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In-depth reviews

Jeep Renegade 4xe plug-in hybrid performance, top speed & engine

It's far from being the most engaging SUV on the road, but few cars in its class can match the Renegade 4xe when the tarmac ends

Overall rating

3.5 out of 5

Performance, engine & drive rating

3.5 out of 5

Price
£38,000 - £39,000
Fuel Type:
Hybrid Petrol
0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
7.1-7.7s124mphFour187-237bhp

A turbocharged, 128bhp 1.3-litre petrol engine powers the entry-level Renegade 4xe. It’s assisted by a 59bhp electric motor, paired with an 11.4kWh battery, for a total system output of 187bhp. The Upland and top-spec Trailhawk models get a more powerful petrol engine, pushing the output to 237bhp. Power from the electric portion of the drivetrain is sent exclusively to the rear wheels, while the petrol engine takes care of the front axle.

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There's very little motor noise in electric mode: just a soft buzz paired with plenty of wind noise at higher speeds. The more powerful 237bhp drivetrain offers punchy performance but also does a better job off-road than the standard car, thanks to its extra torque. As a Jeep product, the Renegade has always been one of the better small SUVs for tackling the rough stuff, and the plug-in version continues that trend.

In practice, the plug-in hybrid Renegade 4xe is less happy on the road, with an automatic gearbox that dithers when called upon to change down, and if you do ask for some meaningful acceleration, the buzzy 1.3-litre petrol sounds unrefined. At least it has a decent turn of speed once the gearbox selects the right gear. 

As is the norm with most other plug-in hybrid systems, electrical power can be saved and deployed later in a journey. In this default mode (and with a charged battery), the petrol engine takes a back seat to electric power as much as possible.

Jeep Renegade 4xe plug-in hybrid 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration

The less powerful powertrain gets the Renegade from 0-62mph in 7.7 seconds, while the more powerful model cuts that to 7.1 seconds. This swift acceleration feels at odds with the car's off-road remit and relative lack of poise on the road, but is welcome for safe overtaking. The 4xe can travel on electric power alone at motorway speeds, although the engine will have to take over if you plan on going any great distance.

Handling

While the Renegade is a comfortable car to travel in, it could be more engaging from the driver's perspective due to a lack of detailed feedback in the steering and average body control. There's also less grip through corners than we'd like, although that is more due to the all-season tyres fitted, which are a necessary trade-off to ensure the retention of the Renegade's trademark off-road ability.

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