If you want to go big in the automotive world today, you have to think small, and that’s precisely what Jeep is doing with the new 2015 Renegade that was officially revealed on at the Geneva Motor Show.
Jeep’s entry in the small SUV category will challenge the Nissan Juke offering a boxier body with more rugged looks and increased off-road capability.
The latter holds especially true with the trail rated “Trailhawk” model that gains a 20mm (0.8 inch) increased ride height, a Select-Terrain system with exclusive Rock mode, Active Drive Low, 17-inch all-terrain tires and unique fascias that deliver 30.5 degree approach, 25.7 degree breakover and 34.3 degree departure angles.
Jeep’s new model shares its underpinnings with the upcoming Fiat 500X and the existing 500L minivan and has been designed to accept up to 16 powertrain combinations, including four Multiair petrol engines, two Multijet diesels, flex-fuel capable units, two manual, one dual clutch and a segment-first nine-speed automatic transmissions.
In North America, engine options will include Fiat’s familiar 1.4-liter turbocharged inline-four producing 160hp and 170 lb-ft of torque paired to a six-speed manual, and a 2.4-liter four-pot with 184hp and 177 lb-ft linked to a nine-speed automatic.
In Europe, there’s a more comprehensive engine range comprising three petrol and two diesels. These include 170PS (168hp) and 140PS (138hp) turbocharged and naturally aspirated versions of Fiat’s 1.4-liter Multiair four-pot, and the aforementioned 184hp 2.4-liter Tigershark petrols, plus the 110PS (108hp) 1.6L, 120PS (118hp) 1.6L and 140PS (138hp) 2.0L diesels.
Jeep offers two all-wheel drive systems, the full-time Active Drive that sends up to 100 percent of torque to any axle when necessary, and the Active Drive Low that comes as standard on the Trail Hawk and which adds a low range with a 20:1 crawl ratio in first gear, while also employing hill-descent control and Selec-Terrain traction control with Auto, Snow, Sport, Sand/Mud options (plus Rock 4×4 on the Trail Hawk).
A mention should be made to the two available My Sky open-air roof systems, with manual removable or the removable with power tilt/slide feature honeycomb fiberglass polyurethane roof panels that can be stowed in the cargo area.
The Renegade will be the first Jeep model to be produced exclusively outside the U.S., as it will be built alongside the Fiat 500X in Melfi, Italy. Pricing and further details are to be announced.
By John Halas