A quick tally shows there are 12 cars that could reasonably be called a ‘small crossover’ currently on sale. At least four more will go on sale in the very near future, of which the Jeep Renegade is one. And most of the major manufacturers that don’t currently, or soon will, build one – Toyota, Volkswagen – have one in development.
By the end of this decade, there will be at least 20 small crossovers to choose from, which is massive growth in a sector that didn’t even exist until the Nissan Juke was launched in 2010.
So, though the Renegade launches into a market that is seemingly growing exponentially, there is, as a result, massive competition.
In search of a USP, Fiat-owned Jeep has given the Renegade possibly the most overtly off-roaderish styling of any car of its type. But it’s not as brutalist as proper SUVs tend to be, so as not to put off traditional small car buyers.
Incidentally, the Renegade is one of the bigger cars in its class. In fact, it’s exactly the same size as the Jeep Cherokee of 20-odd years ago, which was considered a full-size SUV at the time…
Jeep claims the Renegade has the ability to back up the looks, but inevitably most will be sold with front-wheel-drive. There’s the usual choice of petrol and diesel engines, ranging from 108bhp to 168bhp.
The drivetrain combinations are bewildering, but the volume seller is likely to be the front-wheel-drive and manual gearbox only 1.6 MJet diesel. The 138bhp and 168bhp 2.0 diesels come with 4WD as standard, the former with a manual ‘box, the latter with a nine-speed auto (optional on the former). Oh, and the 138bhp 1.4 petrol has an optional dual-clutch ‘box. Like we said, bewildering.
The Renegade shares it’s underpinnings and Italian factory with the upcoming Fiat 500X. Both will be sold in 100 markets worldwide.
There are four trim levels to choose from: Sport, Longitude, Limited and the off-road focused Trailhawk. To mark the launch, there’s a run of 200 Opening Edition models, as well.
The top-spec Limited comes equipped with 18-inch wheels, autonomous emergency braking, heated leather seats and rear parking sensors. Just to add even more choice, there’s a choice of two types of sunroof: a conventional sliding unit, or two lift-out panels.
The range starts at £16,995 for the 1.6 petrol Sport, rising to an ambitious £27,995 for the 168bhp, 2.0 MJet 4WD auto Trailhawk. It goes on sale in February.