When you grew up with Saturday night war films like Merrill’s Marauders, the word Jeep conjures up images of windscreens flat on the bonnet and the American army, so the romantic in me always takes note when I hear of any news from Jeep.

The Renegade is an interesting proposition as it is effectively Jeep’s first foray in to the world of the SUV, the fastest growing car segment today. It’s taken them some time to join the party.

With the Nissan Juke and Audi Q3 in the room it’s going to take a big entrance for the Renegade to turn heads and get noticed, fortunately it’s a bit of a looker and tends to stand out in a crowd.

The Renegade has the same “look at me” appeal of the Juke and is certainly the sort of automobile that will garner a few kerb-side nods of approval.

Looking at the Jeep Renegade head-on, it’s hard not to instantly recognize who the manufacturer is, as the Renegade has the now familiar upright vertical grille with front-on round headlights. It’s not just a road going pretender either, the Jeep claims ground clearance that is best in class and also adaptive all-wheel drive mode that makes it a true 4×4 off-road vehicle.

With a mighty 16 different choices of powertrain on offer, there is going to be something for everyone – including the basic front-wheel drive version.

The UK will get a choice of 3 engines – 118bhp 1.6 or 138bhp 2.0 petrol as well as a 168bhp 2.0 diesel variant, while the 9-speed automatic version will give the user plenty of decision making to do.

The pricing is yet to be set, but is strongly rumoured to be coming in at around the £24,000 mark making it directly compete with the Skoda Yeti (surely it’s nearest cousin) and possibly the Juke’s larger brother the QASHQAI.

The Renegade shares the same wheelbase (and manufacturing plant in Italy) as the soon to be released Fiat 500X, although while this might raise some eyebrows over here, in America Jeep is synonymous with being a real off-road vehicle – much like Land Rover is to us – so there was never really any doubt that Jeep would be taking their off-road capabilities very seriously with the Trailhawk option.

I would guess that the 1.6 litre 2-wheel drive option is going to be the big seller and even at this level the Renegade comes with Bluetooth and a 5-inch touchscreen as standard.

You can add a plethora of options on top of the standard stuff, including lane departure systems and collision avoidance as well as a nice choice of alloy wheels, while MySky allows you to indulge your Targa fantasies (almost).

If you too saw Merrill’s Marauders and are getting tempted by all this, Jeep have provided US army-style decals as an accessory option if you’re brave enough. UK sales are due to commence in early 2015.

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