The newest edition to the Jeep lineup marks the company’s first entry into the growing small sport-utility vehicle market. The all-new 2015 Jeep Renegade takes elements of Jeep’s brand history and combines them with fresh styling, best-in-class fuel efficiency, and the off-road capability that consumers have come to expect from the brand.
With Jeeps currently being sold in more than 100 countries worldwide, the American design team for the Renegade had to think globally about what consumers were looking for in a vehicle. While fuel economy and city-sized proportions were high on the list, the team knew that the Renegade would have to stay true to its roots and deliver off-road performance for those looking to escape the city and venture off the beaten path.
Renegade designers had quite the challenge in front of them. How do you create a all-new small SUV from the ground up as well as stay true to Jeep’s rugged styling and brand history? Mark Allen, Head of Jeep Design, said the Renegade was heavily influenced by the Wrangler which is the “fun and adventurous side of Jeep”. They took design cues like the wide flares, large headlights, and boxiness of the JK and then applied them to a platform that was unique and had to have its own character.
One of the key elements that you’ll see throughout the Renegade is an “X” design motif. The “X” design was inspired by old military fuel cans and is a tribute to Jeep’s heritage. The “X” can be seen throughout the exterior of the vehicle on the headlights, roof panels, and signature tail lights. The “X” design can be found throughout the interior as well.
“My Sky” Roof System
The design team was also tasked with making sure the Renegade offered that open-air freedom that dates back to the Jeep’s 1941 roots with the Willys MB Jeep. Since removable hardtop or soft top options were out of the question, they created the “My Sky” open-air roof panel system. With a manual removable, or premium power lilt/slide with removable feature, the “My Sky” system allows the occupants to quickly open up the vehicle by removing the dual honeycomb fiberglass polyurethane roof panels. With amble daylight and fresh air when the panels are removed, occupants get that open-air feeling we’ve all come to enjoy. The panels, which featured a debossed “X” stamped into them, stow neatly in the rear cargo area when removed.
Inside the Renegade you’ll find a unique and distinctive “Tek-Tonic” design theme that has been incorporated throughout the vehicle. Tapping some of the youngest designers on the team, Jeep tasked them with building an interior that the youthful market could relate to and feel comfortable in. Defined by the intersection of soft and tactile forms with rugged functional details, the interior features design cues borrowed from the Wrangler like the passenger grab handle. Unique anodized design accents and inspired colors derived from extreme sports equipment are blended with the new “X” motif found throughout the vehicle.
Knowing that transporting gear and cargo is important to those who love the outdoors and an on the go lifestyle, Jeep made sure to give the Renegade plenty of storage space. With an efficient and flexible interior design, the fold-forward front-passenger seat and class-exclusive removable, reversible, and height-adjustable cargo floor panel make sure all of you gear gets to where you need it to go.
Power and Performance
Under the hood you’ll find one of two MultiAir four-cylinder engines that each provide more than 30 miles per gallon on the highway. The 2.4-liter Tigershark engine with MultiAir2 produces 184 horsepower and 177 lb.-ft. of torque and is paired with exclusively with a cutting edge nine-speed automatic transmission for smooth power delivery, increased fuel economy, and power when you need it most. The 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo four-cylinder engine produces 160 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque and is available on both the Renegade Sport and Renegade Latitude 4×2 and 4×4 models. Paired with a six-speed manual transmission, the MultiAir Turbo has dynamically managed boost pressure and provides a broad torque curve for increased performance. An Eco Mode is also available on the Renegade for those drivers looking to maximize their fuel economy.
The Renegade is the first vehicle from Chrysler that utilizes the all-new “small-wide 4×4 architecture.” With fully independent suspension, the Renegade is capable of up to 8.1 inches of wheel articulation and 8.7 inches of ground clearance on the Trailhawk model. Jeep used advanced steels and composites to give the Renegade world-class torsional stiffness. It’s also the first Jeep SUV to integrate Koni’s frequency selective dampening (FSD) into the front and rear strut system, which provides for even better road-holding and handling.
Taking technology from their all-new Cherokee, the Renegade is available with two class-leading intelligent 4×4 systems. Jeep Active Drive is a full-time 4×4 system while Jeep Active Drive Low features full-time 4×4 with a 20:1 crawl ratio. Both systems , which instantly engage when 4×4 traction is needed, can provide up to 1,475 lb.-ft. of the engine’s available torque to the rear wheels for enhanced grip on rugged terrain. Included with the Active Drive and Active Drive Low systems is the Jeep Selec-Terrain system. This provides the driver with different modes like Auto, Snow, Sand, and Mud for improved four-wheel-drive performance in any weather condition they might encounter.
Jeep Renegade Trailhawk
For those customers that are looking for even more performance off-road, the Renegade Trailhawk model steps things up a notch with Jeep Active Drive Low standard and an additional Rock mode added to the Selec-Terrain system. With increased ride height, skid plates, hill-decent control, and 8.1 inches of wheel articulation, the Trail Rated Renegade Trailhawk packs a lot into a small-sized 4×4. Styling features unique to the Trailhawk edition of the Renegade include a unique fascia, signature red front and rear tow hooks, and 17-inch wheels with upgrade tires for on-road and off-road performance.
Technology and Safety
The 2015 Jeep Renegade offers a host of technology features typically not found in similar vehicles of its class. With Uconnect Access and a Bluetooth-equiped cell phone, drivers can utilize a variety of hands free features like the ability to receive text messages, announce the receipt of new messages, and even have the system read them aloud and send a reply using “voice texting”. Uconnect Access also used embedded cellular technology to allow occupants to get directly in touch with local emergency service dispatchers by pushing the 9-1-1 ASSIST button the rearview mirror. Chrysler Group’s roadside assistance and the Vehicle Customer Care Center are also the push of a button away.
The Uconnect touchscreen radio provides both the driver and passenger with easy access to communications, audio entertainment, and available navigation. Using either a 5.0-inch or 6.5-inch touchscreen display depending upon model, Uconnect provides easy access to control your Bluetooth-equiped phone, HD radio, digital media broadcasting, SiriusXM features, as well as both auxiliary audio jack and USB port inputs.
The Renegade also features the segment’s largest full-color instrument cluster display. A 7-inch, full color, premium multiview display is available on certain models. The display features a reconfigurable function that allows drivers to personalize the information inside the instrument cluster. The display was designed to easy convey important information to the driver using graphics and text.
Safety was a top priority for the Renegade design team. There are over 70 available safety and security options available, including the segment’s first availability of Forward Collision Waring-Plus and LaneSense Departure Warning-Plus. Engineers also added both active and passive security features like Blind-Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path Detection, and a ParkView rear backup camera. The Renegade also has Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and electronic roll mitigation as well as seven standard air bags.
While hardcore Jeep purists and Wrangler owners might scoff at the small-sized Renegade, we’re excited to see the addition of a off-road capable small SUV to the Jeep lineup. The Renegade, and Renegade Trailhawk, will provide a great platform for city dwellers and younger demographic looking to access to the great outdoors without having to stop where the pavement ends. Its fresh design and class-leading available technology will cultivate the next generation of Jeep owners. However, the Renegade’s off-road capability and “My Sky” system will give current Jeep owners in the market for something smaller a good reason to stick with the brand they’ve come to love and enjoy.