2015 Jeep Renegade First Look

By Jacob Brown | March 03, 2014
Jeep is an American brand. Always has been, always will be. But through trial, tribulation, and tumult, Jeep has emerged as part of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles company. As such, it is increasingly becoming an American brand that's important on a world stage. If further proof were needed beyond the German roots of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, its Italian diesel engine, or the Alfa Romeo-based 2014 Jeep Cherokee, may we now introduce you to the 2015 Jeep Renegade. As the smallest Jeep in the lineup, the 2015 Jeep Renegade will replace the Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot at the bottom of the automaker's lineup. It will also serve as the most affordable model, designed to cater to entry-level shoppers who may want a Jeep but possibly don't want all of the size, price, inefficiency, or rugged machismo. Except in Trailhawk form, the 2015 Jeep Renegade will still be able to more than hold its own off the beaten path.

What's New

Based on the same chassis as the Fiat 500L, the 2015 Jeep Renegade will be available in front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, or four-wheel drive with a 20:1 crawl ratio in low range, which is enough to get you out of the rough stuff. But beyond the off-road goodness that every Jeep ought to have, the Jeep Renegade comes with available 5.0- or 6.5-inch Uconnect infotainment systems, two available My Sky removable panoramic roof options that can be removed like the Jeep Wrangler's, optionally selectable strut settings to adjust how the vehicle rides, and even a 7.0-inch fully color instrument display that's optionally available. If all of that weren't enough--because with a new car, too much can never be enough--the new Jeep Renegade will have a choice of four distinct interior themes, soft-touch interior materials, and 10 different exterior colors that all allow for a little bit of personalization.

Engine and Drivetrain

Jeep touts 16 different powertrain combinations will be available for customers around the world. For the U.S., we receive just two engines, but some very cool transmission options should be available. The base engine for the U.S. will be the turbocharged 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo four-cylinder engine with 160 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. After that, of course, is the Tigershark 2.4-liter four-cylinder from the Jeep Cherokee, producing 184 horsepower. Available in front- or all-wheel drive, the former engine will be paired to either a six-speed manual transmission or six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Those familiar with the Fiat 500L will likely have of both options before. The latter option will come exclusively with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Diesel options are possible later down the line, but none have been confirmed for the U.S. just yet.

Our Thoughts

So far, the Jeep Cherokee has been a massive success for the Jeep brand, building on the already solid foundation set by the Jeep Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. With the outgoing Jeep Patriot and Compass having not always been the most solid vehicles at the bottom of the Jeep lineup, it seems fitting that Jeep is leveraging the Fiat technology and experiences learned with the Cherokee to give shoppers just what they're looking for. Compact and subcompact crossover SUVs are what the market is craving right now, evidenced by the influx of subcompact luxury crossovers from Germany and the sales picked up by the Buick Encore/Opel Mokka. The 2015 Jeep Renegade should be a huge boon for the Jeep brand, both in keeping loyalists happy and attracting plenty of new shoppers all over the world who've not had the chance to get into a Jeep until now.