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.
The all-new 2015 Jeep Renegade expands the brand’s vehicle lineup, entering the growing small sport-utility vehicle (SUV) segment, while staying true to the adventurous lifestyle and 4×4 capabilities Jeep is known for. In the U.S., the vehicle offers four trim levels and two engine and transmission options: a 2.4-liter gas engine with nine-speed automatic transmission and a 1.4-liter turbo gas engine and six-speed manual transmission.
Despite it being smaller and is at a lower price than its larger Jeep siblings, the 2015 Jeep Renegade will not skimp on the amenities. A smartphone-integrated infotainment system will be available with 5-inch and 6.5-inch touchscreen while a 7-inch configurable gauge display adds to the upscale feel.
The rugged looking Renegade takes styling cues from the Wrangler. Built in Italy, but designed in the U.S., the 2015 Renegade will sell in more than 100 markets around the globe. More importantly, it should do well in China, where sales of new cars and trucks could exceed 21 million this year, and in South America.
The Renegade is 16 inches shorter and two inches narrower than the Cherokee is, the next-largest Jeep is. Inside, it will have up-to-date technology, including an infotainment system that links up with smart phones. Safety features include a rearview camera, blind spot alert, lane departure warning and forward collision warning.
With unmistakable heritage that is evident with just a glance, the 2015 Jeep Renegade is designed in the United States but it will be built in Italy. This vehicle will challenge notions of what makes a real Jeep. However, with compact city size, rugged style and genuine talent off-road, the Renegade should easily convert non-believers.
On the road, it is perfectly fine. The ride is generally compliant, refinement is not too shabby given the slab sides and specialized underpinnings, and grip is strong in both front and four-wheel-drive versions. It handles capably without ever truly entertaining – an area that pegs it behind the Skoda and Mini – but it is never offensive.
Jeep also is tailoring Renegade to younger buyers. Officials described the interior of the vehicle as “playful” and “fun” – mixing traditional “Jeep DNA” with more colors.
The Jeep Renegade arrives in most European markets imminently, while UK sales begin in the first quarter of 2015. If Jeep gets the pricing right, the Renegade should make a cracking case for itself, it has some proper off road chops and a sense of fun that evades a number of its rivals.