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Car group tests

Jeep Renegade vs Nissan Qashqai vs Mazda CX-5

Jeep has tapped into its off-road heritage to build its new Renegade crossover SUV. Can the car beat established Nissan and Mazda rivals?

The crossover class has reached boiling point over the past year or so, with more and more manufacturers keen to cash in on ever-increasing sales. And among those to join the fray is the Jeep Renegade. The American brand is steeped in off-road history, so the car’s SUV credentials aren’t in doubt, while it has plenty of efficient mechanicals from parent firm Fiat.

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So, could this be a crossover made in heaven? Well, there’s a wide range of engines, lots of kit and a choice of two or four-wheel drive. Here, we test the £25,995 2.0 MultiJet Limited 4x4.

Setting the standard for the newcomer is a pair of talented contenders in the form of the Nissan Qashqai and Mazda CX-5. The former is our reigning class champ, and in £26,680 1.6 dCi Acenta Premium 4WD guise, it promises to mix style, space and low running costs with a dose of go-anywhere ability. The CX-5 is bigger and more powerful than rivals, although the £26,695 2.2D SE-L Nav AWD model is close on price and kit.

So which of our contenders is good enough to win this tussle of four-wheel-drive crossovers?

Head to head

Off-road

None of our trio is designed to be a dedicated mud-plugger, but it’s the Jeep that inspires most confidence off-road. Its Selec-Terrain system features four-stage traction control, plusthe short body has decent approach and departure angles. The Nissan comes with a diff lock, but the Mazda relies on its traction control for grip.

Personalisation

The Renegade is the only car here that you can customise with body decals, two-tone roof colours and contrasting interior trim inserts. The only way to stamp your personality on the Qashqai and CX-5 is with metallic paint options and different alloy wheel designs.

CO2 emissions

If you’re looking to cut your tax bills, go for the Qashqai, as its 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine emits 99g/km of CO2. In contrast, the two-wheel-drive Renegade 1.6 MultiJet has an official output of 115g/km, while the CX-5 2.2D 2WD claims 119g/km.

Verdict

1. Mazda CX-5

 you’re looking for a stylish, spacious and fun crossover with the confidence-inspiring addition of all-wheel drive, then the CX-5 takes some beating. Its 2.2-litre diesel effortlessly combines strong performance with low running costs, and while it’s not as well equipped as its rivals here, it’s got all the essentials. Plus, rock-solid residuals mean you can splash out on a few extras. 

2. Nissan Qashqai

The Qashqai is still a highly desirable crossover, boasting good looks, an upmarket cabin and family friendly practicality. It’s also well equipped, comfortable and refined. Yet it makes more sense with the sweeter 1.5 dCi diesel and two-wheel drive – the 1.6-litre engine isn’t as refined and costs more to run. On the plus side, Acenta Premium trim comes with lots of kit.

3. Jeep Renegade

Third place is no disgrace for the Renegade, which is arguably the best model in the current Jeep line-up. It looks distinctive, is easily customisable, good to drive and copes extremely well off-road. Yet in all-wheel-drive Limited guise, it looks expensive when you consider that it’s smaller and less efficient than its rivals here, plus it’s hobbled by extremely poor residuals.

Other options in this category

Skoda Yeti 2.0 TDI 150 SE L 4x4 - Price: £26,620 Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, 148bhp

This budget will also buy a punchy and well equipped 2.0-litre diesel Yeti SE L. As with all models, the cabin is vast and versatile, while the 4WD transmission has an effective off-road function. Emissions rival the Jeep Renegade’s, at 134g/km.

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Renault Kadjar 1.6 dCi Dynamique S Nav 4WD - Price: £25,095 Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl, 128bhp

Recently introduced Kadjar successfully blends eye-catching design flair with rugged Qashqai underpinnings. Dynamique S spec is loaded with standard kit, yet undercuts its similarly equipped Nissan sister car by a healthy £1,500.

Figures

 Mazda CX-5 2.2D 150 SE-L Nav AWDNissan Qashqai 1.6 dCi Acenta Premium 4x4Jeep Renegade 2.0 MultiJet Limited 4x4
On-the-road price/total as tested£26,995/£26,695£26,680/£27,230£25,995/£26,755
Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)£12,985/48.1%£12,033/45.1%£8,578/33.0%
Depreciation£14,010£14,647£17,417
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£1,326/£2,651£1,225/£2,450£1,210/£2,420
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,424/£2,374£1,499/£2,498£1,578/£2,630
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost17/£456/E/£13019/£430/D/£12014/£451/E/£130
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£649 (3yrs/37,500)£159/£249/£159£159/£209/£159
    
Length/wheelbase4,555/2,700mm4,377/2,646mm4,236/2,570mm
Height/width1,710/1,840mm1,595/1,806mm1,684/1,805mm
Engine4cyl in-line/2,191cc4cyl in-line/1,598cc4cyl in-line/1,956cc
Peak power 148/4,500 bhp/rpm128/4,000 bhp/rpm138/3,750 bhp/rpm
Peak torque 380/1,800 Nm/rpm320/1,750 Nm/rpm350/1,750 Nm/rpm
Transmission 6-spd man/4wd6-spd man/4wd6-spd man/4wd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel58 litres/foam65 litres/foam48 litres/foam
Boot capacity (seats up/down) 503/1,620 litres430/1,585 litres351/1,297 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,613/497/2,000kg1,518/512/1,800kg1,502/N/A/1,500kg
Turning circle11.7 metres10.7 metres11.1 metres
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (60,000)/3yrs3yrs (60,000)/3yrs3yrs (60,000)/3yrs
Service intervals/UK dealers12,500 miles (1yr)/17020,000 miles (1yr)/22512,500 miles (1yr)/73
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.9th/15th28th/29th26th/28th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars94/87/64/86/588/83/69/79/587/85/65/74/5
    
0-60/30-70mph8.5/8.1 seconds10.4/11.0 seconds10.0/10.8 seconds
30-50mph in 3rd/4th 3.5/4.8 seconds4.0/5.3 seconds3.7/5.0 seconds
50-70mph in 5th/6th 6.5/8.3 seconds7.2/9.1 seconds7.3/9.0 seconds
Top speed/rpm at 70mph 122mph/2,000rpm118mph/2,400rpm113mph/2,000rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph 51.1/38.2/9.3m47.2/35.2/8.8m48.1/35.7/8.9m
Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph65/42/60/68dB65/45/59/67dBN/A/N/A/59/68dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range42.2/9.3/538 miles40.1/8.8/573 miles38.1/8.4/402 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 47.1/60.1/54.3mpg49.6/62.8/57.6mpg47.1/61.4/55.4mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 10.4/13.2/11.9mpl10.9/13.8/12.7mpl10.4/13.5/12.2mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket179/136g/km/25%189/129g/km/23%199/134g/km/24%
    
Airbags/Isofix/parking sens/cameraSix/yes/yes/noSix/yes/yes/yesSix/yes/yes/£260
Auto gearbox/stability/cruise control£1,200/yes/yesNo/yes/yes£1,800/yes/yes
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/no/noYes/no/noYes/yes/yes
Metallic paint/xenons/keyless go£540/no/no£550/no/yes£500/£750/£300
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes
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