2022 Jeep Renegade 4xe PHEV Limited 1.3 GSE T4 16V
With car manufacturers targeted on their CO2 emissions and fined if they don’t meet them, you won’t be surprised to learn that Jeep engineers have been looking at ways of achieving the 95g/km fleet average. The launch of the Renegade 4x4 plug-in hybrid vehicle is the first step in electrification of its entire SUV range, with the Compass getting a similar form of propulsion when right-hand-drive production moves to Italy midway through next year. Gone are the diesel editions of the Renegade, and in their place are these 1.3-litre petrol powered plug-in hybrids with two power outputs. Longitude and Limited feature a 129bhp petrol engine plus 59bhp from the twin electric motors (one each front and back), while the more rugged Trailhawk edition has an uprated 177bhp petrol unit plus the same 59bhp motors.
FIRST UK TEST 2022 Jeep Renegade 4xe PHEV Limited 1.3 GSE T4 16V
From the outside, there’s very little to indicate that this is a plug-in hybrid, aside from an extra filler cap on the opposite side to the petrol one, to charge up the 11.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Using a three-pin plug, it’ll take around five hours to fully recharge, while a 7.4kW home charger will do the same job in approximately two hours. Aside from a smattering of 4xe badges, there’s little to identify that this is an electrified model. The car has been set up so that it always starts in hybrid mode and favours electricity wherever it is possible for maximum efficiency.
There’s nothing plush about the Renegade interior, with ruggedness a priority over luxury. It’s comfortable, functional and does everything you want it to do, but it doesn’t cosset. There’s Jeep logos everywhere, reminding you of the brand’s heritage and a sturdy handle attached to the dashboard for passengers to hold onto during serious off-roading. The mix of analogue and digital dials are nice and clear and though the buttons are clustered together, some of them are mounted too low, and you therefore need to take your eyes off the road for far too long to find them. The dashboard top is made from squidgy plastics, but the door tops are hard, though everything feels durable and built to last. The driving position is upright with a good forward view out, and the seats deliver decent comfort levels. A deep storage area underneath the armrest, a tray in front of the gear lever, door pockets that hold bottles and an average sized glovebox are all good for storing oddments. There’s excellent headroom both front and rear, even with a panoramic roof fitted, and leg and knee space for occupants in the back is alright. Boot space is slightly smaller than petrol editions at 330 litres, and this can be extended further by folding the rear seats down flat. There’s some underfloor storage to store items, but in typical SUV fashion, there’s quite a high sill to lift luggage over.
There’s decent performance off the line, with the PHEV Renegade’s top speed limited to 81mph when in electric mode and has a top speed of 113mph with both forms of propulsion working together. Acceleration to 62mph takes 7.5 seconds and this is amplified by the silent nature of electric vehicle travel. When the petrol engine does burst into play, it can get thrashy when revved, and so your eardrums will thank you for not being so exuberant with the right-hand pedal – or keep it within the realms of EV power. Our test car also suffered with too much wind noise around the door seal, and this may be down to the car being an early production vehicle. The steering is relatively responsive, but there’s not quite enough involvement to keep an enthusiast entertained.
Decent road manners are backed up by tidy handling, very little body roll when cornering and ride comfort that seems to smooth over the scrappiest of surfaces. A plethora of driving modes for the four-wheel-drive system have labels like ‘auto’, ‘sport’, ‘snow’ and ‘sand and mud’. We tried a slippery offroad course and it handled it relatively easily, until a steep hill with wet grass defeated it. Initially we thought it was down to pilot error, but with an expert off-roader replacing our driver at the wheel, there was the same result, especially once the tread of the road tyres had been filled up with mud. We accepted defeat, and in case, any serious off-road buyers are likely to opt for the more powerful Trailhawk edition that gains the ‘Trail Rated’ badge by Jeep, certifying that it is capable of attacking the well-respected Rubicon trail, located in California, in the USA.
FACTS & FIGURES
- On sale | Now
- In showrooms | Now
- Prices | £32,600 to £36,500
- Bodystyles | 5-door SUV
- Engines | 1.3 Petrol plug-in hybrid automatic (187bhp), 1.3 Petrol plug-in hybrid automatic (237bhp)
- Trim levels | Longitude, Limited, Trailhawk
- Also consider | MINI Countryman Cooper S E PHEV ALL4
- Model tested | 4xe PHEV Limited 1.3 GSE T4 16V
- Price | £34,500 Built in | Melfi, Italy
- Codename | BU/520
- Platform | FCA Small wide 4x4
- Bodystyle | 5-door SUV, 5-seats
- Layout | Four-wheel-drive
- Powerplant | 1,332cc, 4-cylinder, 16-valve, petrol with electric motor and 11.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack
- Transmission | 6-speed twin-clutch automatic
- Max power (engine) | 128bhp
- Max power (twin electric motors) | 59bhp
- Max torque (engine) | 199lb ft
- Max torque (twin electric motors) | 184lb ft
- Top speed | 113mph
- 0-62mph | 7.5secs
- CO2 emissions (WLTP) | 49g/km
- Economy (WLTP combined) | 122.8-134.5mpg
- Fuel tank size | 36 litres
- Range (electric motor) | 26 miles
- Recharge time (Domestic socket/7.4kW fast charger) | 5/2 hours
- Insurance group | 22
- BIK rate (2020/2021 tax year) | 12%
- Size (length/width without mirrors) | 4,236/1,805mm
- Boot space (min/max) | 330/1,265 litres
- Kerb/max towing weight | 1,770/1,150kg
- Euro NCAP crash rating | 3 Star
- Warranty | 5 years/75,000 miles
- Verdict | While it is disappointing that the diesel Renegade has been eschewed in favour of this PHEV, it's efficient and pleasant to drive.
- EcoCar rating 8/10