We’ve long had a soft spot for the Jeep Renegade. It’s one of the few small SUV things with some genuine character, its cute, kinda retro stylings (inside and out) helping us overlook some rough edges and a lack of tech compared to some of its many, many rivals.
But that shortfall may just have been picked up by this, the Renegade 4xe. It’s a plug-in hybrid and it’s here to drag Jeep more obviously into the future.
Telling one apart from a regular petrol or diesel Renegade is no mean feat, and you’ll be best either looking for its 4xe badge or having a quick peek at both sides to see if there’s two filler caps.
Those allow the refuelling of its two power sources, a 1.3-litre petrol turbo turning the front wheels – available with 128 or 178bhp depending on spec – and an electric motor at the rear axle, with 59bhp and 184lb ft, yielding total outputs of 187 or 237bhp depending on which version you’ve picked. Jeep claims 26 miles of electric-only range (with an 81mph top speed) and a 7.5sec 0-62mph time (and 124mph top speed) when both power sources combine.
As is typical in PHEVs, you can flick between various hybrid, EV and battery-save modes at will, with regenerative braking working away behind the scenes to help keep the 11.4kWh, 400v lithium-ion battery healthy.
The pack itself is mounted beneath the rear seats, allowing 330 litres of boot space, down less than ten per cent on standard. You can still pack a spare wheel too, which while unfashionable nowadays, might be useful if you’re going to use your Renegade properly.
Because you can. It retains all of the stock car’s off-road ability, meaning no, it won’t fry its electronics when you’re wading through small rivers. As we’re sure you often are. All trim levels are four-wheel drive, all use a six-speed automatic gearbox and Jeep is keen to point out that having an electric motor powering the rear wheels makes its various 4×4 trickery even smarter. The 4xe retains a wealth of modes – Sport, Snow, Sand, Mud, Rock and the like – and there’s hill descent control, too.
How many 4xe buyers will utilise all that, we don’t know. Perhaps more useful to know is that you can fully charge its battery in around five hours at home with Jeep’s ‘easy wallbox’ that’ll connect your Renegade to a regular mains outlet, or less than two hours if you get a fancier, fast charging ‘box at home.
Prices start at £32,600, the 4xe around five grand more than an equivalently powered diesel Renegade. Would you be tempted?