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Jeep Renegade vs Fiat 500X

Richard Blackburn

5 Jan 2016 • 4 min read

Twins under the skin put their platforms to differing uses.

value

Jeep Renegade Longitude

$34,500

Costs more than the Fiat 500X and has less equipment. Standard fare on the Renegade includes reversing camera and rear parking sensors, dual-zone aircon, electronic handbrake, rain-sensing wipers and auto headlights. Capped price servicing is among the most expensive programs around, at $1632 for three years.

Fiat 500X Pop Star

$33,000

If you can do without the open-air feel, the Fiat represents better value. It’s $1500 cheaper but gets standard satnav, more safety gear and an interior that looks more up-market. It also gets keyless entry and push-button start and matches the Renegade’s electric parking brake, auto wipers and auto headlights. Servicing is significantly cheaper, at $1346 over three years.

design

Jeep Renegade Longitude

They may be twins under the skin but you’d never pick this pair as siblings. The Renegade, with macho off-roader style wheelarches and bumpers, signature Jeep grille and boxy profile, trumps the Fiat with its removable two-panel sunroof but has a smaller centre screen display and feels more utilitarian inside, with durable rather than stylish finishes. No satnav or adaptive engine mapping.

Fiat 500X Pop Star

The Renegade looks like a mini-Cherokee, but the 500X looks more like an oversized hatch than a baby SUV. Inside, the Fiat swaps the Jeep’s rugged, durable theme for a racier look that includes two-tone black and red seats, faux carbon-fibre inserts and a sporty, flat-bottomed steering wheel. It gets standard satnav and bigger centre screen but no auto climate control or sunroof.

technology

Jeep Renegade Longitude

Engine

The 1.4-litre turbo shared with the Fiat is a strong engine with plenty of low-down grunt (103kW/230Nm). It’s also impressively frugal on the open road. The fuel-saving stop-start, which shuts off the engine at the lights, is a bit clunky and slow to restart. The dual-clutch transmission works well at higher speeds but is jerky in stop-start traffic.

Fiat 500X Pop Star

Engine

Drivetrain is common with the Jeep but the 500X uses slightly less fuel, claiming 5.7L/100km to the Jeep’s 5.9L. The 500X has a “mood selector” to alter engine, transmission and steering responses. Auto mode is biased to fuel efficiency, while sport mode gives livelier throttle, sharper steering and sportier gearshifts, holding on to lower gears. All-weather mode gives maximum traction.

safety

Jeep Renegade Longitude

Blind-spot monitoring, seven airbags and rear camera are standard but it misses out on safety tech in more expensive models, including forward collision warning, lane departure warning and rear cross path alert. Hasn’t been crash tested locally but got five stars in Euro NCAP testing.

Fiat 500X Pop Star

The 500X scored four stars to the Renegade’s five in Euro NCAP testing but the crash performance was almost identical. It was marked down for not having automatic emergency braking on most models, where the Jeep did. Neither gets the tech here. The 500X has blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert.

driving

Jeep Renegade Longitude

It’s the best handling Jeep ever built, although that isn’t the compliment you may think it is. The Renegade is a competent and composed performer and has above-average road manners. Apart from the grumbly transmission, it delivers a relaxed ride around town and, for a high-riding mini-SUV, sits flat through corners. The steering reacts faithfully to inputs, while the engine stands up with flexibility and strength.

Fiat 500X Pop Star

Despite the shared underpinnings, the ride is quite different — the Renegade deals well with speed humps, corrugations and potholes but the 500X suspension is bouncy and fidgety, with more suspension and road noise. Adjustable drive settings make it the pick for spirited driving.

Verdict

Jeep Renegade Longitude

Fiat 500X Pop Star

The Renegade looks the part but 500X sneaks past it with a better cabin and more equipment for the money.