Probably best described as a baby 4x4 is the Jeep Renegade, a tough little monkey with square looks which stands out in a host of various vivid colours.

It’s full of character, great to drive and has excellent off road ability which is much better than some of its rivals.

And among the rivals are the Fiat 500X which ironically comes from the same stable and ironically the two of them share the build platform.

Jeep to everyone means American because these were the vehicles which were built in the hundreds of thousands and helped the Allies get rid of the Second World War invaders – Japanese and Germany.

Those two might have lost the world war but now they build probably the best cars in the world. Another of life’s little ironies.

So it’s good that the Renegade goes for the all-American look with the chubby bodywork and beefcake style.

It has been built to take on the Qashqai and Juke, the chunky MINI Countryman and the excellent Skoda Yeti, one of the best in that segment.

Built in Italy, all the UK versions of the Jeep feature Fiat engines and are available with a choice of two petrol (one turbo) or two diesel engines, starting from just over £17,000 for the 109bhp 1.6 petrol. This goes up to £29,000 for the168bhp 2.0-litre diesel 4X4 top of the range.

The entry-level models are front-wheel drive but most of the models are four-wheel drive.

The Renegade has a part-time 4x4 system called Active Drive I, which transfers torque to the rear wheels only when sensors detect that the front wheels are slipping.

The Active Drive Low system offers low-range ‘crawler’ gearing and diff locks. Selec-Terrain on all 4x4 models calibrates the diffs to operate to maximum effect in snow, mud or rocky ground.

All UK Renegades feature transmission options comprising a six-speed manual, an automated dual-clutch manual and a nine-speed automatic. There are four trim levels.

The six-speed gearbox is both positive and enjoyable and the smooth nine-speed automatic is excellent.

Both steering and road grip are good and the engines do a pretty good job.

I drove a 400-mile round trip, admittedly with a night stop over but it was a refreshing car to drive and equally as good as its competitors.

The less powerful 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel gives you 9.5 seconds to cover 0-62mph, compared to 8.9 seconds for the 2.0-litre in the top of the range.

The fastest petrol is just a little bit slower than its diesel compatriot.

Jeep say the 1.6 MultiJet diesel gives you 64mpg and CO2 emissions of 115g/km put it in VED band C, which means owners will pay £30 a year in road tax.

The Renegade offers a decent amount of space for five people.

Standard equipment on basic cars includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a five-inch touchscreen and electric mirrors, plus air-con and electric windows.

If you go for the Limited version, you get useful touches like automatic wipers and lights as well.

This model also brings parking sensors and the Renegade has bags of useful compartments in the vehicle.

The Jeep scores well on safety, with the range offering up to 60 distinctive safety features as the brand set out its stall to produce the safest car in the class.

The Renegade comes with Jeep’s standard three-year/60,000-mile warranty cover. This is a reasonable package and buyers can pay for extra cover, of course, up to a maximum of seven years or 100,000 miles.

Services are required annually or every 12,500 miles, which is similar to the competition. Parts for the Renegade shouldn’t be too expensive, either, given the component sharing with high-volume Fiat models.

The Renegade was named 4x4 Magazine’s ‘4x4 of the Year 2017’, retaining the crown for the second year in a row.

Rapidly growing in popularity on the UK’s roads, and hugely capable off them, the Jeep Renegade has had an excellent year of sales.

To date, more than 16,500 two- and four-wheel-drive Renegades have been sold in this country while, in the UK and around the world, the successful B-segment SUV has continued to scoop numerous awards.

And Jeep Renegade’s successful partnership with Warner Brothers pictures and this year’s blockbuster movie: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, resulted in top awards for the 4x4 brand from two different industries.