Jeep Renegade 4xe review – does a hybrid Jeep make sense?

We get one a bit muddy finding out

36w ago

It's fair to say the Jeep Renegade is one of those cars that you either get or you don't. It's not exactly the biggest, toughest Jeep out there, but it has a daily-drivable, urbanite appeal that's resulted in it being a pretty decent seller for Jeep in Europe.

And now you get can get a plug-in hybrid version. Called the 4xe (pronounced four-by-Eeeee), it uses a 1.3-litre petrol engine to drive the front wheels, and an electric motor for the back ones. So, Jeep says, it's still got the 4x4 skills to be worthy of the Jeep name. But is it any good? Watch the video below to find out (and to see me dripping with rain in a rooftop tent), or read on for more thoughts.

First things first – you can get the Renegade 4xe in two flavours, which alter the power of the combustion engine. There's an entry-level version which gets 130hp through petrol power, topped up by 60hp of electric power for a combined 190hp.

Then the top-spec Trailhawk model gets 180hp from the engine and the same 60hp from the electric motor, for 240hp in total. The electric motor generates 250Nm of torque.

I drove the 240hp version (of course), and while it never felt quite as brisk as its 7.5-second 0-62mph time suggests, it was always capable of overtaking dawdlers on soggy Welsh roads.

But you don't buy a Jeep Renegade for speed, you buy it for daily driving. And despite a few concessions brought about by being hybridised (the boot is 31 litres smaller than the regular Renegade at 351 litres, and the a petrol tank capacity is down to just 36.5 litres), the Renegade 4xe does the normal stuff really quite well.

It makes sense – the Renegade's a squat, boxy thing that fits in well around town, so why not make it a hybrid?

It makes sense – the Renegade's a squat, boxy thing that fits in well around town, so why not make it a hybrid?

The ride is settled and not overly firm, and although overall weight is up to 1,770kg it still corners well enough to hoof down country lanes at the legal speed limit without any worries. It'll even crack 81mph on electric power alone, though you'll have to be relatively gentle on the accelerator so you don't call upon the noisy power of the petrol engine.

Bring the noise

Ah yes, the petrol engine. It is noisy. Put your foot down hard in any of the three powertrain modes (including the electric-only mode) and the engine awakens and heads for the redline with a bit of a racket. You end up driving more gently, trying your best to keep the revs down so you don't have to shout at your passenger. On a partial throttle and in normal driving it's perfectly fine, but it does rear its noisy head when you want to dart into gaps in traffic.

The interior is fine, but it does show its age a little

The interior is fine, but it does show its age a little

In terms of driving modes, you get the normal hybrid mode, which uses electric power only where sensible and calls in the petrol engine quite readily; electric-only, which does its darn-tootin' best to only use the electric motor; and E-save, which is the one you press when you're on a motorway and want to switch to pure petrol power to save some charge for later in the journey.

Muddy rutting

Jeep says that the Renegade 4xe is as capable as a regular Renegade off-road, and we had the chance to tackle some very slippery muddy tracks on a steep hillside. You get a swathe of off-road modes and a virtual diff lock to help you out.

The Renegade gets a dainty blue Jerry-can centre cross in the 'D'. What a collection of words that was

The Renegade gets a dainty blue Jerry-can centre cross in the 'D'. What a collection of words that was

Even on road tyres, the Renegade handled the forest tracks and grassy slopes with one-hand-on-the-wheel ease. Obviously it doesn't have the wheel articulation of something like a Wrangler, but it'll still leave competitor small soft roaders spinning their tyres in the National Trust car park.

Should I get one?

The entry-level 180hp Renegade 4xe will set you back £32,600, and the top-spec Trailhawk I drove with some options was £39,100. Those aren't especially small pricetags, but they're about the same as you'd be paying for a reasonably powerful hybrid SUV from other makers.

Is it worth the money? Just about.

It's a niche car – if you like the way it looks and you like the idea of having near-silent urban transport backed up by some proper off-road ability, then it's a great choice. In fact, it's almost the only choice, certainly at this price point. However, those are some pretty out-there criteria, and I imagine most people will be happy to settle for a more modern-feeling hybrid SUV and forego the mud-plugging nature of the Renegade.

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Comments (16)

  • You asked what Jeep Trail Rated badge means? : Trail Rated is akin to writing Fuckmunch on your knob just before engaging in extreme outdoor intimacy with your partner (or more likely self).

    Trailhawk is kind of exactly the same as Fuckmunch; Permanent marker written on the knob, it means I like to go trailwanking. I am a wanker and this is my wanker badge and you should definitely go tail wanking with me.

    It's a thing in the US that Jeep guys do apparently.

    Something a bit like the Welsh Sheep-shagging craze, that all Welsh men do at least once or more often in their life. If the Welsh did a 4x4 there would be Sheep Shagger Rated 4X4 and that will come upon us one day with a daffodil a leek and a hey nonny nonny Baaah..

      8 months ago
    • Righto!

        8 months ago
    • I can't remember correctly, but, didn't Trail Rater badges also mean that such Jeep model includes some sort of skid plates too? (Or maybe it did back in the past too) I remember eithe reading it somewhere or someone telling me. But apart from...

      Read more
        8 months ago
  • This is very interesting to me as from what I’ve experienced, the standard Renegade is pretty shocking off-road but I like everything else about it. So a hybrid version appears to be the best of both worlds

      8 months ago
  • Don’t forget the government in its miscalculated wisdom is classing all hybrids in the same bag as combustion engines cars , at least that’s how I understand it .

    Which means after 2030 you won’t be able to buy one . How that will affect values if these cars I am not sure. Hybrids in my opinion offer the best if both worlds and would be a great way ease into full electric without the panic of trying to go full electric in ten years. I am not a fan of later jeeps anyway I would rather have an 70 year old military one or a series land rover !

    At £30,000 I don’t know how people afford these things let alone range rovers at double that .

      8 months ago
  • I like the Renegade, it's a "cute ute"....definitely prefer my Cherokee Trailhawk though...looking forward to them offering a 4xe option on it next year.....may even trade it in....only if they bring back firecracker red though......

      8 months ago
  • Yes

      8 months ago