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Renegade 4xe is Jeep’s first electrified car to reach the UK

It's fair to say that Jeep – as part of the FCA Group – is lagging somewhat when it comes to moving its model range towards a greener future. Announced earlier this year, the Renegade 4xe is its first electrified model to make it to the UK, but its spec makes it a very cautious entry into the PHEV game.

So, at £33,600 and now on sale in the UK, how does the Jeep Renegade 4xe stack up?

Powertrain

You get a choice of two power outputs with the Jeep Renegade 4xe which is dictated by the state of tune of the 1.3-litre turbo petrol engine under the bonnet. In lower spec Longitude and Limited models, this means 130bhp from the ICE motor driving the front wheels, which is supplemented by a 60bhp electric motor driving the rear wheels delivering a total of 190bhp. In the top-spec Trailhawk version, the petrol engine produces 180bhp, bringing the total power up to 240bhp.

In both states of tune torque is 184lb-ft from the electric motor and 199lb-ft from the petrol engine, meaning 0-62mph takes 7.5 seconds in the higher-spec car and a top speed of 124mph. In electric-only mode, the Renegade 4xe will do a maximum 81mph.

Speaking of electric mode, it's here where the case for the Jeep rapidly falls apart. It has an 11.4kWh battery – which is small, especially given the size of the Renegade. As such, it can only manage 26 miles on electric-only power on the WLTP cycle, which is probably going to be closer to 20 in real life. Whilst that's better than nothing, when 30-plus miles are the norm nowadays, it's a bit underwhelming. Still, with official emissions of under 50g/km and fuel economy of between 123 and 134mpg, it'll be tax-friendly.

Interior, equipment and tech

We'd love to say that the Jeep leads the way in terms of standard spec on the inside, but it doesn't. The boot has 330 litres of luggage space, which is less than the standard version, and a fairly trifling amount compared to something like a Kia e-Niro (451 litres). It's even less than a Renault Zoe, which has 338 litres.

A 7 inch TFT colour display replaces a regular instrument binnacle, whilst features and functions are controlled through an 8.4 inch central touchscreen. This integrates Uconnect Navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as DAB radio, as standard. Through the Uconnect app, owners can set up charging, pre-condition the car and monitor its status remotely. If you want to cough up for an on-demand services package, on-board Wi-Fi can connect up to eight devices at once, plus theft assistance and fleet management is available.

The Jeep Renegade 4xe does come with a decent range of assistance and safety features. These include LED headlights, forward collision and lane departure warning, intelligent speed assist and traffic sign recognition, as well as front and rear parking sensors. In addition, blind spot detection, a reversing camera, automatic park assist and keyless go can be specified.

What's the point?

Jeep makes an awful lot about its history of producing cars that can go almost anywhere on- or off-road. With the Renegade 4xe, it is pummelling this point home as well. Jeep Selec-Terrain includes five driving modes which pre-set the car ready to tackle snow, sand and mud, rock, 'sport' and regular driving in auto mode. As with the most hardcore 4x4s, the Renegade 4xe has lockable four-wheel drive at up to 9mph, and a simulated low-range, enabled thanks to the electric motor's torque.

The electrics are water-proofed and the car can wade up to 40cm of water, whilst the top-of-the-range Trailhawk version has steel skid plates. Approach and departure angles of 28 degrees, a breakover angle of 18 degrees and up to 20.1cm ground clearance add to its off-road potential.

But – and it's a big but – is anybody realistically going to be buying a PHEV Jeep to go down greenlanes in the dead of winter? Probably not. We can be pretty certain it'll navigate the speed bumps and kerbs on the way to the shops with aplomb, however.

Price and availability

The Jeep Renegade 4xe Longitude is available from £32,600 on the road. For the Limited version you'll pay £34,500 and for the Trailhawk it'll be £36,500. It's available as of now.

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