Friday, October 2, 2020

Review: 2020 Jeep Renegade Longitude


In pop culture, Jeep is typically associated with the quintessential Californian lifestyle. A gander at the Katy Perry song, California Gurls points out to bikinis, gin & juice, and of course, a Jeep with Snoop Dog blasting on the stereo. While it’s great to live this sort of carefree attitude, the Californian way of life doesn’t really suit the Filipino setting. Bikini tops, sun-kissed skin, and a Wrangler are certainly over the top for the typical city dweller here. So, what’s the next best thing? Well, there’s always the Jeep Renegade.

The Renegade takes whole chunks of Jeep styling lock, stock, and barrel. The seven-slate grille, round headlights, square taillights; even the long flat hood, flared trapezoidal wheel arches, and short overhangs don’t look out of place in a Wrangler. It stands apart from all other me-too crossovers by looking like a downsized off-roader, and not a dressed-up hatchback. Plus, stare carefully and there’s a dozen or so Easter eggs sprinkled around. It tiptoes successfully between cheeky and cute. Sadly, it’s not without its shortcomings. Opting for halogen headlights and bulb-type taillights in 2020, when just about everyone else in this price range has moved onto LEDs is a big letdown here.



The same hit-and-miss attitude sums up the Renegade’s interior. Once again, Jeep’s successfully exercised their playful attention to detail from a tiny map of Moab, Utah on the center console, cup holders shaped like jerry cans, and “No Step” markings on the side sills. The interior materials may look cheap on photos, but they’re actually plush and robust. The boxy styling translates to a home run in terms of room, whether at the front or back. Head, shoulder, and legroom, especially at the front is solid. The seats move manually, but regardless, it equates to a comfortable driving position with sightlines reminiscent of a taller, larger SUV. The standard panoramic sunroof and its translucent cover also add to its airy feel. It’s funny though that while designers have aced that part of the test, they forgotten some basic necessities like having an ample place to secure your smartphone while it’s being tethered to the infotainment system. 

And speaking about the infotainment system, the 7-inch Uconnect touchscreen system here is a lesson to other carmakers in terms of execution. Not only is the system intuitive with its logical menu, sharp graphics, and shortcut buttons (both physical and screen-based), but it comes with Apple CarPlay so you can use apps from your phone such as Google Maps, Waze, and for the trendy young one, Spotify.



For those looking at the Renegade from a practical aspect, you’d be surprised to know that its cargo hold is on par with others in its class (351 liters with the rear seats up, 1,297 liters with the rear seats down). Moreover, the front passenger seat also folds flat forward allowing for long items such as surfboards to be fitted inside with ease.

Over the four years it’s been on sale in the Philippine market, the Renegade has switched positioning and pricing more times than Taylor Swift does boyfriends. The same can be said with its powertrain. Though its basic displacement has always been a turbocharged 1.4-liter, the engine output varied depending on its year model—168 horsepower (2016), 135 horsepower (2018), and finally 147 horsepower this 2020. Together with its 230 Nm output (down 20 Nm from 2016), the on-paper performance seems reasonable enough. And for the most part it is.



Off the line acceleration is pretty decent, belittling this crossover’s surprisingly heavy 1,386-kilogram curb weight. However, try to poke it into doing something more spirted, and the Renegade just doesn’t have the grunt to shove it along with conviction. The torque peaks early, but never really makes itself known. Once its up to speed though, it’s generally alright.

The accompanying gearbox, a dry-type 6-speed dual clutch sounds like a recipe for disaster, but it’s actually well-behaved in this particular application. Shifts, particularly in stop-and-go traffic are perceptible, but at least they don’t shudder the entire cabin. That said, pulling out of intersections can be awkward and frustrating. Partly, it’s because of the gearbox deciding on which gear to select, but mainly, it’s down to the aggressive idle start/stop which takes forever to re-fire the motor. For those who love taking long drives, its worth noting that the Renegade doesn’t come with cruise control.



Even with its portly weight, its still a dynamically solid crossover. Despite its European origins, it doesn’t drive small and doesn’t like to be hustled. However, at least it feels planted in all but the hardest of cornering maneuvers. Push it through a bend and it does tip, but at least the body roll comes in progressively and naturally. The giant sunroof hasn’t had any detrimental effects on rigidity with everything feeling extremely solid. That said, bigger bumps and potholes do make it into the cabin almost unfiltered, and this can unsettle the passengers.

Priced at P 1.640-million without discounts, the 2020 version of the Renegade is the most affordable it has ever been. A change of sourcing has certainly helped, but alas it’s still lacking in equipment. The giant sunroof aside, it doesn’t offer much. Yet, for all the talk of it being Italian (in this case, a Fiat 500) in American clothing, lacking all-wheel drive, or being made in China, the Renegade is more than the sum of its parts. Jeep’s managed to give their baby crossover chockful of that laying-underneath-the-palm-trees Californian character. In many respects, it pops out because it’s truly a left-field choice—transcending spec sheets or price tags. Despite its obvious shortcomings It’s different, unique, and believe it or not, quite lovable.





2020 Jeep Renegade Longitude

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Ownership 2020 Jeep Renegade Longitude 4x2
Year Introduced 2016 (Refreshed: 2018, 2020)
Vehicle Classification Compact Crossover
Warranty 3 years / 100,000 kilometers
The Basic
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 147 @ 5,500
Nm @ rpm 230 @ 3,000
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 93~
Transmission 6 DCT
Cruise Control No
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 7.69 km/L @ 15 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 Continental ProContact TX 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, Rear w/ Camera
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
Tire Pressure Monitoring
Exterior Features
Headlights Halogen
Fog Lamps Yes, Front & Rear
Auto Lights No
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
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Yes, Dual Zone
Audio System Stereo
USB
Bluetooth
Apple CarPlay
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes

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