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MOTORING: JEEP RENEGADE 1.4L T LIMITED AUTO

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For as long as I can remember the Jeep brand has been synonymous with 4×4. In the early days the brand was built on a go-anywhere military vehicle. Fast forward to today, and even though the focus has changed from military to recreational, the go-anywhere philosophy has not changed.

The Jeep Renegade is interesting as its design was inspired by the original Willy’s MB Jeep. This can be seen from the short front overhang with the squared front grill incorporating round headlights. The trapezoidal wheel arches have some resemblance but do not protrude the front as the original Willy’s did. The rectangular taillight with an X-shape in the centre resembles the old military fuel cans carried in the Willy’s jeep.

This heritage yet edgy design makes this stand out not only from the crowd but from the rest of the Jeep stable. It is seen as fresh and cool with a hit of excitement, which is exactly what the Jeep designers had in mind when they started the project.

This new design has seen many a new customer to the Jeep stable. In particular it has drawn on the likes of women as well as the youth, which means the brand has created a future generation of customers.

Inside the Jeep, the nostalgia continues with grab handles on the passenger side dashboard and the military fuel-can design in the cup holders. Then to add some pizzazz, there is a high-gloss finish around the speakers and gearshift. A sporty leather-bound steer wheel that certainly looks the part completes the look.

From the outside the interior is deceivingly small, as once inside, there seems to be ample space. Thanks to the large windows and full-length glass sunroom, the cabin also feels a lot bigger than it is. I guess this is one of the reasons for its great appeal: small on the outside yet big on the inside.

Talking of big, the 1,4-litre turbocharged motor is exactly the same: small in looks or capacity, yet big on power.

On the whole the Jeep Renegade was more than I had expected. It was easy and fun to drive with decent fuel consumption for an all-wheel drive vehicle and with the ability to tackle just about any situation thanks to its off-road ability.

The best part for me was the quality of materials used and the attention to detail, especially on the front and rear windscreens, which have small jeep outlines on the corner appearing to be climbing the window. This is definitely a winner in my books.

Author: Torque Talk is a member of SAGMJ

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