The Italians have a really interesting habit of making good cars but not marketing them at all and keeping them to themselves. Fiat Bravo, Lancia Delta, and so on. And today’s victim is the Jeep Renegade.
What have we got here? Jeep Renegade. Another small class crossover in the style of the Kia Stonic, Sandero Stepway, Hyundai Kona, Aygo X, and so on. And with that, I can close up shop and head off to the beach and drink 5 pints and lie on the sand while listening to the burps of a summer band wearing very little clothing because they think of the environment. Actually, all these plastic women are eco-warriors, as they keep the plastic away from the ocean.
And then there’s the Jeep Renegade, which of course has to be different because it’s an Italian product. As I discussed in the Ford Puma article, modern cars have become like smartphones. They all use roughly the same configuration, with roughly the same types of engines, roughly the same prices, and roughly the same features. Most of them have 1.0 turbo engines, manual transmission, front-wheel drive, and a few essential features. Maybe a 6-7 speed automatic gearbox. And then along comes the Jeep Renegade, the wheeled buffet of the mini-crossover class or whatever they call that automotive genre. 2-liter diesel. 9-speed automatic transmission. Proper 4×4 system. Costs as much as a Dacia Duster. It’s clear the Italians haven’t understood what this kind of car genre is all about and have thrown “everything” in. Which is very strange, when you think that their pizza is just dough and tomato sauce, unlike what we pass as a pizza.
And how has Renegade fared in the market?
Extraordinarily well. For those who can afford it at least. As I keep raving around here, most cars also have a purpose in life, a specialty like Obi-Wand Kenobi had. Even if there are a few cars which are more meaningless in life than me, most do tend to have a selling point. The Kia Stonic is relatively cheap and reliable, the Sandero throws options at you like Stephen Mulhern for the money it asks, the Aygo X gets uses literally no fuel to move around, the Ford Puma is the sportiest of the bunch, the T-Cross is the best overall but excellent at nothing which is also a good point because it’s the middle ground. And the Ford Renegade? The 4×4 system. Except the 4×4 system and 2.0 diesel engine make it extraordinarily expensive, kicked out of this mini-crossover world much like how a bouncer kicks you out after having a few too many, but if you can afford it, you end up with the Jimny’s closest successor. Oh yes, in case you’re wondering what happened to the Jimny, it was withdrawn from the European market because it no longer met pollution standards and is now only sold in certain countries and even there as a commercial vehicle.
And with that, I gave the verdict. The Jeep Renegade 4×2 is a mediocre car in the segment that doesn’t necessarily justify the money it’s asking, given the current competition. But a Renegade 4×4 is a genuine modern Jimny, which also got fat because that’s what’s happening to the entire industry. For example, the Jimny was the size of a VW Polo 9N (both 3.7-something meters long), the Renegade is the size of a Golf V (both 4.2-something meters long). So yes, we’ve discovered the Renegade’s discreet secret. I’m waiting for Fiat to call me to hire me for a marketing job, although most likely they’ll call me to tell me I’m a rude knob. Nothing new under the sun.
Jeep Renegade Engines
- 1.0 Turbo Firefly of 120 horsepower – Launched fairly recently, the 1.0 FireFly engine is surprisingly reliable and trouble-free, as long as you change its oil on time. Which is a very strange thing to say about an Italian engine. It’s like seeing Gordon Ramsay being polite and cheerful.
- 1.3 Turbo Firefly of 150 and 180 horsepower – Even though it was actually released 5 minutes ago, it seems the engine does its job with dignity and has no specific issues. Or it’s too early to talk about that? Yes, it’s most likely too early so stay tuned!
- 1.4 Turbo Fire of 140 and 170 horsepower – The legend starts about 30,000 years ago when humans started boiling water. Yes, this engine is that old. Yes, it had issues with the Multi-Air unit. Except now it’s on the 3rd generation Multi-Air and it seems to be okay. Except that I learned that appearances can be more deceiving than women.
- 1.6 E.Torq of 109 horsepower – This engine had a short stint on the Mini and it was hailed as “unburstable”. A great engine which makes up for it’s low performance with decency and reliability. Definatelly for the people who are afraid of technology.
- 1.8 E.Torq of 130 horsepower – This engine however was not fit for most of the markets but was good enough for the Latin America version of the Renegade. And on top of it they even gave it a decently reliable Aisin-sourced 6 speed automatic gearbox. All in all, a great engine linked with great gearboxes, both manual and automatic.
- 2.0 Tigershark of 153 horsepower – Even though it’s China exclusive I will still put it on the list because it sells pretty well over there aswell. Most likely they put it on sale as to have an naturally aspirated option over the 1.4 Turbo, because apparently in China people are also afraid of turbocharged pencil sharpeners. And it’s an fairly old, recycled but proven engine.
- 2.4 Tigershark of 185 horsepower – Everywhere else however outside of Europe and China they brought along the good old 2.4 petrol, which is not a bad engine and has been with us since the Patriot days. It’s just that this naturally aspirated no longer finds its place in the 2023 as is being beaten senseless by modern turbocharged petrols. Power, economy and even the reliability isn’t that far off.
- 1.6 Multijet of 110, 120, and 130 horsepower – Yes, it’s a dull 1.6 diesel and decent in its own right, but this engine has a personality and existence crisis. Reminds me of the old VW 1.8 naturally aspirated petrol, too good for the 1.6 but not quite the full 2.0 platter. So with this 1.6 Multijet, if you want something bigger and torquier than the petrol but can’t quite afford the full craziness.
- 2.0 Multijet of 140 and 170 horsepower – Basically, the Jeep Renegade should have been sold with just this engine. Automatic transmission, proper 4×4 and with this engine will make the Jeep Renegade go anywhere most customers will want, with some difficulty around town. Worth it, if it weren’t so expensive.
- 1.3 Turbo Hybrid of 150 and 190 horsepower – Literally launched 5 minutes ago, this hybrid hasn’t shown its issues yet just as the girls haven’t shown me what’s below their waist yet. And they probably never will.
- 1.5 Turbo Hybrid of 130 horsepower – This engine is so advanced that it hasn’t even been released at the time of writing.
Jeep Renegade Common Issues
- The electrics are built by the Italians so you have to check all the buttons and expect them to not work even 100% of the time.
- It looks like a square and has mirrors like shovel heads (both shape and size) so the noise at high speeds will drown out the screams of even the angriest multi-color-haired-nose-pierced-non-binary protester. By the way, if you assume that you are non-binary then that means that you clasify genders into binary and non-binary, which is a binary classification in itself. Checkmate and now I would like to receive my coupon for a Greg Wallace dish.
- The infotainment system has the processor taken from the infotainment on the Alfa Romeo 147 so it’s just as slow as a minimum wage worker on weekend shifts, but that seems to be a general issue through the group.
- It’s a mix (not blend, just mix) of an American and Italian car, so the interior was designed by the Italians and looks decent but was built by the Americans and you have a sea of plastics. Basically, the interior is a festival of masculinity with man-made materials. But at least you’ve got the famous traditional Jeep trademark glove box bar to put your towel on when you come back from the beach. At least that was the idea for the Jeep Wrangler, and here’s a tribute to the Jeep manufacturer. God, how could I write that much about a plastic bar?
- Diesel engines don’t belong in the city any more than I do within 200 yards of kindergardens. That’s because you’ll clog the particulate filter, the EGR, and so on.
Jeep Renegade Verdict
Who’d have thought the Italians would build the spiritual successor to the Jimny? Or perhaps it should be seen as the smaller Jeep, the Wrangler’s smaller cousin. It’s not as capable as a Wrangler, but it’s the most capable car in its class on the off-road side. If it didn’t cost as much as a 3-4-year-old Wrangler, I’d highly recommend it. But if you insist on having a true 4×4 but the size of a Golf, then the Jeep Renegade is your only option. Sure, there’s the Fiat 500x platform sister car, but no one bought that one. Jeep Renegade instead? It’s everywhere. Like the mold in my office.
What engines do I recommend? For petrol, I recommend either 1.4 Turbo or 1.3 Turbo because at 150 horsepower they are absolutely decent, but the star remains the 2.0 diesel 4×4 version. That’s the only reason it’s worth buying a Renegade.