Seat Time: 2015 Jeep Renegade

February 9th, 2015 at 1:01pm

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Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Reviewer: Chip Drake
Manufacturer: FCA
Make: Jeep
Model: Renegade
Type: Small SUV
Competitors: KIA Soul, Scion xB, Nissan Juke, Chevy Trax
Price: $17,995 (Sport FWD base), $21, 295 (Latitude FWD base), $24,795 (Limited FWD base), $25,995 (Trailhawk base) add another $2,000 for 4×4 option save for Trailhawk where it is standard.
Made in: Melfi Assembly Plant, Melfi, Italy
Drivetrain: 1.4-Liter Turbocharged Multiair I-4; 2.4-Liter Multair2 Tigershark
EPA Ratings: Estimated 30 mpgs Highway

Final Impression:
JP015_073RNIt looks like a Jeep; It drives like a Jeep; It even goes offroading like a Jeep. But can a vehicle built in Italy be a real Jeep? Well, if it’s the new small SUV Renegade the answer is a resounding yes! The vehicle was actually designed by the Jeep team in the U.S. despite the fact it’s built in Sergio Marcionne’s homeland and shares the same architecture of the new Fiat 500X (called “small-wide 4×4″). But one look at the Renegade and it screams Jeep. You can see that in the traditional grill handed down from its bigger brothers the Cherokee and Grand and the boxy look to the exterior design. But more on that later.

Here in America, you can outfit your Renegade with one of two engines: the 160 horsepower 1.4-Liter Turbocharged MultiAir or the 2.4-Liter TigerShark MultiAir that has 20 more horsepower though less torque than the 1.4. Both are four-cylinders. As far as transmissions go like the engines there are two: a six-speed manual only available on the 1.4 Sport and Latitude trim levels while the nine-speed automatic powers the other front wheel and 4×2, 4×4 models. Oh, and by the way, if you’re wondering about the Renegade’s off-road prowess, that comes from what Jeep calls two innovative driveline systems: Jeep Active Drive which you can get in 3 of the models while Active Drive Low is available on the Trailhawk.

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The Auburn Hills Design team — as usual when it comes to Jeep — have added some interesting features to the new kid on the block. On the inside there’s a nice palate of colors and combinations including — as it was explained to us — a creative twist — actually a splotch — to the redline on the analog tachometer which was inspired by the team’s paintball battles. Yes, you read that right: paintball. Also on the inside Renegade comes equipped with FCA’s Uconnect technolgy with either a 5-inch or 6.5 inch touchscreen display. And then there’s a full-color 7-inch instument cluster which is you can personalize.

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But perhaps the vehicle’s most unique option is Jeep’s “My Sky” removable roof panels which allows your Renegade to go topless in nice weather and are stored in a protective case underneath rear storage area. And of course, let’s not forget those so-called “Easter Eggs” which the designers slip into the car to surprise and delight the driver or passengers when they least expect it. Those, of course, are the small Jeep-like designs you see in the door, the IP, the window seals, and here’s one you won’t have to look for, the tailgate.

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With an homage to Jeep’s militay history, the team gave the rear tail lights the look of a World War II gas can; something I can guarantee you don’t see everyday.

Of course, as nice as it is to read about all these features, you’re probably wondering how this small SUV drove during our test. Well, honestly on the highway it was terrirfic. The ride was a tad stiff and perhaps a little bit more wind noise at 70miles per hour than I would prefer, but what the heck, afterall it is a Jeep. Meanwhile, taking it off the highway it was everything you would expect coming from the makers of the orginal offroad warrior. It handled the Jeep-built offroad course with ease proving this small Sport Utilty might not have the size of its big brothers, but certainly had the same abilities either on or offroad.

So if you’re loking for something small, affordable with Jeep-like qualities you may not have to go farther than checking out your local Jeep dealership now that Renegade has joined the lineup.

2 Comments to “Seat Time: 2015 Jeep Renegade”

  1. Frank Says:

    Going to be big HIT

  2. Jonathan Says:

    I’m not into CUVs as a whole yet this little jeep sure does seem to nail all the right styling aspects of the brand in an economical and attractive manner.

    Thanks for the review …..