2015 Jeep Renegade: Here Comes the Baby Jeep
People are calling the 2015 Jeep Renegade a baby SUV or a Cute Ute. I myself just called it the Baby Jeep two seconds ago in this post’s headline. But, truth be told, the 2015 Jeep Renegade is a (semi-) serious, off-road SUV that is fully worthy of carrying the Jeep badge atop those seven vertical grill slats.
The 2015 Jeep Renegade broke cover at the Geneva Motor Show last month, but it has since made its US debut at the 2014 New York Auto Show. Over the past few weeks, I’ve gone through a bit of an internal crisis over this little Jeep. Do I like it or not? In the end, I do. Yes, the 2015 Jeep Renegade does sit atop a Fiat 500L‘s chassis (not the best foundation upon which to build a trail-ready SUV). And, yes, apart from its name, it has virtually nothing in common with the original American Specialty Cars Jeep CJ and Jeep Wrangler Renegades of old.
But, to be honest, I kind of like its spunky, almost cartoonish looks. I looks like a MINI mated with a Jeep Willys, complete with big, round headlights and jerry can-esque taillights. It also has some impressive offroad chops. I’m not talking about the base front-wheel-drive version. That’s a urban crossover fit for IKEA runs.
I’m talking about the all-wheel-drive version and upgraded Trailhawk model. The standard AWD Renegade has ample ground clearance at 6.7 inches. The Renegade Trailhawk kicks that number up to 8.7, enough to overcome most obstacles. Koni shocks and adjustable front and rear suspension give the 2015 Jeep Renegade that oh-so-desirable flex [read: wheel articulation]. The Renegade also gets Jeep’s awesome Selec-Terrain off-road electronic management system. Additionally, the Trailhawk package adds a 20:1 crawl ratio granny gear.
Part of the fun of the old Jeep Wrangler Renegades (or all Jeep Wranglers, actually) is taking the roofs off for some sun-n-mud. Thankfully, the 2015 Jeep Renegade gets two removable roof panels over the front and read seats. Or, you could opt for the optional power sunroof, which is waaaay less Renegade. Inside, the Renegade seats four in relative comfort. While a fifth is theoretically possible, it would be a bit snug. The interior is nice looking and fits the exterior looks well with a large center touch screen and bright colors.
Power comes from a standard 1.4-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder with 160 horse, and 184 pound-feet of torque mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. The 2015 Jeep Renegade has an optional 2.4-liter, four-cylinder making 184 horse and 177 pound-feet with a 9-speed automatic. Yes, you read that right, NINE speeds. If those engine options sound familiar its because the 1.4-liter powers the Fiat 500L and the 2.4 is under the hood of the Jeep Cherokee.
I haven’t yet had the opportunity to drive the 2015 Jeep Renegade, but I have a sneaking suspension that I may like it. Who knows it may be as surprising as the 2014 Jeep Cherokee that I tested a little while back. Also, rumor has it the 2015 Jeep Renegade will start at $18,595. But, that’s just a rumor. For more actual info, check out the press release, photos and videos below. NEXT PAGE>>