Preview: 2015 Jeep Renegade

Sep. 26, 2014 By Josh Burns
The 2015 Jeep Renegade will be the company’s first entry into the small SUV market. It will arrive in dealerships at the start of 2015.

The Jeep Renegade is an all-new vehicle for the Jeep brand, and one that the company hopes will draw in new, youthful customers who may not have considered purchasing a Jeep. It will battle head to head with other small SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Mini Countryman. The Renegade represents Jeep’s first entry into the small SUV segment, which has been growing both nationally and worldwide. The Renegade is important to the brand not only as its first entry into the segment, but also because it fills out the Jeep line to offer something for basically all SUV buyers.

It’s always been important for Jeep to retain its off-road heritage in every model it produces, and the Renegade is no exception to this rule. It will be offered in both 4x2 and 4x4 options in trim level options that include Sport, Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk. It is a small SUV so its trail capability is not going to be that of a Wrangler, but Jeep still believes the Renegade will provide capability for the youthful active customer that will venture off the pavement from time to time.

The frontend of the Renegade keeps the 7-slot grille styling for which the Jeep brand is known, while the Trailhawk package offers red tow hooks should they be needed when off the trail.

Although Europeans will be able to get their hands on the Renegade shortly (and they will also have a diesel option that the U.S. will not), the new vehicle will hit dealerships closer to the start of 2015. There are two key powertrain options that include a 1.4-liter turbo four-cylinder engine that produces 160 hp and 184 lb.-ft. of torque, and a 2.4-liter four-cylinder Tigershark engine that produces 184 hp and 177 lb.-ft. of torque. Jeep has still not released fuel economy figures, but they do claim that both motors will yield 30 mpg or more on the highway.

The My Sky, open-air, dual-panel roof allows the Renegade to have an open-top feeling without have to remove the entire top – it’s like a blend of taking the top off of a Wrangler and a sunroof. Once the panels are removed (which we’re told only weigh about 5 pounds) they are designed to safely and securely fit in the rear cargo space.

The vehicle on display for Chrysler’s recent event is the Trailhawk version, the model that will be of interest to the outdoor and off-road enthusiast. The Trailhawk Renegade isn’t your hard-core off-roader by any means, but it will still include “best in class” 4x4 capability by way of its Active Drive Low 4x4 system (with a 20:1 crawl ratio), its Selec-Terrain system that offers five settings for different terrain, and a 0.8-inch lift with more off-road-focused suspension compared to the 4x2 model.

The Active Drive Low system found on the Trailhawk Renegade offers different settings for the driver depending upon the terrain encountered. Aside from four-wheel drive low setting, the Trailhawk also features hill descent control to aid in tricky off-road sections.

The Trailhawk come equipped with the 2.4-liter Tigershark motor, which will be paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission to help provide good fuel economy. The Trailhawk Renegade will be fitted with 17-inch aluminum wheels fitted with more aggressive tires, and the Trailhawk fascias feature improved clearance for taking the Renegade Trailhawk off the highway. Red tow hooks are featured both front and rear for off-road recovery, while skip plates provide added protection for the underbody for the Trailhawk. 

The Renegade features a blend of modern and historical design cues, such as the unique taillights inspired by military gas cans.

Inside, Jeep looked to provide a plush feel matched with unique features. The driver will have a leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel that’s equipped with hand controls for the stereo, instrumentation and Bluetooth phone controls. The information display, which features a youthful paint-splatter appearance, can be customized to the driver’s liking. The Renegade will also feature the Uconnect System for hands-free calling via a 5-inch or 6.5-inch touchscreen.

Jeep hasn’t released pricing or complete fuel economy yet, but they do claim that both motors will have a highway rating of at least 30 mpg. We’ll know more when we get to drive the vehicles in the near future.

One of the most unique features on the new Renegade is the My Sky feature, providing an open-air option that is a cross between a sunroof and a topless Wrangler. There will be a retractable option for My Sky, or owners can manually remove both panels and store them cleanly in the rear cargo section in the back of the vehicle. We’re told the composite panels only weight about 5 pounds, so removing and reinstalling the panels should be easy enough for most.

Inside, more unique styling cues are found on the Trailhawk Renegade, such as anodized speaker casings with the Jeep grille incorporated into the design.

Although we still haven’t had the chance to get behind the wheel of a Renegade, we’ll have the chance to do so at the formal introduction for the model in the next few months. Chrysler decided to launch the vehicle in Europe first, since it’s such a large and successful market there, which means North Americans will have to wait a little while longer. We’ll be excited to check out the new Renegade first hand and report how it performs. Stay tuned.

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