WITH the demise in the UK of Suzuki’s lovable Jimny, there’s little to choose from if you are looking for a compact 4X4 with go-anywhere credentials.

The Jeep Renegade, a B-segment SUV that still has a starting price under £20,000 and combines that outstanding value with the sort of off-road capability for which the Jeep brand is renowned is the obvious candidate.

And it now comes with a whole raft of changes, including new front styling, a new 1.0-litre turbocharged engine, LED headlights on higher spec models, four new wheel designs ranging from 16 to 19 inches, better safety features and an updated interior with more storage capacity.

Among the new engines are three and four-cylinder turbo petrol units, notably a 1.0-litre delivering 120hp and 1.3-litre delivering 150hp. The engine offering also includes an updated 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre diesel. All can be paired with manual or dual dry clutch transmission.

My road test was in the manual 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol offering in the top-end Limited trim, which came with rather plush off-white leather seating and looked every inch a thoroughly modern SUV with its new front fascia sporting a redesigned seven-slot Jeep grille, new headlights and fog lights.

That engine feels rather lacklustre, and delivers an acceleration of only 11.2 seconds in a 0 to 62mph sprint. There’s a lethargy that is quite frustrating when exiting roundabouts. It is only when the Renegade settles into its stride that it seems more accomplished and suited.

The interiors display an authentic and modern look, in line with the DNA of the brand. The passenger compartment is characterised by quality materials and functional storage compartments.

Depending on trim level, new Jeep Renegade can be equipped with Uconnect 5-inch or Uconnect 8.4-inch Nav, which include touchscreens and easy-to-use features, and a more powerful processor with improved response capability. This allows for the driver to control the climate system, the sound system and much more directly from the Uconnect display.

The Renegade is available in two configurations, with two- or four-wheel drive. Legendary Jeep off-road capability is guaranteed by two advanced 4x4 systems, Jeep Active Drive and Jeep Active Drive Low, which secure benchmark performance in all conditions.

Jeep Selec-Terrain is integrated with four settings (auto, default mode with rear axle disconnect; snow, 4WD mode calibrated to reduce understeer; sand and mud, 4WD modes for maximising low-speed traction) for optimal response on all road surfaces.

Now standard across the entire range are lane sense departure warning and intelligent speed assist with traffic sign recognition.

There are four trim levels – Sport, Longtitude, Limited and Trailhawk – with prices ranging from £19,200 to a little over £30,000.

Marking a series of firsts in the company’s history, the Renegade became the American company’s first entry into the small SUV segment and also the first Jeep to be built in Europe but sold in the USA.

It claims best-in class off-road ability, and I can vouch for its credentials. I have driven it across soft sands, through woodland and over boulder-strewn terrain and it passed each and every test.

Its compact size provides easy manoeuvrability in tight city centres matched with that off-road capability.

As with the Jimny, it is both cute and characterful, but also flawed. It looks rugged while still being functional, versatile and stylish. It also has appeal to youthful customers.

The rear lights feature a new X design theme inspired by the ‘jerry’ cans mounted on the back of the military Willys Jeep – the legend that inspired the brand. It’s a nice nod to its heritage from a very modern Jeep.

The lowdown:

Jeep Renegade Limited 1.0 GSE T3

Price: from £24,905 (Renegade range from £19,200)

Engine: 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol producing 120bhp

Transmission: Six-speed manual

Performance: 0 to 62mph in 11.2 seconds; top speed 115mph

Economy: 39.8mpg combined

CO2 emissions: 134g/km

Star ratings:

Performance: ***

Economy: ***

Ride/Handling: ****

Space/Practicality: ****

Equipment: ****

Security/Safety: ****

Value For Money: ****