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Jeep hatches a baby SUV. Image by Jeep.

Jeep hatches a baby SUV
New Jeep Renegade targets Nissan Juke and other compact crossovers.
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2014-09-17: Incoming: Jeep Renegade

What's the news?

Jeep is obviously getting keen on ruffling feathers. The new Cherokee (which goes on sale shortly across Europe) really polarised opinion with its avant-garde styling. Now the Renegade, Jeep's smallest-ever model and its rival for the Nissan Juke, is doing more of the same, this time with retro-seventies styling and Tonka-toy looks.

"The all-new 2015 Jeep Renegade expands the brand's product portfolio and targets the rapidly expanding small SUV segment around the globe with benchmark levels of efficiency and driving dynamics, while at the same time delivering best-in-class 4x4 capability that customers expect from Jeep," said Mike Manley, President and CEO - Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. "Renegade symbolises the brand's renowned American design, ingenuity and innovation, marking the Jeep brand's first entry into the small SUV segment in more than 100 markets around the globe."


While it's certainly not conventional to look at (did someone say Postman Pat?) the Renegade is certainly different and its Nissan rival has proven that oddball styling is no impediment to success in this segment.


Inside, the cabin owes much to the styling and layout of the new Cherokee, and gets that car's new UConnect infotainment setup with either a five- or 6.5-inch touchscreen. That can be configured with internet access and DAB radio and it's backed up by a seven-inch TFT display that makes up the Renegade's main instrument panel, and which Jeep says can be configured and customised by the driver.

The Renegade will also be unique in the segment with its removable 'My Sky' roof. With a manual removable, or removable with premium power tilt/slide feature, the My Sky roof-panel systems 'quickly bring the outdoors inside.' Designed for convenience, the honeycomb fibreglass polyurethane roof panels are lightweight and stow neatly in the rear cargo area.


Rather happily, just as it's chosen to be different with the styling, Jeep is also swinging for a home run with the mechanical package. Underneath, it shares much with the forthcoming Fiat 500X and is actually based on a platform that owes much to the ageing Fiat Punto. The drivetrains are going to be utterly bang up to date though - a choice of four MultiAir petrol engines or two MultiJet diesels and, thus far, standard-fit four-wheel drive. A ground-breaking nine-speed automatic gearbox (shared with the Cherokee) will also be offered, as will a conventional manual transmission and a dual-clutch sequential setup.

While we're sure there will eventually be a front-drive version, for now Jeep is concentrating on launching the Renegade with four-wheel drive as standard across the range. That gives it a unique marketing position relative to its rivals, where front-drive is the norm and 4x4 is usually an expensive option. Jeep is keen to point out that at least one version of the Renegade, the Trailhawk model, will be 'Trail Rated' - meaning that it can tackle the gruelling Rubicon Trail high in the Colorado mountains - Jeep's answer to the Nurburgring, but with bigger boulders. That will be helped by a 220mm ride height and a whopping 205mm of wheel articulation. Those are pukka off-roader numbers; not bad for a small car.

Anything else?

It may be all-American in style but the Renegade will actually be built in Fiat's plant in Melfi, near Turin. It will be joined later this year by the Fiat 500X.

Neil Briscoe - 15 Mar 2014

2014 Jeep Renegade. Image by Jeep.2014 Jeep Renegade. Image by Jeep.2014 Jeep Renegade. Image by Jeep.2014 Jeep Renegade. Image by Jeep.2014 Jeep Renegade. Image by Jeep.

2014 Jeep Renegade. Image by Jeep.2014 Jeep Renegade. Image by Jeep.2014 Jeep Renegade. Image by Jeep.2014 Jeep Renegade. Image by Jeep.2014 Jeep Renegade. Image by Jeep.    - Jeep road tests
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