Ever since Jeep unveiled the new 2015 Renegade at the Geneva Motor Show , the world has gobbled up every bit of information about the new crossover . Small, practical, useful, fun, and sporty — Chrysler’s newest Jeep has all the same Jeep ingredients we’re used to, but has packaged it in a very unique way.
Besides being a unique vehicle in the Jeep lineup, the Renegade is also set to be one of Jeep’s most popular. Built in Italy in cohorts with Fiat , the Renegade will be sold globally. Its small size, fuel-efficient lineup of engines, and four-wheel-drive systems will help it conquer the competition.
We’ve already told you about the all-new Renegade here , but now we’re bringing you a condensed version – a top 10 list of notable features Chrysler hopes will put the Renegade on top.
Click past the jump for an overview of the 2015 Jeep Renegade
1. All-new Exterior Design
The Renegade sports a very upright, blocky design Jeep has become famous for. The tall windshield and large side glass look borrowed from the Wrangler while the rear tailgate glass look distinctively more modern. Up front, the grille features a blacked-out surround and large round headlights flanking its seven-slotted openings. Other design cues tell of the Jeep heritage like the Willys MB Jeep silhouette on the wheels, the jerry can X-design in the headlights and taillights, along with the exposed tow hooks (Trailhawk trim) for easy recovery.
2. My Sky Removable Top
Perhaps the coolest thing about the Renegade is its optional removable roof panels. Jeep’s My Sky roof system has two removable panels that can be stowed in the cargo area for open-air driving. Made from lightweight materials, the panels are easily removed yet provide a secure, waterproof seal when locked in place. Like the Wrangler’s top, there’s nothing ‘power’ about it. You’ve got to manually remove the panels by hand.
3. Interior Design
The interior offers a good mix of rough and tumble ruggedness while still being soft-touch and refined in all the right places. Jeep is calling this design combination “Tek-Tonic” and we say it works pretty well for the crossover. The dashboard is reminiscent of the Wrangler’s, with the center stack having the high-mounted infotainment screen with a row of switchgear below, followed by a three-dial HVAC control. Even the steering wheel looks similar. Thankfully, the design is mostly unique to the Renegade and generally avoids the parts-bin-built look.
Cargo capacity is generous for a crossover in this segment. With the second row seats up, the rear area offers 12.4 cubic feet of storage. With the seats folded, that number grows to 30.7 cubic feet. Overall interior volume comes in at 118.6 cubic feet – handily larger than its direct competitors, the Kia Soul and Nissan Juke.
Like in past Jeeps, designers hid ‘Easter Eggs’ thought the cabin with tons of gems to keep occupants busy exploring the interior. One of the most notable Easter Eggs is the topographical map of Moab, UT – a popular off-roading spot – molded into a storage bin just in front of the gear selector.
Connectivity and electronics are on par with the crossover crowd. The Jeep offers a 5.0- or 6.5-inch Uconnect touchscreen infotainment screen in the center stack while the gauge cluster is treated to Chrysler’s familiar monochrome 3.5-inhch display or upgraded seven-inch TFT display, depending upon trim level. Of course, Bluetooth, SiriusXM satellite radio, and USB/AUX ports are available.
5. 1.4-liter Turbo I-4
The base engine is the familiar 1.4-liter, turbocharged inline-four currently found in the Fiat 500L. In this application, the 1.4-liter produces 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission will deliver power to the front wheels and possibly the rear, though Jeep hasn’t announced if four-wheel-drive is available with the smaller engine. We suspect this engine will be just fine for those interested in cruising around town for mall crawling, but those looking to off-road, tow, or who live in mountainous terrain might consider the 1.4-liter to be underpowered.
6. 2.4-liter TigerShark I-4
The up-market engine is Chrysler’s 2.4-liter Tigershark inline-four banger that’s currently pulling duty in the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 cars. In this application, the engine will produce 184 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. We just hope the Tiger shark works better for the Renegade than the Dart/200 twins, as it’s generally regarded as underpowered, even for the small cars. Jeep hasn’t released any projected fuel economy numbers, but we suspect the Tigershark to be the more efficient of the two powerplants getting around 25 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.
7. Nine-Speed Automatic Transmission
Backing the 2.4-liter Tigershark is the segment’s first nine-speed automatic transmission. This is the same engine/transmission combination Jeep offers in the new Cherokee. Jeep says the combination will help the Renegade improve aggressive launches, enjoy smooth power delivery at highway speeds, and of course, improve fuel efficiency over the six-speed manual. In the Cherokee, the powertrain offers up to 31 mph highway and we expect the Renegade to achieve close to that.
8. 4WD Systems
The Renegade will offer three separate drivetrain options: Front-wheel-drive, Active Drive, and Active Drive Low. Jeep’s Active Drive offers the benefits of FWD but with the instant availability of AWD traction. Normally powering the front wheels, the system activates when slippage is detected and sends power to the tires with the most traction.
In its most capable trim, the Trailhawk, the Renegade features Active Drive Low. Essentially the same system as the lesser one, Active Drive Low offers a low range. It features a 20:1 crawl ratio with the ability to help the vehicle over steep terrain or recovering stuck vehicles. Both systems can send 100 percent of power to one wheel, giving it the ability to climb its way over rough terrain.
Active Drive-equipped Jeep also come with Selec-Terrain, an electronic system that helps manage traction for whatever terrain the Jeep finds itself on. It’s similar to Land Rover and Toyota’s selectable systems . Rotating the dial from Auto to Snow, Sport, Sand/Mud, and Rock modes sets up the Jeep for the best off-road results.
A scaled-down version of that system is available on non Trailhawk Renegades, but loses the extra low crawl ratio and the Rock setting within Selec-Terrain.
9. Global Availability
Chrysler’s deep-rooted partnership with Fiat is a huge factor in the Renegade’s birth. The companies have collaborated parts, man hours, and factories in order to bring the Renegade to market. It will be constructed in Fiat ’s Malfi, Italy plant while its parts will be sourced from around the world – including its engines from the U.S. Brazil, and Italy.
The Renegade will be sold around the world as well, continuing Jeep’s well-known status as a worthy off-roader. The Renegade will go on sale in European markets in the last quarter of 2014 with U.S. sales starting the first quarter of 2015
10. Trim Levels, Pricing, & Availability
The Renegade will come in Sport, Latitude, Limited, and Trailhawk models. Besides the extra goodies offered on the Trailhawk model, Jeep hasn’t mentioned optional and standard features within the trim levels. We’ll have to wait on that one. Jeep is also keeping its mouth shut on pricing at this point. We fully expect the Renegade to be smartly competitive against the Kia Soul and Nissan Juke with their respective starting prices of $14,900 and $18,990. Currently, the Jeep Compass starts at $18,595, and since the Renegade is the Compass’ replacement, it’s likely Jeep will start there.