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2015 Jeep Renegade

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 3/31/2014 Christian Seabaugh

Vehicle Overview

Well isn't this just the cutest little Jeep you ever did see? The 2015 Jeep Renegade is all-new for the 2015 model year. The Renegade is the latest product in the joint Chrysler-Fiat marriage. While it replaces the Jeep Compass and Patriot here in the States, it was designed primarily with Europe in mind. Built on the heavily-modified bones of the Fiat Panda 4x4 (and 500L), the Jeep Renegade still promises to be a real Jeep. A 1.4-liter turbocharged I-4 making 160 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque will be standard here in the U.S., while a 2.4-liter 184 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque I-4 will be optional. A six-speed manual will be standard while a nine-speed automatic is optional. Front-drive is also standard, but an all-wheel drive system and a true four-wheel drive system will also be available.

As was the case with the Compass and Patriot, the Jeep Renegade will come in trims ranging from city slicker-spec, to Rubicon Trail warrior. Base Renegades won't be suitable for much more than inclement weather in the urban jungle, but the Renegade Trailhawk is off-road ready, with a suspension lift, a transmission optimized for off-roading, and Jeep's Selec-Terrain system, which is designed to make off-roading easier. The Renegade Trailhawk also promises to look the part with a tougher exterior design.

Although the Jeep Renegade will be built by Fiat in Italy, it's loaded with the design cues that have made Jeep one of the most iconic brands of all-time. The Renegade sports Jeep's signature round headlights and seven-slat grille, a door line reminiscent of the Wrangler and original Willys MB, and even removable roof panels, giving the Renegade an almost convertible-like feel.

Fuel economy is respectable for the class in the 2015 Renegade, with the base model achieving 24/31 mpg city/highway in both front- and four-wheel-drive guise; however, the turbocharged 1.4-liter I-4 with Multiair requires premium fuel. Opting for the front-drive 2.4-liter equipped Renegade doesn’t come at a large cost in fuel economy thanks in part to the nine-speed automatic gearbox, allowing it to achieve 22/31 mpg in front-drive guise and 21/29 mpg with four-wheel drive.

Available in all but the base Sport trim, the Safety and Security Group I adds blind spot warning with cross path detection. The Advanced Technology Group adds forward automatic emergency braking, rear parking sensors, and lane departure warning but is only available in the Latitude and Limited trims.

What We Think

    Despite its small footprint and cutesy looks, the 2015 Jeep Renegade is capable on- and off-road. In a First Drive, we noted that ride quality is well-sorted and compliant while the nine-speed automatic while the nine-speed automatic that comes paired with the 2.4-liter I-4 is much improved and shifts quickly and smartly. Even though it isn’t as capable as off-road-focused vehicles like the Wrangler, the Renegade Trailhawk model is capable of traversing difficult terrain such steep, rocky hills and dirt roads with ease, proving that it’s infused with Jeep’s legendary off-road DNA. Even though it’s the least expensive Jeep, the 2015 Renegade’s interior is well-built, featuring high-quality materials and controls that are within the driver’s reach. Cabin space is also generous for four passengers while the 40/20/40-split folding rear seats improve the baby Jeep’s flexibility when it comes to carrying cargo.

New for 2015

Though the Jeep Renegade will be new when it hits streets this year, the sum of its parts are tried and true in the rest of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles family. The Renegade's bones are shared with the Fiat 500L, its engines are shared with the Dodge Dart, its nine-speed transmission with the Chrysler 200, and its all-wheel drive system with the Jeep Cherokee. Talk about a melting pot.

You'll Like

  • The off-road ready Renegade Trailhawk
  • An expected $20,000 starting price
  • Fuel efficient powertrains
  • Iconic design

You Won't Like

  • Being the "baby" of the Jeep family
  • Not all Renegades will be off-road capable
  • The Buy America crowd won't be thrilled to learn that this Jeep is built in Italy, not Ohio.

Key Competitors

  • Chevrolet Trax (2016)
  • Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
  • Nissan Juke
  • Mini Countryman
  • Subaru XV Crosstrek

Rating

3 star

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