2015 Jeep Renegade Debuts In Geneva

GENEVA – Seventy-four years ago, the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps issued a request to 134 American manufacturers to create a design for a four-seat, quarter-ton 4x4 with a 40-hp inline-four, a two-speed transfer case, and a 1270-pound maximum weight. The Jeeps that Willys and Ford began delivering to the Army in 1941 (for $748.74 each) were overweight by at least 890 pounds, but the 2.2-liter L-head I-4 bested the Army's horsepower minimum by 50 percent. Years after the Jeep first invaded Europe, Enzo Ferrari declared it "America's only true sports car."

Now with a full line of capable off-roaders, Fiat-Chrysler's Jeep brand has landed on the continent with the Renegade, a new B-segment crossover designed to appeal to Europeans. The Renegade also capitalizes on Americans' growing interest in the subcompact sport/utility segment as it positions the brand to meet stringent 2016 and '25 Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards. The 2015 Jeep Renegade will be built in Melfi, Italy, on the "all-new" Fiat-based platform that Jeep calls the "small-wide 4x4" architecture.

The Renegade is cute, and yet it looks off-roadable enough to possibly avoid the "female car" epithet. (Just as you can sell an old man a young man's car but not the other way around, you can sell a woman a man's car but not vice-versa). As you'd expect, Jeep designers and engineers have baked in as much Jeep-ness as possible in order to appease Rubicon Trail-level off-roaders. Moab corollary: You can't sell an off-roader a city slicker's Jeep, but you can sell a city slicker an off-roader's Jeep.

Engineers devised two new full-time 4x4 systems for the Renegade: Active Drive and Active Drive Low, the latter a full-time 4x4 system with a 20:1 crawl ratio. Both are designed to provide 100 percent of available engine torque to any one wheel.

The Renegade 4x4 systems feature the new disconnecting rear axle and power takeoff unit first announced for all-wheel-drive versions of the 2015 Chrysler 200 V-6. Four-wheel drive automatically engages when traction is needed. The Active Drive and Active Drive Low systems come with Selec-Terrain, a traction control system with Sand, Snow, Mud, and Automatic settings and, on Trailhawk versions of the Renegade, an added "Rock" mode.

Trailhawk is Jeep-speak for "most off-road capable" trim level, and in the Renegade it includes the Active Drive Low system and Rock mode plus 0.8-inch higher ride height; skid plates with red front and rear tow hooks; unique fascias providing approach, breakover, and departure angles of 30.5, 25.7 and 34.3 degrees; 17-inch all-terrain tires; up to 8.1 inches of wheel articulation; hill-descent control; and up to 19 inches of water fording.

With the optional 2.4-liter Tigershark I-4 and tow package, the Renegade has a 2000-pound towing capacity. Markets outside of North America are offered a Multi-Jet II turbodiesel that can tow up to 3300 pounds.

Jeep says the Renegade was designed and engineered in the United States to offer a combination of best-in-class fuel efficiency and off-road capability. It will be offered with sixteen engines and four transmissions worldwide, though only two engines -- neither of them diesels -- and two transmissions will be offered in North America.

The base engine will be a 1.4-liter MultiAir turbocharged SOHC four making 160 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque. The optional engine will be the now-familiar 2.4-liter DOHC Tigershark four, with 184 hp and 177 lb-ft. The MultiAir can be had with a six-speed manual or the nine-speed automatic; the Tigershark is only available with the nine-speed.

Unlike the 1941 Jeep MB, the 2015 Jeep Renegade is not an open/convertible sport utility, though it there is a choice of two optional open-air sunroofs, called My Air. Jeep claims the segment's largest full-color instrument cluster, at seven inches. Chrysler's Uconnect Access and touchscreen radios will also be available. The Uconnect access, available only in U.S.-spec Renegades, includes one-touch 911 emergency service access, cloud-based voice-texting and Yelp services, and on-demand Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity.

The Renegade will also be available with front-wheel drive. In this modern world, the belief that real SUVs have longitudinally mounted engines and body-on-frame construction is a quaint notion of the past – see Range Rover Evoque to illustrate that is no longer true. For purists, there's still the very popular, highly profitable Wrangler/Wrangler Unlimited and Grand Cherokee. The Fiat-based Renegade -- which at 166.6 inches long, 71 inches wide, and 66.5 inches tall is 36.7 inches longer, one foot wider, and 0.8 inch lower than the original WWII Jeep -- is the model the brand needs to make it one of two Fiat-Chrysler divisions, with Alfa Romeo, slated to go global.

Our impressions live from the Geneva show floor

Christopher Shim
Hi Jeep Renegade, Meet your father.
JKjeeperGuy
Here's what might get the auto maker's attention: I'LL NEVER BUY THIS
Dallace Brandon
Can't wait!!
Nagendra Kumar
nice suv car
Glenn Brown
Rebadged Subaru Forester.
Dimitrios Golfinopoulos
Boring angle
Guangzhou Shizun Auto Parts Co.,Ltd.
In conclusion of the comment, it;s a hybrid!
Dominick Ruggiero
ugly
Jason Wright
Too much Liberty, not enough Cherokee. Just make a real hardtop Wrangler and be done with it.
Randall Owen
Nice
True Car Guy
It's not April 1st yet...
Khurshed Aga
designed by a blind, tasteless person devoid of all sense of proportion and esthetics
Robert May
Jeep is a joke
Josha Dupere
ugh
Chris Story
Renegade? No.
JHPhotoArt
@automobilemag @astos30 @Jeep I really cant stop thinking of the Suzuki Jimney when I see this!
Dennis San Vicente
Jeep saved the Juke...even the Aztek?
Mick Mugnai
LOVE it. Too many cars try to look macho these days. This little Jeepster looks fun, dorky, and rugged. Props to Jeep for this.
Francisco Giordano
Looks a lot like the last Suzuki Samurai!
Craig Stishenko
215/65/17s stock. That a joke right?
Josh Winters
This is horrible. It's a Nissan Cube with Jeep badging and cladding
Craig Stishenko
More lift, more tires, more locking diffs
Rahul Sangra
Shows a dedicated jeep....
Mudit Malhotra
Shikhar Verma
Thomas Abbott
Shows how dedicated Jeep is to heading toward bankruptcy by greelighting horrendous designs.
Alex Rosa
Yuck!
Deron Lewis
Ugly, who decided cross breeding with an Element and Cube was a good thing....
Michael Anderson
Fiat strikes again
Dave_in_Rio_Rancho
Nice - We have a lot of narrow Forest Service roads here in New Mexico where what you really need is ground clearance, good approach and departure angles along with small size.In our family we have a Kia Soul+ and a Honda CR-V Ex. The Kia gets most of the around town use but the CR-V has the road clearance you need on the dirt roads.
Jon Kithcart
Calling this a Renegade.... Epic fail... Please name it something else.... Dilute the brand .... Dilute the brand... Marketing disaster
Mitch Jackson
Exhibit B in why I no longer like Jeeps. And you all know what A is.
Drew Hardesty
Hideous
Eric Seeger
Not bad for what it is--something to replace the Compass/Patriot. But I wish they would stop slapping the names of old, cool Jeeps onto the new ones. It just hurts both.
Jay Jones
Hate the front end/headlights/grill !!
Leo Perez
It has to be designed to compete with Kia Soul and Honda Element. Just plain ugly!!!!!
Brian Brown
Jeep you forgot to flush.
Gerd Kalesse
Put it back into its bag and throw it away
xabieramezaga
@automobilemag @Jeep a vulgar and cheap copy of korean SsangYong
Chris Hershey
they have enough of these small SUV's as it is. Ugly as well. the market is flooded with them.
Grzegorz Malikiewicz
Looks like Nissan Cube on steroids after eating hot Thai soup :)
Robby Robinson
it's obvious Jeep is taking the brand in a more youthful direction. most of us who read and keep up with auto trends do like the styling....but I will say this along with the new Cherokee do look like something that will be very appealing to the younger buyer...
Patrick Lucado
I really like this
MissAndree2U
@automobilemag @Jeep Win!
Anthony Itambo
Terrible
Alkis Lazarou
fail suzuki jimmy tranformed in Jeep
Shahin Samadli
2/5
Pete Colombus
rubbish
Jose Lopez
Who designed this? Kia or a First Grader?
damaje199
This looks much better than the cherokee, compass and patriot, hopefully they bring to replace everything in the line up that is not grand or a wrangler.
NJae
@xabieramezaga @automobilemag @Jeep  Are you referring to the SsangYong Korando which started in it's 1st generation as a licensed copy of the Jeep CJ-7?

New Car Research

our instagram

get Automobile Magazine

Subscribe to the magazine and save up to 84% off the newsstand price

subscribe

new cars

Read Related Articles

TO TOP