasant, with enough of a modern lines appeal, yet maintaining and aggressive and very individual look. With the availability of ten different colours, you would be almost certain to be happy. This colour perhaps not the prettiest, but certainly practical.
The seats are quite comfortable, with seats suitably adjustable to attain almost all positions. The important day to day operational and positioning of items such as the steering wheel, steering wheel mounted controls, with steering rake and reach, indicators, gear lever, air conditioner, air vents and all controls give a reassuring, reliable and comfort feel. All usual comfort creatures such as electric windows, power ports, including USB and sufficient gadget and bottle storage abound. Perhaps most notably a sound system somewhat better than the standard is fitted, a certain bonus especially where the outdoor and active nature of the vehicle is concerned. The general internal finish quality and texture is good, with no rattles.
Headlights and likewise all around visibility from the driver`s position is very good. The side mirror vehicle presence warning lights, a flashing orange, is a great practical safety feature.
Loading sees a very usable boot area and complimented by the folding rear seats, with more than enough loading capacity, I was able to fit either by road or MTB in by simply removing the front wheel.
The particular vehicle being an automatic, mated to a relatively small capacity 1.4l engine, one would expect poor performance, especially on a vehicle weighing in at 1.4 Ton. Not so, the 1.4l Turbo engine is not only very smooth and quiet but more than capable. At higher freeway speeds, the smaller capacity is noticeable, however around town and even in mild off road conditions and loaded with five adults, the engine performs very well. With combined daily town and freeway driving of around 100km per day, and with three adults, saw an average fuel return over a week of some 9.3 litres per 100 km`s. The auto gearbox itself is well geared, however the occasional bumping of the shift lever with your leg position on the rest pedal, shifting the gear lever to the left and into the manual position can be a bother.
Although not having tested the vehicle to any level of proper off-roading, it would be absolutely surprising, given the history of Jeep and this particular vehicle even in the non 4X4 version, if the off road capabilities were anything short of excellent. I will gladly return to the vehicle and take on this excursion soon. The AWD system has multiple settings, such as Active Low Drive, Hill Decent Control, Rock, Snow, Sand and Mud modes, dependant on the vehicle specification. The vehicle is fitted with the typical E-Brake, and although it works well, I am not a fan if it, especially on such a vehicle.
The suspension and drivetrain are very good and although the extra mass of the AWD is noticeable compared to the FWD, this is to be expected. It remains solid, smooth and comfortable with the stylish, large wheels and tyres being very forgiving.
The safety features are what would be expected of a modern vehicle includes ABS, ESC, Airbags, Adaptive cruise control, a list of some 60 safety features in all. LaneSense Departure warning and rear view ParkView camera is also available.
With a maintenance plan at 6 year/100 000km maintenance, this is a great plus factor and will likely present a great benefit to prospective buyers, against competitors that don’t at least match this.
Besides the ordered extras, there is a great list of interesting and practical accessories to customize with, even such items as Jeep branded vehicle cover, branded attachable tent and sunshade cover and flip out bumper protecting cargo mat, among others.
Priced at around R500 000.00 and dependant on a good list of available extras, the Jeep is not cheap. The Jeep certainly does arrive as a worthy competitor in a market space that has many glamorous but perhaps not as appealing and rugged vehicles as the Jeep. If you are looking for a vehicle that is certainly distinctive, individual, very capable in all respects and to boot very good when not in the urban setting, them this may well be just for you, the kids certainly gave it the thumbs up.