First Look: 2015 Jeep Renegade 4x4

Mar. 04, 2014 By Josh Burns, Photos Courtesy of Jeep/Chrysler

Information leaked recently over the details of the newest addition to the Jeep family, the 2015 Jeep Renegade, and now we have specifics on the company’s new small 4x4 model. Chrysler calls the 2015 Jeep Renegade its first entry into the small SUV segment, and ultimately it is a vehicle the company believes will expand the Jeep brand globally with an appeal to younger and “adventurous” drivers.

2015 Jeep Renegade Photo Gallery

What’s most interesting about the Renegade, which Jeep says has “small-wide 4x4 architecture,” is it will only be offered as a 4x4. There are two options available for 4WD, including Jeep Active Drive (full-time 4WD) and Jeep Active Drive Low, the latter being a full-time 4WD system that features a 20:1 crawl ratio. Both options will include Jeep’s Active Drive system, with settings for Auto, Snow, Sand and Mud, though the Renegade (much like the Cherokee) will also be offered in a Trailhawk version that will have an additional Rock setting.

“The all-new 2015 Jeep Renegade expands the brand’s product portfolio and targets the rapidly expanding small SUV segment around the globe with benchmark levels of efficiency and driving dynamics, while at the same time delivering best-in-class 4x4 capability that customers expect from Jeep,” said Mike Manley, President and CEO — Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group LLC.  “Renegade symbolizes the brand’s renowned American design, ingenuity and innovation, marking the Jeep brand’s first entry into the small SUV segment in more than 100 markets around the globe.”

Speaking of the Trailhawk, which provides the Renegade with best-in-class capability according to Jeep, aside from the Active Drive Low 20:1 crawl ration and Rock mode, it will also have an increased ride height of 20mm (or 0.8 inches), skid plates for added protection, front and rear tow hooks (similar to those found on the Cherokee), and unique fascias that provide a 30.5-degree approach, 25.7-degree breakover and 34.3-degree departure angles. The Trailhawk will also feature 17-inch all-terrain tires (standard is a 16-inch tire, 18 is optional on certain trim), Hill-Descent Control, the ability to ford water up to 19 inches in depth, and up to a 2,000-pound towing capability with the 2.4-liter Tigershark engine.

A Diesel Option?
It was believed in early reports that the Renegade would be offered with diesel engines … and it is, but not in in the U.S. The two diesel options (1.6-liter Multijet II Turbodiesel, 2.0-liter Multijet II Turbodiesel) will only be offered outside of North America. U.S. market will get two options, including the 2.4-liter Multiair2 Tigershark, which produces 184 hp at 6,400 rpm, and 177 lb.-ft. at 4,400 rpm, and is mated to the company’s nine-speed automatic transmission; the other is a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder motor (Mulitair Turbo) that produces 160 hp at 5,500 rpm and 170 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,500-4,000 rpm, and is mated to a six-speed transmission (with manual and automatic options).

Inside, the Renegade takes has the look and feel of recent Jeep and Chrysler vehicles. It features the Uconnect infotainment center, with the option to upgrade to the 7-inch touchscreen. Soft-touch instruments panels and anodized accents adorn the interior, while engineers designed creative storage options such as a reversible and height-adjustable cargo floor panel and a fold-forward front passenger seat. A large passenger grab handle is added for off-road adventuring – a cue taken from the Wrangler.

The new Renegade is also equipped with an open-air roof system called My Sky, available in a manual removable setup or a premium power tilt/slide option. Jeep says the honeycomb fiberglass polyurethane roof panels are light and designed for easy storage in the rear cargo area.

The new Jeep Renegade is an interesting vehicle. Its smaller stature and limited ground clearance (even the Trailhawk version) might not sit well with Jeep purists, while its 4x4-only option and overall mass appeal worldwide is intended to help Jeep branding on a larger scale. It’ll be interesting to see how the Renegade is received once it hits showroom floors at the end of this year.

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