The orange Jeep Renegade is one Jaffa too far…

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Decided to catch the train to London today. I just can’t face a five-hour return journey in the orange Jeep.

Believe me, I’m in touch with my inner ‘orangeness’ – it’s just that a combination of orange and Renegade is one Jaffa too far.

A car should be a joyous thing – something you long to drive when it’s parked outside your house.

My 1972 Land Rover is noisy, uncomfortable and draughty but I look forward to steering it 100 times more than the Jeep.

Sure, on paper the Renegade has plenty of kit and a heritage to match – despite being expensive.

It’s really a fake though. There’s more history and charisma in my BIC pen. The fact Jeep has played on the heritage card so heavily with this new Renegade really sucks.

I never thought I’d say this but honestly, go drive the hugely impressive Skoda Yeti instead. It’s a much better car.

Two wheel-drive bad, four wheel-drive good with the Jeep Renegade

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I get the feeling the Renegade  might be more worthy of the Jeep badge equipped with the four-wheel drive set-up and a more powerful engine than our 1.6 test model.

Most people will opt for two-wheel drive and then discover the ride is bouncy and too firm. And the 1.6-litre is adequate rather than exciting. At least it pulls well from a standstill.

The standard six-speed gearbox is the one to go for – the twin clutch auto will likely rob the Renegade of any performance you can squeeze from that 120bhp power unit.

Oh, and while I’m on the positive, the steering is responsive and there’s little wind noise at high speed. The sound system on the Limited is a highlight too.

The one-step, no-step Jeep Renegade will lead you a merry dance

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If there’s one, insignificant feature on the Jeep Renegade that sums up the ethos of this vehicle, it’s the footstep leading in to the back seat.

Foot step, running board – call it what you like. Except this isn’t a foot step. Despite being at ‘step’ height, it is actually just a piece of plastic trim, bolted on to give the Renegade a more macho look.

And I know it’s not a running board because it says in bold typeface ‘No Step!’ on the trim. I honestly can’t imagine a boisterous ten-year-old bothering to read that as he uses it for a springboard.

It’s all a bit pointless. Just like the splattered mud logo that replaces the red line on the rev counter. That’s going to annoy the hell out of you after about a nano second of novelty value.

Jeep is trying to been ‘too’ Jeep I fear. Concentrate on getting the basics right first…

The Jeep Renegade – for people who want to drive in a top hat

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Colin Rosie might be happy. The man who restores top hats at Spitalfields Market in London will be delighted to know Jeep make a car designed especially for his customers.

The Jeep Postvan (available in bright orange) has so much headroom that wearers don’t have to remove their hats when on the road. It’s tons more practical than the ‘squashed’ Range Rover Evoque, which is for flat cap owners only.

Of course, you pay a price for making a fashion statement in a top hat. Unlike the urban-cool Evoque (available now secondhand for £20k upwards), our £23,000 Renegade has the visual appeal of a Lego brick.

At least the Jeep makes other people happy. I know this because there were a lot drivers laughing at me as I tootled through the Cotswolds on the weekend.

So, there you have it. Buy an Evoque and leave your top hat at home. Or choose a Jeep Renegade and make people chuckle..

Jeep Renegade – possibly the ugliest car I’ve ever driven (sadly)

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The Americans are trading heavily on their heritage with the Renegade. The original Jeep was a functional four-wheel drive that lent its name to several generations of future 4x4s and SUVs.

The Renegade is a poor substitute. Only six of the 17 models have all-wheel drive and despite some rugged body trim, this car is just a tacky fashion accessory, designed for suburbia and the high street.

Especially annoying is the ‘since 1941’ logo splashed across the top of the dashboard. Erm , since 1941 Jeep has been building pseudo SUVs with no style, character and charm?

And besides, this one was built in Italy. It’s also the only vehicle I can think of that’s more ugly than the Fiat 500X on which it’s based.

Sorry Jeep but the Renegade makes me cringe every time I see it. And it’s not just the ridiculous orange paint that leaves me with no place to hide. I simply loathe the look.

More on driving the Renegade, build quality and ownership over the next few days….

Imagine arriving at McLaren in a mad orange box on wheels…

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To reach the executive car park at McLaren’s ‘Tracey Island’ HQ in Woking, you have to skirt a lake and drive past Ron Dennis’ palatial office. And judging by the exotica in the car park, you really want to arrive in something special.

I’m at the wheel of a ‘Omaha Orange’ Jeep Renegade. While I can’t see through the windows of the part subterranean super car factory, I’m sure heads are turning for all the wrong reasons and Ron is laughing his socks off.

It might be my own insecurities but I haven’t driven an orange car in 35 years – and that was a Datsun 120Y handed down from my father.

You have to be a special kind of person to own an orange car. Either an employee of budget airline easyJet or comfortable in Hawaiian shirt and shorts 12 months of the year.

I am neither. So, the Jeep is already at a disadvantage. I have to get my get my head around the paintjob before I can even consider the rest of the car.

Whether or not I can remains to be seen but suddenly a flowery shirt and silly shorts look far more restrained in comparison…