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January 1, 2019

Review: 2018 Jeep Renegade 4x2 Limited

It takes commitment to make a relationship work. In order for the journey to be (almost) trouble-free and smooth-sailing, you have to be tougher than what lies before you; that you are willing to push back against what’s working against you. This is the kind of commitment required of owning a Jeep Renegade, the brand’s crossover model that is pitted against the likes of the Subaru XV, Mazda CX-3, and Honda HR-V. It looks to be straightforward and simple enough to understand. But just when you think you’ve got the Renegade all figured out, that nonchalant face gives way to characteristics that requires a bit more digging and a little more effort.

On the outside, the Renegade is an irony. With its structured, almost muscular shape, it’s obviously designed to be tough. It has the heavy build that reminds you of Jeep’s tough-as-nails heritage, softened perhaps only by its rounded-out edges. And yet, it also comes across as an adorable package as well. Looking at it head-on, the positioning of the headlights together with the bright yellow (or red) paintwork makes it look like a bumblebee—the insect, not the Transformer. This tough but cutesy design means it works for both genders: tough enough for a man, but refined enough for a woman.

Settling into the cabin, however, takes some work. When it comes down to it, there is a necessary level of patience to get comfortable in the Renegade. First off, because of the wide, truck-like hood, getting the seating position right is crucial. The seats do move in all sorts of directions, but none of them are electric. With that, be ready to put in a little muscle just to get everything moving. Unlike in most Japanese cars wherein even manual levers are quick and smooth to respond, it takes a bit more arm power, including adjusting the rearview mirror. Like we said—commitment.

Setting aside the muscle work, the interior of the Renegade can be classified as young and rugged, designed for perhaps, the young at heart. Two surprising elements, though, are actually having to use a traditional key to start the engine. Considering that most 2018 vehicles are  already into the push-button bit, it made me stop for a bit to consider why Jeep decided to keep it old-school for a 2018 model. Nostalgia, maybe?

When it comes to seating, the Renegade is comfortable and roomy. The driver and passenger seats can easily fit average-sized male adults, with enough legroom even for taller individuals. The backseat fits at least two average-sized adults, male or female, with ample room to stretch out the legs. There’s also enough cargo space in the boot — the boxy shape makes it easier to puzzle-fit different sized items, small or large, as compared to trunks that are fashioned with rounded interior walls. 

While the aesthetics of the Renegade will appeal to most of the younger set, getting behind the wheel of it is another story. Similar to the now defunct all-wheel drive Limited model, this one runs on a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine—not the most impressive lot, but okay for standard city driving. Curiously, though, Jeep dropped the power for this Renegade variant down to just 135 horsepower, and with an output of only 230 Nm. In addition, its transmission turned out to be a 6-speed dual-clutch system.

Again, if we’re talking city driving, we don’t need a lot of output. However, imagine putting your foot down on the throttle and experiencing lag for a couple of seconds before it jolts to life. Despite the light, smooth steering, it takes some careful adjustment to balance the response time of the accelerator with the quickness of your maneuvering. The dual-clutch transmission also needs a readjustment because of its inherent roughness and unpredictability, especially during inclines.

All in all, the Jeep Renegade boasts of vintage glamour; a design that espouses cool ruggedness. Climb inside and it’s exactly as the exterior advertises. However, this isn’t a get-in-and-drive-off type of SUV. This one needs some work. To own a Renegade is like being in a relationship—you have to commit to it along with all the little quirks that are behind that glamorous shell. It’s either you can take, or you drop it.

Words and Photos by Gen Tiu.

2018 Jeep Renegade 4x2 Limited
Ownership 2018 Jeep Renegade 4x2 Limited
Year Introduced 2016 (Refreshed: 2018)
Vehicle Classification Sub-compact SUV
Warranty 3 years / 100,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type 5-door SUV
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 1.4
Aspiration Turbocharged
Fuel Delivery EFI
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 135 @ 5,500
Nm @ rpm 230 @ 1,750
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 91~
Transmission 6 DCT
Cruise Control No, Limiter
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 7.33 km/L @ 12 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,232
Width (mm) 1,886
Height (mm) 1,689
Wheelbase (mm) 2,570
Curb Weight (kg) 1,386
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-Link
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Tires Michelin Primacy 3 215/60 R 17 V (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front & Rear
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR with pre-tensioner x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features Hill Start Assist
Full Speed Foward Collision Warning Plus
Lane Departure Warning Plus
Tire Pressure Monitoring Display
Exterior Features
Headlights Halogen
Fog Lamps Yes, Front & Rear
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers No
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Manual, 6-way
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Manual, 4-way
Seating Surface Fabric
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, Heated
Proximity Key No
Climate Control Yes, Dual
Audio System Stereo
USB x 2
Apple CarPlay
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes

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