The 2015 Jeep Renegade will challenge notions of what makes a real Jeep. But with compact city size, rugged style and genuine talent off-road, the Renegade should easily convert non-believers.
Traditional Jeep character and utility in a shrink-wrapped package; legitimate off-road ability with Trailhawk edition; surprising number of high-end options.
Purists might scoff at its Italian subcompact roots; smaller engine only available with a manual transmission.
The 2015 Jeep Renegade is an all-new model.
Just when you thought the small SUV/crossover niche couldn't get any more crowded, along comes one of the funkiest new models from the staunchest defender of all that is rugged, muddy and squarely styled. The 2015 Jeep Renegade takes one of the most red-blooded of American brands into the realm of the ultra-compact crossover.
Its diminutive size is inherently cute (even if the design will polarize or flat-out repulse the Jeep faithful), but Jeep leaders in America have ensured that at least one version can withstand a dirty flogging on a mountain. Base models will be front-wheel drive, but full-time 4x4 ("Jeep Active Drive") will be available on all models. A rear axle that disconnects when not needed for traction promises improved fuel economy. The range-topping Trailhawk edition is built to endure serious off-road duty, featuring a taller ride height and clearance, 17-inch wheels, hill descent control and a 4WD system with lower gearing designed for slow scrambling up steep surfaces.
All 4WD models offer Selec-Terrain dynamic modes that optimize traction for snow, sand, mud and, on the Trailhawk, rock crawling.
The Jeep Renegade will offer a choice of four-cylinder engines: a turbocharged 1.4-liter rated at 160 horsepower or a larger, non-turbo 2.4-liter good for 184 hp. The smaller engine comes with only a six-speed manual transmission, while the 2.4-liter pairs with a nine-speed automatic, similar to that on the Jeep Cherokee.
At about 16 inches shorter and 2 inches narrower than the Cherokee, the Renegade becomes the smallest Jeep in the lineup. Still, it will offer many of the same features found on upper-level Jeeps, including a smartphone-integrated infotainment system with 5- and 6.5-inch touchscreens, a 7-inch configurable gauge display, and driver aids that include a rearview camera, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning and forward collision warning. The Renegade even borrows a cue from the Wrangler, allowing the outside in with dual sunroofs.
The 2015 Jeep Renegade will hit dealers in January of 2015. Jeep has not announced pricing, but the Renegade will compete with models ranging from the Kia Soul, which starts at around $15,700, to the Nissan Juke, with a base price of nearly $20,000.
Check back for a full review of the 2015 Jeep Renegade, including specs, driving impressions and buying advice as it becomes available.