2015 Jeep Renegade Revealed Ahead Of Australian Debut Photo:
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Mike Stevens | Mar, 04 2014 | 7 Comments

Jeep is now in the crossover SUV game. Revealed at this week's Geneva Motor Show, the company's compact new Renegade has big boots to fill.

Known until recently as the Jeepster, the Renegade revives a name that appeared on a special concept back in 2008 - but more importantly, it also appeared on earlier CJ7 models.

Jeep says the Renegade is up to the task though, promising class-leading qualities on and off the road, along with top fuel efficiency figures.

On the styling front, the Renegade packs all of the Jeep brand's familiar and iconic design characteristics into a smaller package.

There's the familiar slotted grille, classic round headlights (rather than the slender units of the new Cherokee), squared-off wheel arches and that two-box profile.

At the rear, there's a high-set window in the tall tailgate, and simple square tail-lights at each end.

Measuring just 4232mm long and 1804mm wide, the Renegade is a good deal smaller than both the Cherokee and the Wrangler - yet, incredibly, larger still than the original Willys Jeep that served in World War 2.

The Renegade will share its 'small-wide 4x4' platform with Fiat's coming 500X SUV, which it will also be built alongside in Italy.

Engine options will range from an 81kW/152Nm 1.6 litre unit, to Fiat's 125kW/250Nm 1.4 MultiAir 2 and the larger a larger 137kW/236Nm 2.4 litre MultiAir 2 'Tigershark' mill.

A 2.0 litre diesel option will also be offered in some markets, although it is understood that Australia will stick with the petrol engines.

A six-speed manual transmission is standard, but Jeep will also offer ZF's nine-speed auto as an option.

An entry-level front-wheel-drive model will lead the new Renegade range, followed by two 4x4 systems, and both of the latter are able to send up to 100 percent of through any wheel as needed.

The first of those two four-wheel-drive systems is Jeep Active Drive, essentially a regular 4x4 system.

The second setup, Jeep Active Drive Low, offers a 20:1 low-range mode for crawling, and it's this system that will star in the Trailhawk model.

Both systems get Jeep Selec-Terrain with selectable drive modes (Auto, Snow, Sand and Mud) for different environments, but the trail-rated Trailhawk will also get an additional mode: Rock.

The Trailhawk will also get a 20mm taller suspension package, skid plates, tow hooks, 17-inch all-terrain tyres, hill-descent control and a more rugged exterior body-kit.

Suspension in all models is by MacPherson struts up front, and a Chapman independent setup features at the rear. Jeep says this combination will offer up to 205mm of wheel articulation, while the Trailhawk will boast a wading depth of 480mm.

In the cabin, the Renegade features a mix of classically rugged Jeep features - like a passenger grab handle - and modern touches such as a large seven-inch colour instrument cluster.

A unique new open-top roof system will also be available, although it is unclear if this option will come to Australia.

In manual form, the open roof allows two lightweight panels to be removed and stored in the rear, while a power tilt/slide version will also be offered.



In Australia, the Renegade's price rivals are likely to include MINI's Countryman, the quirky Nissan Juke and - depending on the market - the Buick Encore and Opel Mokka twins.

None of those, however, will offer the Renegades off-road capability.

But with an Australian debut expected to occur in 2015 - and later rather than sooner - it will be some time before local buyers will get the chance to put those claims to the test.

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