There are many benefits to buying your family vehicles from the same car manufacturer. It means you never have to wonder which side the fuel flap is on; there’s only one dealership you need to have listed as a contact on your phone; and you might even get a discount as a regular client. Plus, there’s the benefit of your cars all bearing family resemblance too. We checked out the Jeep family and found there’s a perfect option for the folks and the grown-up kids.
Almost all grown up
When looking for a car for your Matric or varsity-aged child, safety is obviously important, as is reliability. The Jeep Renegade (starting at R340 000) is a versatile subcompact SUV that is unmistakably Jeep in appearance, but small enough to be easily manoeuvrable.
Fiat Chrysler Sandton says the Jeep Renegade Longitude (starting at R400 000) is currently their top-selling Jeep model. It has a 1.4litre turbo-charged four-cylinder engine with an automatic transmission – enough power to feel zippy, but not enough to keep parents up worrying about drag racing at night.
Original styling details like the X-shaped rear lights mean it lives up to the name Renegade and stands out from the rest of the subcompact SUV category. The Longitude comes standard with side roof rails, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Like all Jeeps, it also comes with a full-size spare, complete with mag. The ride height and ground clearance (175mm) contribute towards a pleasant driving experience.
Because of the Jeep profile, there’s more headroom on offer than other subcompact SUVs, so even if your youngster is lanky, the Jeep will feel roomier than competitors. When the backseats are folded down, the car can almost be used as a mini panel van, with boot capacity increasing from 351 litres to 1,297 litres of space.
The Longitude comes with 16” aluminium wheels, daytime running lights and a surprising amount of technology for the smallest car in Jeep’s range. This includes ABS, ESC, Traction Control and Hill Start Assist, plus six airbags, an electric park brake and a premium tyre pressure monitoring system. The car offers cruise control, adjustable electric driver lumbar support and a boatload of safety features, like front parking sensors and lane-keeping assist.
Connectivity has definitely been prioritised, your child will be happy to know. The Renegade comes with a user-friendly touchscreen Uconnect 5.0 radio with 6-speaker audio system and Bluetooth, an auxiliary jack and a USB port, as well as a navigation system.
The Renegade Longitude does roughly 7.5 l/100km in urban environments with a maximum power output of 103kW. All Jeep Renegade models come with a 3-year/100 000 km warranty and service plan.
A mature move
Jeep is justifiably proud of the fact that its Grand Cherokee has received more awards over its lifetime than any other SUV. There are five models available in South Africa. The Limited (starting at R790 000), although it’s the entry-level model, comes standard with luxurious leather-trimmed seating, Quadra-Trac II 4WD with Selec-Terrain and Hill Descent Control and some neat design features. These include bright door handles, dual chrome exhaust tips and lower front and rear fascia with chrome insert.
The Overland, Summit and SRT are the other models in the range and each step up the luxury and design by a few notches.
The SRT (priced at R1 345 900) offers a 6.4l V8 engine that delivers 344kW of power at 6250rpm and 624Nm of torque at 4100rpm. With an 8-speed automatic transmission, features like an active noise cancellation system and its Pirelli P Zero 295/40 ZR20 tyres, it’s very obviously a premium machine.
In fact, within its family, it’s only surpassed by the Trackhawk, coming in at R2 199 900. As Jeep’s fastest 4x4, the Trackhawk offers ultimate performance. Its supercharged 6.2-litre V8 engine delivers a whopping 522 kW at 6000 rpm and 868 Nm of torque with a 0-100 km/h in 3.7 seconds (thankfully, it comes standard with launch control). It boasts a top speed of around 290 kph.
The race-inspired interior and body-coloured wheel flare exude luxury and character, and the interior is packed with advanced technology and safety features. The 8.4’’ touchscreen infotainment system comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and supplies the driver with real-time performance data, blind spot monitoring and perpendicular park assist.
The race-inspired interior and body-coloured wheel flare exude luxury and character, and the interior is packed with advanced technology and safety features.
Nevermind rugged off-roading, the Trackhawk would also be comfortable taking on a drag race. It’s Jeep’s most expensive SUV to date, but certainly holds its own against rivals. As one reviewer noted, the Trackhawk is the “hottest thing to ever wear a Jeep badge”.
For parents who are not ready to give up their adventurous youth quite yet, but who also want to enjoy the finer things in life, a Grand Cherokee might be just what you’re looking for. All Jeep Grand Cherokee models come with a 6-year/100 000 km maintenance plan and 3-year/100 000 km warranty.