The Jeep Renegade name demanded respect back in the days of leaf springs and round headlights. From its humble beginnings in 1970 as the Jeep CJ-5 Renegade I with the 225 c.i. Buick V-6, to the gnarly 304 c.i. powered Jeep CJ-5 and CJ-7 Renegades which made for some seriously fun white knuckle driving, the Renegade proved its worth as a more-than capable Jeep. Unfortunately, the Renegade disappeared in 1987 when the Jeep Wrangler made its debut, and worse yet, it made a comeback for the ’91 model year. If you’ve never seen a Wrangler YJ Renegade, be prepared to throw up in your mouth. This Wrangler was shod with hideous fiberglass side and fender panels that made Jeep enthusiasts cringe.
Then in 2008 Jeep unveiled its Renegade concept to the world. Although it wasn’t as cool as other Jeep concepts, it stirred the pot and kept enthusiasts excited that we might someday see a small light Jeep that could cruise around on the trails with ease. Unfortunately that vehicle was never built, thus leaving the last real Jeep to bear the Renegade badge a lackluster YJ that looked funkier than the denim upholstered Levi’s edition Jeep CJ.
Luckily, the days of waiting for a small wheeler that can actually double as a comfortable daily driver are finally over. Now, Jeep has unveiled the 2015 Jeep Renegade at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. This all-new baby Jeep is sure to cause a big stir in the Jeep community.
The ’15 Jeep Renegade is the brand’s first attempt at the compact SUV segment (unless you count the Jeep Compass) and it’s set to take the world by storm- especially with the Trailhawk option. This isn’t a simple, cheap econo-box version with fancy stickers and badges like the rest of the competition in its class. This little Jeep has been designed as a real deal Trail Rated machine with off-road capabilities to take it where no other small SUV in its class can go.
There’s no doubt that many Jeep enthusiasts were crying like little babies when Jeep unveiled the 2014 Jeep Cherokee last year. Although we don’t doubt the 2015 Jeep Renegade will be met with heavy criticism for being too “civilized” and “cookie-cutter”, we think the future looks pretty promising for this little pint-sized bad boy dubbed the Renegade.
The 2015 Jeep Renegade was designed for the global market, so it’s no surprise that it also has no less than 16 different powertrain combinations for the varying markets around the world. One of the engines that will be available in North America is the 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo gasoline engine that produces up to 22 psi of boost and generates 160 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque. Also available in North America is a 2.4-liter MultiAir2 Tigershark gasoline engine that pumps out 184 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque to get the little Jeep Renegade moving One cool engine that won’t be available in North America is the 2.0-liter MultiJet II TurboDiesel engine with Stop & Start technology which is only for European and Asia-Pacific markets. That’s too bad because it would be nice to see a small off-road SUV available with a diesel in the U.S (never say never). The 2.0-liter MultiJet II TurboDiesel is estimated to produce up to 167 hp @ 3,750 rpm while kicking out 258 lb-ft of torque from 1,750-2500 rpm which allows this European and Asia-Pacific Renegade to tow up to 3,300 pounds.
Although you probably wouldn’t want to tow much weight with such a small vehicle, the ’15 Jeep Renegade is rated to tow 2,000 pounds, but only with the 2.4-liter MultiAir2 Tigershark engine under the hood.
To take advantage of all that power, the 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk features Jeep’s Active Drive Low which includes a 20:1 crawl ratio as well as the Select-Terrain system (with exclusive Rock Mode) and a disconnecting rear axle and power take-off unit (PTU) to provide enhanced fuel economy in 4x4 models while on the highway. Transmission choices for the North American market are the segment first 948TE 9-speed automatic transmission, which is available for the 2.4-liter equipped models, or a C635 6-speed manual transmission for the 1.4-liter models.
This little Jeep was designed on what Jeep is calling a small-wide 4x4 architecture. The Renegade Trailhawk features a ride height increase of 20 mm over non-Trailhwak models to allow it to flex its way up rocky trails as well as uneven terrain. Thanks to its 8.1 inches of wheel articulation the Renegade Trailhawk should feel at home both on and off the road. On top of that, the Renegade is also the first Jeep to integrate Koni’s frequency selective damping (FDS) front and rear strut system which enables the Renegade to deliver great road-handling characteristics.
You’ll notice that the proportions are very similar in size to the original Jeep Wrangler, the YJ! With a wheelbase of 101.2 inches and a track width of 60.6 inches, the ’15 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk should be an absolute blast on the trail especially considering it features a ground clearance of 8.7 inches (7.9 inches in the non-Trailhawk 4x4 models). Ground clearance isn’t the only thing this all-new Jeep is packing. The Renegade Trailhwak features unique fascias that help it achieve an approach angle of 30.5 degrees (21 degrees for non-Trailhwak 4x4 models), a break-over angle of 25.7 degrees (24 degrees for non-Trailhwak 4x4 models) and a departure angle of 34.3 degrees (32.1 degrees for non-Trailhwak 4x4 models). Since the ’15 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk is meant to go where no other small SUV can go, it features a set of skid plates to protect engine vitals while red front and rear tow hooks ensure you can extract any small inferior SUVs that follow you down the trail. Should you find yourself on a steep descent, never fear, the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk also features Hill-descent Control to keep you safe even in treacherous conditions. Speaking of treacherous conditions, you’ll be glad to know that the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk can also ford up to 19-inches of water should you find yourself having to cross a stream of water while exploring in the mountains.
Since the ’15 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk was designed to be a Trail Rated machine out of the showroom floor, the wheel and tire combinations for this pint-sized wheeler are a set of 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels wrapped in either a set of 215/65R17 Goodyear Wrangler SRA tires or a set of Falken Wildpeak tires.
The engineers over at Jeep didn’t want this new global Jeep Renegade to stray from the brand’s original roots of the 1941 Willys MB so they designed the ’15 Jeep Renegade with a segment-exclusive panoramic view. With two available My Sky open-air roof panel systems they conveniently stow to provide passengers with open-air freedom at any moment. Inside the little Jeep Renegade you’ll find a plush interior that features seats similar to the ’14 Jeep Cherokee. We can attest to them being some of the most comfortable factory seats we’ve ever sat in. Out back, the cargo area will hold up to 18.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up and 50.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat in case you want to haul camping gear for two along with plenty of fire wood for a decent bonfire.