Jeep have been around for 75 years, it all started with the Willys model, a car that was to be become iconic through its involvement in war, driven by Hollywood stars and featuring in countless films. Over the years the Wrangler and Cherokee have become just as popular and it’s no surprise that for their masculine styled models, 90% of customers have been male - but that was until the Jeep Renegade turned up in 2015.
Their first small SUV heralded a change of direction as Jeep looked to capture more females to the brand but it’s a mission that’s worked as the percentage has risen, so with that in mind we showed the Renegade to some women to find out what their first impressions were.
Lisa drives a Volkswagen Touareg, as a company owner that produce branded products she needs a practical car, but as a self-confessed car badge snob would the Renegade change her thinking about Jeep?
“The Jeep brand wouldn’t be off my radar as I like quite butch, mean looking cars, but the Renegade doesn’t look mean, it looks like every other boxy looking car there is. The design is very angular, if it wasn’t for the badge on the back I wouldn’t have known it’s a Jeep.”
Sarah owns an Audi A4 convertible and flits between driving that and her husband’s Audi Q3 agreed, “I suppose the size is quite nice, it doesn’t feel huge like a big four-wheel drive, but the front looks a bit truck like, like a pick up.”
So Lisa and Sarah weren’t that enamoured with the looks, but opinion can be so varied depending on what you’re looking for in a car as Bev had a totally different viewpoint on the Renegade, “I drive a 4x4 anyway, it looks chunkier than my Honda CR-V but the lines make it look a bit more feminine and I like the styling of it.”
In trying to appeal to a younger, feminine audience Jeep have roped in brand ambassadors from the world of extreme sport like downhill mountain bike champion, Rachel Atherton and Olympic snowboarder Aimee Fuller put the Renegade through its paces as it tackled extreme off-road conditions down a white water rafting course.
It’s no surprise to find out that the model was crowned 4x4 Magazine's 4x4 of the Year as it’s an extremely practical car. "It's a credit that any manufacturer should consider producing such a capable small off-roader," says Nigel Fryatt, Editor, 4x4 Magazine. "That it's so well built, while also fun and funky, is a delight.”
So with it being a car for all road conditions how does it fare in terms of space? As a mum to an 18 month old we never travel light, there is plenty of room in the rear for putting in a car seat, so often it can be quite a mission to have enough room in front of the seat to squeeze yourself in while negotiating various seatbelts and straps. My biggest concern was the boot size as push chairs can be large and bulky at the best of times and I really thought it wouldn’t fit in, but bingo it slotted in. A very handy addition was the torch slotted in the boot, always good on dark driveways.
The interior styling seemed to prove popular, it was like a little game to find the details like the famous seven slotted grille on the window stickers, on the speaker surrounds and on the leather seats, or looking closely the ‘To new adventures’ written just by the Start button. It’s sometimes the little things that make a car a little more memorable.
Bev really liked the size of the cabin space, “I’ve never had a Jeep but what put me off, which this hasn’t got, is it always looked like models such as the Wrangler had restricted headroom, but this is nice because it feels like it has lots of room. My friend had a Nissan Qashqai which had all the gadgets and gizmos and it’s good to see that things like a reversing camera are on this. This feels like quality, it’s really nice and I like the styling of it.’
The Jeep Renegade is priced from £17,495, so would Sarah, who’s about to look for a new car consider the Jeep brand as part of her search?
“The Renegade is much nicer than the other Jeeps which I would never ever have contemplated, this would definitely be a possibility if I was looking for something in this price range.”
Like with all cars it comes down to personal preference, it’s almost the marmite of cars, but Jeep have manufactured a fun, little SUV with its unique styling and you can read our full review here: Jeep Renegade Review