There are many things that people aspire to owning, especially when it comes to vehicles with engines and soul and surely one such brand to enjoy such reverence is Jeep. After all, Jeep have been in all of our lives since the very beginning, from Saturday afternoons spent in cinemas and in front of TVs since the forties and fifties through to today with Wranglers, Compasses and Renegades seemingly on every corner. There’s a reason for all this of course, it’s that the Jeep has such an iconic shape and presence on or off road that we automatically gravitate towards such a familiar outline when it comes to thinking about the purchase of a similar car in each particular segment.
The problem for Jeep though is that once the customer has arrived in the showroom, drawn in by the rugged good looks, instantly recognisable front grille and commanding presence of the vehicles on display then they have to back up the dream with the reality. A reality that will probably be as far removed from travels around the world on surfaces that are more holes than road or routes that are more liquid than solid. I think it’s fair to say that struggling up a particularly tricky High Street or experiencing the change in air pressure as the local multi story car park encourages us ever further above sea level are perhaps the pinnacle of most Jeep adventures.
Of course all of the above is absolutely fine and dandy, why would you want to take your £23,150+ off roader off road? I wouldn’t if it were my money, there’s just too much inexperience and incompetence in my right foot to make the adventure pleasurable and risk free. I know my limits are nowhere near those of the Renegade or it’s siblings from the Jeep house and I suspect that’s the same for some of you out there as well but It doesn’t make me any less impressed with the technology that Jeep have managed to squeeze into the Renegade Longitude on test, despite it being from the lower end of the range.
But with all of the competition currently out there, each pulling you this way and that with claim and counterclaim, should it be the Jeep Renegade Longitude that steals your heart? The simple answer is that you already know the answer. If you like the look of the Jeep you’ll have already decided that it has a far more imposing presence on the road than some of it’s more generic and increasingly invisible peers.
In my mind, the Longitude is the Jeep Renegade distilled into exactly what you actually need, rather than what you may actually want or desire. A peppy and characterful 3-cylinder, turbo charged 1-litre power plant providing 120bhp @ 5750rpm and 140lb/ft torque @ 1750 through the front wheels, a 0-62mph time of a very reasonable 11.2s and top speed of 115mph, is most certainly perfect for the clogged up and badly surfaced roads that we often have the pleasure to travel across. This is a great engine and drivetrain, perfectly suited to a mid-sized SUV such as the Longitude, which provides a characterful, gruff sounding response when you put your foot down and gives the impression that this Jeep will batter the route ahead into submission by hook or by crook (on the road anyway.)
With traditional Jeep ruggedness, the interior of this latest Renegade is a quite beautiful space mixing practicality and (relative) luxury so that what you end up with is a well packaged and comfortable space. With the essential technologies all included, such as Jeep’s easy to use Uconnect™ 8.4’’ DAB radio with HD touchscreen satellite navigation and Bluetooth®, traffic sign recognition, intelligent speed assist, cruise control and speed limiter, there’s also forward collision warning plus, lane departure warning plus, Apple CarPlay™ / Android Auto™ integration, dual zone automatic air conditioning and extremely practical cloth upholstery.
Out and about on the highways and byways of this green and pleasant land of ours and, as long as you stir the slick, six speed manual gearbox, the Renegade makes short work of the road network proving comfortable and quiet on motorways with the easy to use cruise control adding to the Longitude’s relaxed mile munching abilities. Smaller roads provide opportunities to explore the solid handling on offer with the Jeep joining the bends together seamlessly whilst enjoying the feeling that you’re connected to the Jeep through the comfortable driving position and chunky, hard wearing controls. My favourite part of driving the Jeep though has got to be the commanding view out through the near vertical windscreen and across one of three large star decals delicately placed on the bonnet and front doors.
Space for a family of four including enough tat for a week or two away can be (just about) shoved into the many nooks and crannies available with the deep 351 litre boot swallowing the majority of your bits and bobs in fact, when admiring the exterior of the Renegade, it’s quite hard to see where Jeep has gained all of the interior space from but found it they have.
Good looking and unmistakably a Jeep, the Renegade continues the good work already put into the latest Compass, reviewed last year, and offers the consumer something different to the more conservative choices that we see out on the road. The joy of the Renegade is that it is so much fun, not just to drive but to look at as well. Who wants to run around in something unimaginative and dull when you can live out your off road fantasies in something rather more authentic and, dare i say it, cool.
There’s also the little Easter eggs (think film rather than chocolate) that Jeep have seen fit to add to the Renegade, spend time within and you’ll start to spot the nods to Jeep’s past, a WWII Jeep outline, a climber, the traditional grille and lights motif, a 1940s jerry can and more. This is a company proud of their heritage and not ashamed to celebrate it.
I’ll have one in matt green with star decals if I may please Jeep, I need one in my life.
Where will You Go?