With global demand for smaller SUVs growing, Jeep has teamed up with its Italian owners to create the brand’s first compact SUV, the Jeep Renegade.
Although the name Jeepster was rumoured to be the model’s designation, Renegade was chosen as its global name with the baby SUV being officially set for a Geneva Motor Show unveiling.
CarAdvice first saw the Jeep Renegade in December last year in Detroit as part of Fiat-Chrysler’s media preview, however apparently the model name was not yet chosen.
Designed and engineered in Detroit, the American Jeep will be produced in Italy by parent company Fiat, based on the brand’s new “small-wide 4x4 architecture” which Jeep says combines best-in-class off-road capability with world-class on-road driving dynamics.
Measuring 4.232 metres long, 1.804m wide and sitting roughly 1.689m high (depending on variant), the Jeep Renegade has a minimum ground clearance of 170mm, with the option for 200mm or even 220mm for the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4x4 variant.
Its available as front-wheel and four-wheel drive and internationally there will be a incredible 16 different powertrain combinations, though it appears Australia will only be privy to three engines.
The Jeep Renegade will come to Australia with a choice of either a 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol MultiAir2 Tigershark engine with 137kW of power and 236Nm of torque, a 1.4-litre MultiAir turbocharged engine with 125kW and 250Nm and a 1.6-litre four-cylinder E.TORQ unit with 81kW and 152Nm of torque.
Jeep will also take the honour of having the world’s first nine-speed automatic transmission in a small SUV with the gearbox being available in the 2.4-litre model set for our market. The 1.4-litre turbo will get either the same nine-speed a six-speed manual. The base model E.Torq will only be available with a five-speed manual.
In Australia the 2.4-litre engine teamed up with the nine-speed automatic system will be available as a front-wheel drive, 4x4 non-Trailhawk and 4x4 Trailhawk while 1.4-litre 4x4 gains the nine-speed or six-speed manual for the front-wheel drive models. The 1.6-litre E.Torq with the five-speed manual is available as a front-wheel drive model only.
Towing capacity will be somewhat limited (though demand for towing capacity in the compact SUV class is minimal), with the 2.4-litre capable of just 907kg while the 1.6-litre and 1.4-litre engines extends that to 1000kg.
A strut front MacPherson suspension (coil springs, flat front steel crossmember, high-strength steel double shell lower control arms for 4x4 and high-strength steel mono shell lower control arms for 4x2, stabiliser bar) teams with a rear 'Chapman' strut (high-strength steel links, isolated steel rear cradle for 4x4 and not-isolated for 4x2, coil springs, stabiliser bar).
Standard on all models is an electric power steering system with 2.68 turns lock-to-lock (2.76 for Trailhawk).
For the hardcore Jeep enthusiasts, the approach angles (with air dam) range from 17.9 degrees for the 4x2, 21.0 degrees for the 4x4 and an impressive 30.5 degrees for the Trailhawk 4x4. Breakover angles follow as 21.2 for 4x2, 24.0 for 4x4, and 25.7 for Trailhawk 4x4. Departure angles are 29.7 for 4x2, 32.1 for 4x4 and 34.3 for the Trailhawk 4x4.
Inside the Jeep Renegade aims to inspire a new-generation of buyers that may not have otherwise considered a Jeep.
Jeep Renegade’s interior designers titled the interior design theme as “Tek-Tonic.” The idea being the intersection of soft and tactile forms with rugged and functional details.
Some of the highlights include the sculpted soft-touch instrument panel, which is intersected with bold functional elements such as the passenger grab handle which is taken from the Jeep Wrangler.
The air vents, too, are uniquely integrated into the dash for which Jeep credits performance goggles and boots used in extreme sports as inspiration.
The 2015 Jeep Renegade has a chunky steering wheel, which defies its exterior size, and is available in other market with a heating option.
The choice of either a 3.5-inch monochrome display or a 7-inch TFT display will take care of the the instrument cluster display.
Other features include a dampened glove box and the media centre with USB, auxiliary input and 12-volt power charging capability.
As for practicality, the Renegade includes a second-row 60/40-split seats, or as an option, buyers can select 40/20/40-split seats with cargo area pass-through.
The boot capacity ranges from 350 litres with the rear seat up or 869 litres when folded flat.
As with the original 1941 Willys MB Jeep, the 2015 Jeep Renegade can be enjoyed without a roof.
Jeep's 'My Sky' open-air roof system is available as either a fully manual removable roof or removable with premium power tilt/slide system. The honeycomb fiberglass polyurethane roof panels are lightweight and stow neatly in the rear cargo area.
Infotainment is taken care of by Jeep’s Uconnect touchscreen radio systems, available with either a 5.0-inch or 6.5-inch colour touchscreen system.
It features the regular Bluetooth connectivity, navigation, USB and audio management system, but also gets radio data system capability (RDS), digital audio broadcast (DAB), HD Radio, digital media broadcasting (DMB) and the North American specific SiriusXM Radio.
Passive safety features include seven airbags as standard equipment, while active safety features include forward collision warning-plus and lane-sense departure warning-plus on higher-grade models - features currently available in the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Cherokee. Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross path detection, a reverse-view camera and a range of electronic drivers aides are also available.
The Jeep Renegade will go on sale in Australia in late 2015, with pricing still unconfirmed. CarAdvice believes it will match the current range of cars in the segment, which start from around the mid $20,000s and top out in the mid $30,000s.
What do you think of the new Jeep Renegade?