Honda HR-V VTi 2015 review
Peter Anderson road tests and reviews the Honda HR-V VTi with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.
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Jeep's first pint-sized SUV comes with a big price tag.
Want proof that there's power in a brand? Look no further than the new Jeep Renegade.
It has about the same ground clearance as a Toyota Camry and is the first Jeep to come with a skinny "space saver" spare tyre.
But that hasn't stopped Jeep from stamping its various logos inside and out.
A box-shaped hatchback, think of it as Jeep's version of a Mini.
There are large "Jeep" motifs printed all over the seats, while embossed patterns of the classic Jeep headlights-and-grille are stamped into the audio speaker surrounds, rear view mirror housings and the inside of the tailgate - and pretty much anywhere else there was a blank surface.
Just in case you needed reminding while driving, there is a tiny silhouette of a classic Jeep in the black masking around the edge of the windscreen, and Jeep symbols on the side mirrors. There is no escape in this pretend escape machine.
Even the designer of the Renegade admits they might have gone too far with the branding. When we asked how many Jeep logos or symbols were dotted on the vehicle, he said with a grin "no, please don't count them, we got a little carried away".
There is the "X" shape in the tail-lights, a nod to the stamping in the side of the "Jerry cans" from WWII.
The Americans couldn't figure out why their spare fuel cans kept leaking. When they eventually came across the ones used by the Germans, they noticed they didn't leak because the "X" shape in the sides increased the strength of the thin metal.
Only one of the four models in the Renegade range can get off the beaten track
More than 70 years later, the "X" shape is repeated in the bottom of the cup holders of Jeep's first ever city-sized hatchback - "because it looks cool".
Jeep may have invented the 4WD in 1941 but in an ironic twist it is one of the last to market with the new wave of "faux-wheel-drives".
Only one of the four models in the Renegade range can get off the beaten track, the rest are two-wheel-drive, just like a Toyota Corolla.
The Renegade is the first new-from-the-ground up vehicle to come from the shotgun wedding between Italy's Fiat group and the American icon in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis.
Part of the reason it took so long was because Jeep was wrestling with whether or not it should put the Jeep badge on what is effectively a fun-sized hatchback.
In the end, money talks. The Renegade is likely to bolt out the door, such is the appetite for these vehicles. It's predicted more than half of all buyers will have never owned a Jeep before.
The baby SUV category typically starts at $20,000 and stretches to the low $30,000s.
Are you sitting down? Jeep Renegade pricing starts at $29,500. But that's the five-speed manual (the equivalent of a 30-cent ice cream cone at McDonald's, designed simply to get you into the store).
The starting price of the one most people will actually buy is $32,500 for the 1.4 turbo with twin clutch automatic, called "Sport".
The Renegade is actually better suited to the city and suburbs
Then there is "Longitude" edition ($34,500) and the "Latitude", sorry, "Limited" ($38,500), all of which are powered by the same 1.4 turbo engine and auto transmission but get increasingly more equipment.
If you want to get off the beaten track, or climb a gutter or two, the "Trailhawk" 4WD (2.4-litre four-cylinder, nine-speed auto) is an eye-watering $41,500. You can buy a genuine heavy-duty 4WD for this money, not just a high-riding hatchback.
Jeep has also watered down what "Trail Rated" means. Previously, every Jeep must be able to conquer the giant boulders on the Rubicon Trail. Then it was "just the 'Trail Rated' models". Now it's "well, it can go on a trail but not the Rubicon Trail".
The good news is the Renegade is actually better suited to the city and suburbs.
It drives better than we were expecting, with good road feel in the corners, supple suspension over bumps and more than adequate power from what may seem like a small engine.
Most mod cons are covered -- seven airbags, digital speedometer, rear view camera -- and the standard equipment list grows from there.
The quality of the interior is a step up from other Jeeps. It's as if Jeep is trying harder in an attempt to counter potential criticism from US buyers who may not be so sure about a Jeep built in Italy.
Fiat and Jeep are not exactly the industry benchmarks for vehicle quality, but the Renegade shows things have taken a turn for the better.
The price may give you an ice cream headache (Jeep is blaming currency) but if you can justify so much money on such a small car you'll certainly stand out in the crowd.
Check out Malcolm Flynn's video review of the Jeep Renegade here:
|Limited||1.4L, PULP, 6 SP DUAL-CLUTCH AUTO||$21,999 – 23,754||2015 Jeep Renegade 2015 Limited Pricing and Specs|
|Longitude||1.4L, PULP, 6 SP DUAL-CLUTCH AUTO||$16,999 – 22,990||2015 Jeep Renegade 2015 Longitude Pricing and Specs|
|Sport||1.4L, PULP, 6 SP DUAL-CLUTCH AUTO||$13,420 – 17,600||2015 Jeep Renegade 2015 Sport Pricing and Specs|
|Trailhawk||2.4L, PULP, 9 SP AUTO||$20,350 – 25,740||2015 Jeep Renegade 2015 Trailhawk Pricing and Specs|