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First drive: Jeep Renegade 4xe

Date: 09 November 2020   |   Author: Simon Harris

The Jeep Renegade 4xe is the first plug-in hybrid from the brand. Will fleet customers be tempted?
Standard equipment:
7in TFT colour display and Uconnect navigation with 8.4in touchscreen, Apple Carplay, Android Auto, DAB radio, Selec-Terrain 4WD mode selector, LED headlights, forward collision warning and lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and front and rear parking sensors
Petrol plug-in hybrid: 190hp 1.3, 240hp 1.3
Equipment grades:
Longitude, Limited, Trailhawk
Six-speed auto

The Jeep Renegade is absolutely the best model in the current Jeep line-up. Although it has been on sale for five years (it was refreshed a couple of years ago), depending on engine, it's still far more competitive with its rivals than other models in the range.

In two-wheel drive with the petite 1.0-litre turbocharged engine, you can see the appeal of this rugged-looking model, which is clearly influenced by ancestors in Jeep's near 80-year heritage, and at that level it doesn't look too expensive either.

Perhaps it's no coincidence that development of the Renegade was largely carried out in Europe, and it is a joint project with the Fiat 500X. European cars tend to suit European customers more than American ones do.

There are other engine variants of the Renegade too, with more hits than misses, but now, relatively late in the model's life cycle, it becomes the first Jeep to offer a plug-in hybrid.

It's relatively easy to package plug-in hybrid technology in SUVs than for conventional saloons and hatchbacks, but for smaller models, they've been a bit later to appear. Some of this would be due to the packaging issues, and there has been less urgency for manufacturers to introduce them because the ICE versions are more fuel-efficient than larger cars. The price premium they would carry would also make the running costs case harder to justify.

But PHEVs tend to work very well in the SUV profile, and the first mainstream model - the Mitsubishi Outlander, launched in 2014 - has sold very well. When it launched, it offered CO2 emissions of 44g/km (under the old NEDC regime) and 32 miles of plug-in charged range, and an official combined fuel consumption figure of 148mpg.

There aren't too many compact SUVs with plug-in hybrid tech. The Mini Countryman S E Hybrid, with 220hp in its latest guise, is priced a little higher than the 190hp Renegade, although in 240hp Trailhawk guide the Jeep would comfortably outgun the Mini.

The other recent addition to this class is the Renault Captur E-Tech plug-in hybrid, and it can't quite muster the punch of the Jeep with 160hp, although the very well-equipped First Edition grade gets close on price.

The Jeep is available in three equipment grades, starting with the entry-level Longitude, with Limited including a few extra items as standard. The Trailhawk uses a more powerful version of the 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine to produce a total system output of 240hp, and is also fitted with all-terrain tyres, so is more capable off-road. The standard road tyres on our Limited test model almost caused embarrassment driving up a slippery grass hill, even in four-wheel drive mode.

But it does live up to its Jeep credentials, with more ground clearance (18.6cm) and greater wading depth (40cm) than rivals, and it did end up mastering some fairly tricky terrain on our off-road route.

Performance from the 190hp version is brisk: the 0-62mph benchmark is covered in 7.5 seconds, and while tall, the Renegade 4xe doesn't get caught out on twisty sections of road, although all the extra weight of the battery mounted low in the chassis would help reduce the car's centre of gravity compared with a petrol or diesel version.

While driving, its hybrid set-up can save existing battery energy, or recharge with the engine, and the driver can switch between modes, including increasing the energy recovery that can be returned to the battery.

It isn't as roomy as some PHEVs you could get for the same money. For example, the Kia E-Niro and Xceed PHEVs don't offer the same level of performance, but perhaps would be more adept at routine family trips than the Renegade.

Boot space of 330 litres is usable enough, and a spare wheel is accommodated between the luggage space and the hybrid kit.

Jeep claims it hasn't compromised off-road ability in turning the Renegade into a plug-in hybrid, and it's difficult to argue against that. But in doing so, it has probably made it a less appealing plug-in hybrid for those interested in taking a step to reducing carbon footprint, or, more likely, reducing their tax liability.

The 49g/km will ensure it qualifies for a London congestion charge discount, and put it in the frame for similar benefits when other cities adopt similar restrictions. But that figure is not so impressive in 2020, when many others achieve lower, and exceed 30 miles when the Jeep's official PHEV range is 26 miles.

These figures are important if Jeep wants to play in the company car sector, as more drivers will be motivated by reducing tax than the appeal of the Jeep brand. However, as we're well advanced in the life cycle of the Renegade, we can hope a second-generation model might be a couple of years away, and have a much more competitive set of figures that would make it more appealing as a company car.

Jeep Renegade 4xe Limited 

P11D: £34,445

Residual value: 27.5%

Depreciation: £24,970

Fuel: £2,322

Service, maintenance and repair: £2,650

Cost per mile: 49.9p

Fuel consumption: 134.5mpg

CO2 (BIK band): 49g/km (12%) 

BIK 20/40% a month: £69/£138

Boot space: 330 litres

Engine size/power: 1,332cc plus electric motor/190hp


  • Hybrid puts Jeep on more choice lists
  • Good off-road
  • Figures not that impressive for 2020